#Metoo meanderings

Last week’s Kavanaugh hearings ripped the band-aid off the sores of senatorial civility. Writers for the cold open for Saturday Night Live didn’t have to modify transcripts of the hearings much to get thirteen minutes of material. It was hard to know whether we should laugh or cry.

The most heated part of the week, of course, came when Dr. Christine Blassey Ford testified that Mr. Kavanaugh had assaulted her while the two were in high school. One Mississippi state representative, Greg Snowden (R-Meridian), was so captivated by it that he wrecked his car because he tried to drive and keep track of his news feed at the same time.

Unless this week’s FBI investigation produces a revelation that at least one Senator to change from a “yes” to a “no” vote, Mr. Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the highest court in the land. As such, the confirmation hearings may ultimately be remembered as a crystallization of the #meetoo movement in American politics. 

That movement has been viewed with great suspicion and great admiration. The founders of the movement describe it this way:

The me too movement has built a community of survivors from all walks of life. By bringing vital conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream, we’re helping to de-stigmatize survivors by highlighting the breadth and impact sexual violence has on thousands of women, and we’re helping those who need it to find entry points to healing. Ultimately, with survivors at the forefront of this movement, we’re aiding the fight to end sexual violence. We want to uplift radical community healing as a social justice issue and are committed to disrupting all systems that allow sexual violence to flourish.

One critic, Camille Paglia, has a different point of view

The big question is whether the present wave of revelations, often consisting of unsubstantiated allegations from decades ago, will aid women’s ambitions in the long run or whether it is already creating further problems by reviving ancient stereotypes of women as hysterical, volatile and vindictive.

My philosophy of equity feminism demands removal of all barriers to women’s advancement in the political and professional realms. However, I oppose special protections for women in the workplace. Treating women as more vulnerable, virtuous or credible than men is reactionary, regressive and ultimately counterproductive.

Complaints to the Human Resources department after the fact are no substitute for women themselves drawing the line against offensive behavior — on the spot and in the moment. Working-class women are often so dependent on their jobs that they cannot fight back, but there is no excuse for well-educated, middle-class women to elevate career advantage or fear of social embarrassment over their own dignity and self-respect as human beings. Speak up now, or shut up later! Modern democracy is predicated on principles of due process and the presumption of innocence.

Does either perspective appeal to students more? Is there a better way to articulate what the #meetoo movement will mean in their everyday lives?

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12 Responses to #Metoo meanderings

  1. Cameron Thomas says:

    These situations are always very sensitive topics. I do agree that a crime is a crime no matter how long ago it was committed, but situations like these are entirely too circumstantial. It happened way too long ago to actually have enough VALID evidence for this man to be punished. My question is why did it have to be at this very moment. Of all times and of all his great achievements, why the choose the time where his achievements are being publicized. I know you’re saying it doesn’t matter when she does it, but it does. I hope she didn’t think that they were going to do the same to him as they did with Bill Cosby because, whether we acknowledge it or not, that is not how America works. It’s how it’s supposed to work, but deep down inside, we all know the truth.
    Also, I believe we should all just move on. I understand this is a really emotional situation, but emotions never help anything. I am aware that this lady is catching a lot of hate because of this, but I can bet any kind of money that Kavanaugh is catching ten times more because regardless of whether he committed the crime or not, his reputation is ruined. From now on, he will forever be seen as a rapist or harasser. So will every other man who’s been accused of such. We can not keep looking at this from one perspective. On an interview, I heard a woman say authority needs to stop looking at women as if their lying all of the time and believe them first. I don’t know about anyone else, but that infuriated me because that is blatantly promoting “guilty until proven innocent”. Does she not know that this frame of thought is what gets plenty of innocent people incarcerated or even killed. We have to base our opinions on objective standpoints. In other words, we have to work with due-process, and if it doesn’t turn out how we want (i.e. this situation), we should just let karma do its job because just like so many rape victims are being looked-over by the law, so many innocent men are being incarcerated because of women taking advantage of the law.

