Enough with the man bashing

We have passed the tipping point and we should be very afraid.

This tweet from Golriz Ghahraman caught my attention:  Quote:

God what is going on in America?  Looking at that senate hearing just made me cry.  Imagine having to prove your sexual assault in the face of a raging powerful abuser – or he will get to sit on your nation’s lawmaking body for life, making the rules for all victims and abusers.  End of quote.

Golriz tweets more nonsense

Golriz has decided Brett Kavanaugh is guilty.  She has stated quite clearly that he is ‘a raging powerful abuser’.  Golriz, who as a lawyer, should understand better than most, the presumption of innocence. Golriz, who was so sure about Simon Bikindi’s right to a presumption of innocence, that she assisted in his defence.

In our quest for ‘women’s rights’, a lot has changed.

The feminist movement was sparked by women who wanted more freedom in their lives.  Amongst other freedoms, they wanted the opportunity to become doctors and lawyers and break free from the narrow selection of careers that were previously available to women.

These days, women have more opportunity than ever before.  They have more rights than ever before.  Mostly this is a good thing, but there is a very dangerous ‘right’ that seems to be sneaking in, and that is the right to be believed without question.

It’s not just Golriz, many women are jumping up and supporting  Christine Blasey Ford.  She is being lauded as a hero, she is brave, she is courageous for speaking out.

And that may well be true.  The thing is, we just don’t know that for sure.  The ‘facts’ around this are very murky, and it seems possible that we will ever know what the truth is behind her accusation.

Yet there is an assumption that she is telling the truth, well you know, because she’s a woman.  She’s claiming that she believed Brett Kavanaugh was going to rape her. Her claim is based on ‘recovered memories’.

Women seem to expect that they should, of right, be believed for any accusation against men.  This is incredibly dangerous ground we are treading. 

We all know that women are perfectly capable of telling lies.  They are not saints.  They are not perfect.  Sometimes they make stuff up to suit an agenda.

Anyone accused of a crime is entitled to the presumption of innocence.  Yes yes, even if the accused is a man.  Our default position for men accused of criminal activity cannot and should not be guilty unless proven innocent.

And I say this because it is as important for the safety and credibility of women as it is for men for two reasons.

Firstly, all women have men in their lives.  Fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, husbands, friends.  I would lay odds that the majority of them are good men.  Men that work hard, are honest and respectful.  How would you be feeling about Ford vs Kavanaugh if you were to substitute Kavanaugh with a man you love and respect?  How would it feel to watch someone you love have their personal life picked over and minutely examined based on a vengeful accusation that has no truth?  Because that is certainly a possibility with Ford’s accusations, that some women do not want to acknowledge.

Secondly, any accusations by women against men that are untruthful, simply make it harder for genuine victims to be taken seriously.  Each time we hear of a false accusation, well that just introduces a little more doubt and scepticism about who is telling the truth.

Some have tried to justify Ford’s lack of detail by comparing it to survivors of childhood abuse, as per the example in Golriz’s tweet.  The victim is saying that he can’t remember the date, nor the surname of the abuser, and he wouldn’t want to have to prove to the world that he was molested.

These are two vastly different scenarios and it’s insulting to compare them, and here’s why.  In the child versus camp counsellor accusation, we are talking about a victim who was a child at the time, and the abuse occurred, primarily, because of the power gap between the accuser and the accused.  Children who were often vulnerable, at the mercy of trusted adults who were respected simply because of their position.  Teachers can’t be bad, can they.  The missing question mark is deliberate.  Many children do speak out at the time of the abuse, and are either not believed at all, or are hushed up by those who claim to have their best interests at heart. This is why I believe that a gap of some years between the abuse and the giving of evidence is acceptable and understandable for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  Even if they can’t remember dates and times, they should nonetheless have the opportunity to have their evidence presented and tested against the abuser.  That evidence should then meet the same threshold of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ before a verdict is reached.

In the Ford versus Kavanaugh accusations, both accuser and accused were of similar ages when the alleged attacks took place.  There was no power differential based on age or role.  Ford had the opportunity to tell someone about what happened, and have her accusations backed up by the evidence available at the time.  The evidence would have been fresh, dates undisputed, witnesses interviewed and a chance for the facts of the alleged incident to be established.  This may have been an unpalatable option for Ford, but it was a choice she had nevertheless.  While it may be true that she risked not being believed at the time because women’s rights then are not what they are now, that does not mean we should automatically believe that she is telling the truth today.

Brett Kavanaugh is entitled to be presumed innocent unless there is sufficient compelling evidence to prove his guilt.  Anything less than that means that lives and careers can be destroyed, just because a woman says something bad happened to her more than 30 years ago.

 


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