Friday, September 28, 2018

The Legitimacy Behind a "Me Too" Movement, and Why This One Has Lost It

I didn’t want to write this. I really hoped this movement would stay on the rails of legitimacy. There was a problem that has left a lot of scars in its wake.

Source: ABC News
The concept of a Me Too movement is not a bad one. It encourages women to find support, and offer it as well, and encourages them to speak out against the perpetrators. And yes, I as a large, gun-toting man will probably never experience sexual assault, at least not in its traditional definition.

The most I can offer is my sympathy and support. I have a lot of close female friends, and I would be devastated if anything happened to them, let alone the effect on them. I can’t overstate the sickness of sexual assault. I think rape should still be a capital offense.

I say all that because I do not want to be mistaken as simply dismissing this movement or this issue. But for God’s sake, we have to be fair.

There are two ways that this Me Too movement has gone off the rails, despite all the potential. I’ll cover the less timely one first.

The Dilution of the Definition of Sexual Assault

The “one in five women” mantra has been trumpeted by the Party of Bill Clinton to score points in elections. But it’s from a survey that covered two campuses with a sample size of less than 6,000, which though it might seem large is not a large enough sample size to deduce something about such a large group. There was a low survey participation of those the researchers tried to survey, and it included questions “about events that you think (but are not certain) happened.” Never did it ask directly if someone had been raped.

That’s not to say there’s no problem. But the survey is consistent with the watering down of the meaning of sexual assault. “If you think you might have had sex while you were drunk, we’ll call it rape.”

There have been many tragic stories that have come out of this movement. One that sticks with me is the story of one of my favorite women’s basketball players. We’ve seen countless victims of men like Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar.

WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, whose heart-wrenching Me Too story was
featured in the Players' Tribune. Source: Players' Tribune
I don’t speak for those victims, but I think it does them a disservice to cast the net so wide. Sexual harassment is terrible, but it isn’t rape. Being touched inappropriately is just as bad or worse, but it isn’t rape. Again, it doesn’t mean there’s no problem or that lesser things aren’t bad too, but we can’t expand the definition of sexual assault so wide that it isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. And yes, that is ultimately on those that choose to take it less seriously, but diluting its meaning opens the door for those problems.

Destruction of Due Process

Speaking of opening doors, this one has been opened with a bulldozer. I can’t and won’t deny that throughout history rape has not been taken seriously, and in some circles still isn’t. Hence why a Me Too movement that doesn’t go rogue is not a bad thing.

I am not going to trash Dr. Ford or any other accusers of Brett Kavanaugh. I am not going to stake a claim that he is for sure innocent of those accusations. That is because, outside of a handful of people, no one knows.

But that’s not what we’re hearing. “If she says it, it happened.” “Believe the victims.” We’ve lost our heads. We’re willing to drag a man through the mud on the word of a woman who has a fuzzy memory of 35 years ago.

Harvey Weinstein and some of his victims. Source: Malay Mail
And I don’t even like Brett Kavanaugh. I don’t think he was a good choice. I would have rather seen Amy Coney Barrett (and try accusing her of sexual assault). It would be somewhat amusing if Kavanaugh was denied and Barrett took his place, a much more known quantity on some key issues.

But I don’t want to see that happen by someone being railroaded. There are reasons that would make me lean towards Kavanaugh being innocent. The timing is impeccable; after 35 years and weeks after President Trump’s announcement, now we get an accusation. Perhaps it took that long for the Democrats to dig someone up who knew Kavanaugh when he did some dumb stuff as a teenager. And it is not lost on me that this is the swing vote. Justice Gorsuch replaced another conservative justice. This time it’s Justice Kennedy, who has consistently voted in favor of “reproductive rights,” the affectionate term for dismembering human beings. As we’ve seen over years in the news and as I’ve seen personally, liberals pull out all the stops in defense of the blessed sacrament of the progressive church. What is one man’s reputation when killing babies is at stake?

So I lean that way, but I don’t know. None of the Democrats on Capital Hill or any other liberals do either, but that won’t stop them. And frankly, the conservatives don’t either. It’s a dangerous thing to shut down a woman’s accusations without investigating them. And it’s also a dangerous thing to presume a man’s guilt, and take it further by letting nothing sway you otherwise. Any of us are vulnerable when the standard of proof is nonexistent.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Source:
This is where blindly believing an accuser gets us. VanDyke Perry served 11 years in prison for rape and Gregory Counts 26 for being wrongfully convicted or rape. Clifford Jones served almost 30 before being exonerated. Lawrence McKinney served 31. The list could go on, and those were with “due process.” These are wild accusations. It’s a motif of To Kill a Mockingbird. The Party of prisoners’ rights is the one telling us to have unconditioned trust in accusations. People accuse others of things they didn’t do all the time. It’s dangerous to simply believe it. And it costs some people an awful lot.

I’m trying to be reasonable and sensitive here, though I’m sure people are still angry. That’s the society we live in. It’s easier to silence opposition than to answer it. But I thought it important enough to say something that I wrote this outside of my usual two-week pattern I keep to avoid devoting too much time away from studies and ministry.

I’m not saying sexual assault isn’t an issue. I’m not saying we shouldn’t listen to women who say they are victims. I am saying that we shouldn’t make other victims. Because if Dr. Ford and others are lying, Brett Kavanaugh and his family are the only victims. Every man falsely accused and assumed guilty is a victim.

We have to keep our heads. I think the premise behind the Me Too movement is important.

But this one has gotten it wrong.

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