Harvey Weinstein’s takedown inspired much-needed discussion about sexual misconduct in Hollywood, then across the corporate and government spheres. Remember, it wasn’t just women accusing just men of terrible sexual misdeeds (read James Van Der Beek Admits to Being Sexually Harassed by Hollywood Executives and GRAB THIS! Terry Crews Takes It To Man Who Grabbed His Bits). The #MeToo movement began with the goal of sharing stories of misconduct to shed a light on the dubious practices of perverts in power, and to stop that practice.
That was then, this is now.
What started as a watershed moment has now become a weapon to take down the inconvenient, political impediments, or perhaps someone an accuser finds displeasing. Unfortunately, those who should be taken down for deplorable sexual actions are lumped in with someone who may be guilty of improperly deciphering a woman’s signals. Like what may have happened to Chris Hardwick, and what certainly happened to Aziz Ansari, guilty only of nothing but dating a whack-nut.
If we, as a society, are serious about punishing men and women guilty of sexual misconduct, then our efforts should be focused on punishing men and women guilty of sexual misconduct. Not as using the allegation of sexual misconduct to destroy lives.
Which brings me to the point you knew was coming: Brett Kavanaugh.
Now, due to the insanity of outrage culture, thanks to a pandemic of lackluster personalities and/or accomplishment deficiencies rampant among the population, I have to issue a few disclaimers to idiots too inept to run a search in Google. Please indulge me.
Based on the evidence, I was against Roy Moore, despite him being a Republican. If it pleases the court, I present the following: Roy Moore’s Defeat Shows Tribalism is the Problem, Not the Solution, and this Innocent Until Guilty? Yes. But It’s Not Looking Good for Roy Moore, where I specifically answer the question of “why now?” after so many years after a crime has been committed. Read it before sending me your hate tweets. Of which I’ll ignore.
The evidence against Moore was much stronger than the evidence against Kavanaugh. Moore had multiple accusers. Thus far, Kavanaugh has one. Moore’s victims told others about the incidents with Roy Moore, at or around the time of the incidents. Kavanaugh’s accuser didn’t share her story with anyone until 2012.
So the cases are not the same and shouldn’t be compared, but contrasted.
Sure, it’s hard for me to remember exactly what happened when I was in high school. But I do remember what grade I was in when I asked my biology teacher not to be seated next to a boy who made me uncomfortable due to the boy being a weird creep who wouldn’t leave me alone. I also told other classmates the boy freaked me out. And I remember other classmates corroborating the boy’s penchant for being a weirdo freak. So though I’ve not experienced what Kavanaugh’s accuser is alleging, I would think such a traumatic incident would be burned into her memory. I would think she’d at least remember what year it happened.
There’s also an absence of other victims reporting Brett Kavanaugh molested them. Usually, but not always, if done once, it’s done again. Usually, but not always, when one accuser steps forward, many others follow. It’s the typical pattern.
We have a real problem. Sexual misconduct, rape, assault are issues which should be seriously addressed. I’m not comfortable with how quickly misconduct allegations are dismissed if tribalism is at play. Nor am I comfortable with how easily allegations are made, then taken seriously, when there’s little to no basis for them.
We’ve covered numerous stories of women alleging rape or assault when nothing untoward occurred. So yes, false accusations are flung like monkey poo all the time. Often men’s entire lives are destroyed with a baseless accusation. Men have noticed and are voicing their fear of the movement.
The accusation against Brett Kavanaugh seems like a dirty political trick, because it doesn’t follow the pattern of past, validated accusations of misconduct. Hence I’m hesitant to toss Kavanaugh to the wolves. Hence it seems to me that, at least in this case, the #MeToo movement, and all the good it initially did, is again being used as a barbed cudgel to destroy a man’s life.
If we, as a society, are serious about justice for victims of sexual misconduct, we cannot diminish the experiences of real victims by hoisting up questionable accounts as political weapons. Or as weapons of scorn. Nor should any of us be comfortable with how easily a person’s life is destroyed over an unsubstantiated accusation. The precedent here is frightening.
With Kavanaugh and everyone who comes after, be it Democrat or Republican, actor, actress, or gender-fluid mime, we need more evidence and due process in order to set the correct precedent. Which means encouraging victims of misconduct to come forward immediately, not decades after. Which may me removing stigma, however we can, from victims of misconduct at the time of the misconduct. Not decades later when it’s so difficult to prove anything.
Which is why due process must be followed, always. Following due process is not a sign of heartlessness toward a victim, but ensuring actual justice is done. For either a real victim or a vindictive false accuser.
And maybe it’s time to have a real conversation about returning to a few moral virtues in how men and women treat each other…
~Written by Courtney Kirchoff