  2. Gina says:

    There is logic and reasoning in both perspectives. Yes, it is a great thing to bring light to the severity of sexual violence in our society. Topics like this have long been deemed uncomfortable, and it’s time that people stop seeing it that way and avoiding conversation about it. And while the phrase “speak up now, or shut up later” is pushed too far, should it not be in the slightest suspicious that Dr. Ford decided to tell her story 37 years after the incident and right around the time of his election?

    However, I ultimately side with the first perspective. If we want to put an end to sexual violence, we need to let our voices be heard no matter how long ago the incident occurred. Like Talle said, time does not erase one’s actions. It doesn’t change the fact that a crime has been committed, yet no repercussions were set.

    While this may or may not be true, after thinking about the possibilities of why Dr. Ford would come out so many years later, I truly believe she was thinking about the future of our people — America’s people — and how it may change for some as a result of his presence in the Supreme Court. I can’t imagine how it feels to have to go through what she did, but I bet it takes a lot to stand up and tell the world your story.

  3. Alexandra Magee says:

    Both opinions appeal to me. Several men, women, and children are sexually assaulted every day, and due to varying cultures, religions, and laws, these violent actions oftentimes are not redeemed. The #metoo movement is vitalizing a topic that has become too common and accepted among daily life. In the United States, I believe if someone is abused, the person should speak up so that the proper help can be administered. However, as Camilla Paglia stated, there should be a time limit. Embarrassment, sadness, and fear are understandable reasons to not immediately respond to assault and abuse. Nevertheless, to live a substantial amount of time and not report the acts is only unfair to the victim. In one way, the longer the victim waits the less credible he or she becomes. this is because it is unfair to assume everyone who claim to be victims have actually been traumatized or abused, especially if the person waits 30 years.

  4. Dennis Lee says:

    As Kavanaugh sworn in as Supreme Court justice today (October 6, 2018), shouts of “shame” broke out in the capital city. It is interesting, however, to consider that what should the senators who voted “yes” be ashamed of? Should they feel shamed because they send a man who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman? Or should they feel shamed solely because they put down a weight on the conservative side of the Supreme Court? Democrats accused the Republicans of ignoring the “Changed political dynamics surrounding complaints of misconduct against powerful men ushered in by the #Metoo movement.” Undoubtedly, the similar comment would come from the Republican side if the story has a Democratic president, Democratic congressional majority, and a Democratic Supreme Court justice nominee. Nothing against anyone, but out of the protestors outside the Capitol Hill, how many of them come for the disputes over abortion, LGBT rights, and similar topics, along with the concerning on the #Metoo movement?
    The #Metoo movement encourages the victims of sexual assaults to stand out. Its purpose is to shine the light of justice into the gray zone and to break the “unspoken rules” in society. It is not complicated, and it does not have to be complicated. There should be no compromise of the principle of the #Metoo movement. It is not a social dispute – it is a universal and absolute morality. From the events surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation, however, we can sense the smell of partisan conflict, and #Metoo is unwilling tied with other civil topics that do not necessarily contain the absolute right or wrong. And that is what prevents the equity feminism, and other causes of righteousness, from being understood by a larger public.

  5. Khytavia Fleming says:

    I do agree that people should not be sexually assaulted, raped, etc, however, the second perspective appeals to me the most. I believe we’ve all thought at least once about what the second perspective is saying. Isn’t it just a little suspicious that Ford wants to tell her story 37yrs later because Kavanaugh is being selected to one of the highest courts. I, for one, want to know why she did not speak out about her sexual assault when he was elected as a judge. Why didn’t Ford speak out about this horrific event when Kavanaugh married his wife in 2004. If Ford really felt so much pain and fear from what happened to her that specific night, why didn’t she try to warn the woman who was about to marry him. Questions. Questions. Questions. It shouldn’t take something major in the assaulter life to make someone want to speak out. A victim should be willing to speak up about what has happened to them, so it won’t happen to someone else. Especially is you can sit around paying a therapist hundreds of dollars to listen to your story. Why didn’t she tell her story earlier? Why wait now? Everyone’s different though. It takes some individuals longer to heal from some things. However, I still think it’s a little odd that she waited this long to tell her story, but I’m definitely not for Kavanaugh and his calendars either.

