Just last week, 71-year-old Christopher von Keyserling, a Republican who has served on the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting board in Connecticut since 1985, was arrested for a particularly unsettling incident last month. Keyserling reportedly called a woman a “bloodsucking lazy union employee” and groped her crotch.
According to the Greenwich Daily Voice, Keyserling and the 57-year-old woman were discussing the radically new political climate post-election. The woman called upon Keyserling to help “educate” his fellow politicians, although given his response that he “love[s] this new world,” because he “no longer [has] to be politically correct,” he probably isn’t the best person to do the educating. In response to this, the woman told Keyserling she couldn’t help him, and at this point he called her a “bloodsucking lazy union employee,” grabbed her by the pussy, and when she stormed away, Keyserling proceeded to follow her to her.
When the woman tried to leave him, this time with a co-worker by her side, he “pinched her in the groin area” once again; at this point she reportedly threatened to punch him if he tried her again.
Keyserling’s defense attorney, Phil Russell, has since offered the sort of defense of his client that makes one’s soul vomit: “Von Keyserling playfully gave a lady who he knew for 30 years a pinch is what the accusation is. And somehow, everybody’s wringing their hands and carrying on that this is a crime, and it just isn’t,” Russell told News12.
Old white male Republican grabs woman's crotch. Arrested. Lies about it. Yay, video. https://t.co/4EfxjbOun4— Collywobbles (@Collyw0bbles) January 16, 2017
According to Russell, if you know a woman long enough i.e. for 30 years, whether or not they consent doesn’t really matter. And also, isn’t sexual assault just so darned playful? Keyserling has taken a similar tone, reportedly calling the incident a “joke” or, at worst, a “misunderstanding” around the office. He allegedly told the woman in private that “it would be your word against mine and nobody will believe you,” which, sadly probably would have been true due to a little societal phenomenon known as male privilege, so good thing a couple of handy surveillance cameras were there to back up the woman’s every word, according to police.
While this is just one incident, Keyserling’s excitement over not having to live in a “politically correct” world, complete blindness to the implications of his actions, and total confidence that as a male, “his word” and privilege would override hers, are all attitudes to be wary of in the years to come. Electing Donald Trump, a man who has popularized the notion through his own words which he has yet to adequately take responsibility for, that powerful men can “do anything” to women, including nonconsensually “grab[bing] them by the pussy” isn’t exactly going to combat rape culture, and if anything could simply inspire more men who aspire at Trump’s brash, reckless ~~~masculinity~~~ to do same.
All while female survivors are forced to live in fear of speaking up about their experiences, since our president for the next four years will be a man who attacked and shamed the handfuls of women brave enough to accuse him.
So, in summation, going back to the exchange between Keyserling and the unnamed Connecticut woman, it really is a new world, a less “politically correct” one in Keyserling’s words, which, to him and perhaps far more men than we’d like to believe, means a world in which women are objects to be grabbed wherever, whenever.