The Backlash to Believing Women Has Begun
It would be so much easier if every man who sexually harassed women was someone we all hated.
They’re not, of course. Among the men accused of sexual misconduct are Al Franken, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Garrison Keillor (Garrison Keillor!) and other men that we can agree that we liked. Or at least we know many people who did.
And, because some people can not wrap their head around the notion that likeable men can abuse women too, the backlash to the #MeToo movement has begun.
Lena Dunham, who we keep calling a feminist, somehow, has taken an entirely needless, unsolicited stance wherein she announced that her male friend was wrongly accused. Specifically,she saidin a statement toThe Hollywood Reporter, “Our insider knowledge of Murray's situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.”
Then, in an interview withRadioTimes, actress Angela Lansbury claimed that, “We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us—and this is where we are today. We must sometimes take blame, women.”
I fear this is one mystery she was not able to correctly solve.
The New York Timestook a break from profiling neighborhood Nazis who enjoy TV to talk about how perhaps the #BelieveWomen movement has , fretful that this movement might destroy the lives of innocent men as women come forward with made up information. They note that Project Veritas tried to get a woman to share fabricated evidence about Roy Moore withThe Washington Post.
"People can not wrap their head around the notion that likeable men can abuse women too."
Project Veritas did so in an attempt to show how easily accusations against someone can be believed by the mainstream media. And they failed, because that is not the case.
The woman was immediately found to be a fraud by virtue of whatThe Washington Postcalls “customary journalistic rigor”.
It’s true that false reports do exist, but they are exceedingly rare. The best estimates regarding false reporting of sexual assault fall between 2 and 10 percent. Even those numbers are thought to possibly be inflated as, for instance, a victim’s delay in reporting the assault or “vagueness” can be seen as a false report. That means that, worst case scenario, 90 percent of women are telling the truth. Meanwhile, since 1989,only 52 men have been convicted of sexual harassmentand then exonerated. That is obviously terrible for those 52 men, but it does constitute an almost negligible percentage considering America’s population is 323 million. Speaking only in terms of those statistics, it makes sense to believe women. And all #BelieveWomen entails is that we believe women to the same degree we believe men when they report a crime. No man says he’s been mugged and is immediately asked what he was wearing.
I'm opposed to sexual harassment, but how do we know some women aren't on a "witch hunt"— Miranda Garrard (@mlhinton0165) November 29, 2019
People, if you think you are being harassed, you have 24 hrs to report it!!! How do we know you were not just as guilty??? Women are just as bad, why aren't the men filing complaints??— Lavina Kueker IVU (@geistmom) November 30, 2019
Believing women to the same degree that our male counterparts are believed should be an obvious pillar of an equitable society.
As for the terror that women will betoobelieved, don’t worry,The New York Times. I really don’t think we’re there yet. Only 9 percent of Trump voters in Alabama believe the allegations about Roy Moore, who was reportedly banned from a mall for hitting on teenagers. Only 46 percent of voters think sexual misconduct allegations against Trump are credible and he’s bragged about sexual misconduct on tape.
The notion behind #BelieveWomen is not that you should believe women blindly. It’s that you should believe women are not all compulsive liars making up abuse allegations for kicks or personal revenge. It’s just that #BelieveWomen is catchier than #PleaseStopImmediatelyCallingWomenLiars.
"The notion behind #BelieveWomen is that you should believe women are not all compulsive liars making up abuse allegations for kicks or personal revenge."
The Timesarticle elicits some remarkable comments,including onefrom someone who thinks, “a Stalinist Great Terror against all men advocated by the neo Marxist women quoted in this article will reap millions of innocent poor/middle class male victims and start a gender war.”
To my knowledge, Stalin’s idea was notpeople masturbating in front of their female colleagues should probably get fired.As we’ve pointed out, it seems unlikely to ruin the lives of millions. That aside, it is rather unbelievable that anyone would rather destroy society as we know it than stop walking around naked in front of their assistants.
These hyperbolic statements—along with the idea that if we keep speaking out, men will refuse to work with women, and we’ll be unable to have jobs—are mostly just attempts to make women shut up again.
I hope we don’t.
Nothing is happening that was not happening before. The #MeToo hashtag regarding sexual assault became so popular because sexual assault happens to so many of us. The only thing that has changed is that we started talking about it.
Talking about it is not the problem.
As for the men who get fired, I think most of them are wealthy and powerful enough to be fine. They have made a great amount of money. As for whether or not they’ll be forgiven by their fans and free to work again, that seems like a longer process. I hope they’ll apologize. I hope they’ll do what they can to push for better conditions for women—perhaps recommending a female replacement. I hope they won’t do that because it feels like good PR, but because sexual harassment causes women to leave their jobs and thereby prevents them from advancing as far as they should. (Seemingly women are following the old “if she was being sexually harassed she should just quit” rhetoric some men espouse.) In some small way, pushing more women forward, rather than grabbing them from behind, would help make amends.
"#MeToo became so popular because sexual assault happens to so many of us. The only thing that has changed is that we started talking about it."
Will that be enough to make people forgive them? Maybe. Believing that people can apologize for their misdeeds and become better seems like a good belief (and it’s one I hold). But if society doesn’t decide to put Garrison Keillor and whoever else you liked back on the air, don’t worry. There are plenty of talented women, and men who don’t harass women, who will be happy to take their places.
And those men who allegedly harassed women will retreat back into their comfortable houses and do some "soul searching".
That is not such a terrible fate.
In short—I do not believe this will be as damaging to those men as having to work in an environment where women are supposed to figure out how to cheerfully greet the sight of our bosses penises in a professional manner.
If people don’t like the #MeToo movement where, after centuries of silence, women are raising their voices, well, get used to it. The women speaking out aren’t going anywhere. We’re not the problem here.
Things are going to get better. It’s just going to hurt a bit first.
Video: #MeToo Backlash, My Experience & More
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