  6. Om Chimma says:

    I have only been recently following this case after a few minutes of reading the blog multiple times over the past hour. I and a few of my peers have agreed to point where this case is complete nonsense just because of the fact that the case is about an incident that happened 37 years ago during a senior high school party. Please do not get me wrong, rape and sexual assault is a crime that, I think, should be punishable by death, but I really don’t understand why people are angry at Kavanaugh even though Ford’s case is really full of suspicious details, like when she stated how her psychologist “pulled” the memory out of her decades after the alleged incident, even though she somehow knows very small and irrelevant details of the party, but fails to state any clear details as soon as she leaves the party.

    • Talle says:

      People are angry at Kavanaugh because men like him have been getting away with crimes like these for centuries. It does not matter if a person was assaulted 37 minutes ago or 37 years ago, the assault still happened. Time does not erase events. Kavanaugh’s behavior and him throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of a Senate Judiciary hearing is “suspicious” enough. Dr.Ford’s allegations should not be discarded simply because of the time she decided to come out with them.

      • Niamke Buchanan says:

        I agree with your main point about time not mattering. Society has greatly changed and the stigma surrounding sexually assaulted women coming forward has started to decrease; that’s why many of them are coming forward now. However, you say “men like him” as if you know for a fact that he did this. There are many men accused of rape/sexual assault who have been found innocent. Where’s your proof of his guiltiness? He has neither been tried for nor confessed to the crime, so are you assuming “guilty until proven innocent?”

    • Niamke Buchanan says:

      How long ago it happened doesn’t matter when referring to the validity of the allegation. Yeah 37 years was a long time ago and you need to learn to move on and not let things haunt you forever (yes, it happened, it was tragic, but everybody’s lives suck.) The problem is that she could not remember key details about the event, such as when it happened, where, who else was there (although she later “remembered” and brought witnesses,) etc. Her witnesses testified under threat of perjury that the were not witnesses to the event. If I remember correctly, one witness said that either Ford was not at the party or that the party didn’t happen at all. It’s also suspicious that Ford did not remember the names of her attacker and the other boys there, with the exception of Kavanaugh, and this “PJ” that she remembered after the investigation started and probing occurred. She passed a polygraph test, but there are 2 problems with this: polygraph tests are extremely flawed and easy to cheat, mainly since they only analyze the condition of your body and the test administrator is free to interpret the resulhttps://www.nap.edu/read/10420/chapter/10ts, second, and there is a possibility that she she coached a friend on passing the test. I’m not saying that she was never sexually assaulted; I’m not saying that Kavanaugh never assaulted anyone; what I am saying, though, is that based on the total lack of evidence, Kavanaugh would be found not guilty in a court of law, and as a country where the rule of law prevails, we should accept this decision and move on. It’s also pretty fishy now that Kavanaugh has been confirmed by the Senate, securing his seat in the SC, Ford has chosen to not pursue the case or any charges any further, even though SC justices are among those positions that can be impeached (lose their position) and then prosecuted for felonies (including rape.)

  7. Linda Arnoldus says:

    There are 2 possible conclusions- Kavanaugh is guilty and should be fired, or he is not guilty and will be appointed. I think that substantial evidence needs to be gathered before determining this. The first perspective does appeal to me more, simply because I agree- redemption is necessary. However, I see a bit of validity in the second perspective. I disagree with the “speak up now or shut up later”. Some women cannot speak up when they would like to, and not realizing this is not only insensitive but blind. The me too movement seeks to empower victims and punish the guilty, and I agree with the first perspective about that.

  8. Samaria Swims says:

    I believe the first view is the best and reasonable one. Women in the past who were sexually assaulted didn’t have a voice. Women should be able to tell what they have experienced. The me too movement gives women protection against people who have violated them. I feel like people don’t take sexual assault serious, and that this movement could change everything. Women finally have a voice and with this movement people will finally here them.

  9. X says:

    Both perspectives contain a fair amount of logic. It’s understandable that the movement demands special protections for women, especially since there were women who were sexually assaulted in the past. It is a reasonable action for them to take. It’s also understandable that when women are given those protections, it makes them seem more vulnerable, unable to take care of themselves. I feel like awareness of sexual assault is enough; people know about it and people know it’s wrong and they shouldn’t do it. Yet it still happens. The underlying issue or problem has not been solved, as the reported cases increase every day.

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