“Fact-checking the #MeToo movement” – A Rebuttal Part 2

This post started out as one incredibly long novel, so I have split it into two parts. Catch part 1 here.

After some general thoughts regarding the #MeToo movement, the writer then discusses a few high profile cases specifically, so we’ll go through those as well. Bold is the article, non-bold are my thoughts.

Kevin Spacey

What does that have to do with his appearance on TV series? Is Netflix supposed to close the show just because it is said the actor committed a crime about 30 years ago? How can you be so sure that the alleged situation actually took place?)

Yes. Netflix should close the show because he committed a crime about 30 years ago. Let’s just stop with giving people a free pass because they are successful or it happened a long time ago. Chris Brown beat Rihanna, we all saw the pictures, and he continues to make music. So I don’t care how these accusations affect someone’s life because in most cases, they will be just fine.

Kevin Spacey will be juuuuust fine.

We can only be so sure it actually took place as we are sure people who say they’ve been robbed have actually been robbed. The statistics are clear: yes, false accusations happen but it’s not a widespread epidemic. People don’t really gain anything from coming forward. Maybe a cash settlement (rare) and maybe a conviction (extra rare). But they have every right to share their story and be believed. If it is discovered that they lied, they should face the consequences, absolutely.

But people just aren’t lying in the magnitude some think they are. You have somewhere between a 90% and 98% chance of discrediting someone telling the truth. Statistically, you should believe them, give them a chance to tell their story, and if it’s found that it is false, don’t use that as a reason to discredit everybody else.

But what about the due process? Why is it us, not the courts, that convict him? Also, why do the victims speak out so late about it?

Because charges weren’t brought forward for reasons I’ve touched on before.

Victims speak out so late about it because they finally feel safe to do so.

Sadly none of the accusations are in due process. Why the victims don’t want to go to court is hard to tell.

Stop telling survivors the right way to process their trauma. Or, make this a world where they feel safe enough to always come forward.

It’s not hard to tell why they wait so long. Google it. Seriously. There’s plenty of examples of why people don’t run to report their assault immediately following. So somehow we have to be able to balance the need for “innocent until proven guilty” and due process with treating a complainant with the compassion they deserve.

Not “why didn’t you just close your legs?” Not “his life will be ruined.”

Just yeah, you did it, here’s a sentence you deserve.

For your viewing displeasure: ‘NJ judge slammed for showing leniency to teen sex assault suspect from ‘good family’

Harvey Weinstein

In the result he has been fired from his own company. Some of the victims settled down the allegations with Weinstein in private, probably in exchange for large sums of money. Some of the other ones are on their way to put him in jail with legal process. Although it is very probable it will be difficult for them to prove it.

I actually kind of agree with some of the things here. It is difficult to prove something that happened a long time ago or that is one person’s word against the other’s. But we can, and should, do better.

Doesn’t this kind of answer some of the other questions? It will be difficult for them to prove it. So, let’s make this a world where people can come forward sooner and we have systems in place to pursue justice instead of making excuses for rapists.

I also resent the implication that they got “large sums of money,” as if this discredits their allegations. They have every right to every penny they get as reparations from a predator. It’s not like the money will fix it or heal the wounds, but they deserve it.

Louis C.K.

He didn’t really force the victims to do anything. He always asked for their permission first, and (at least in the alleged cases) they either rejected it before anything happened, or if it was already happening, they yelled at him or laughed him off and left the room.

People often really downplay the role that power plays in situations like this. Yes, for a lot of people, they say “I would never put up with that!” But really, do you think it’s so easy? What if this is someone really high up in the industry you want to break into? Someone who can blacklist you, ruin you? Someone who could build you up into a great success?

Instead of asking “why did they let this happen,” we should be asking, “Why does this grown man think it’s okay to do this?”

He did cross a line a few times by making a few people uncomfortable, but is it justified to penalize him so much? Can’t he remedy for it?)

Don’t downplay what he did by calling it “crossing a line” or “making a few people uncomfortable.” What he did is disgusting, and yes, he should absolutely be penalized for it.

Why do we work so hard to protect abusers, harassers, and creeps, instead of taking a hard line and saying “This is not appropriate.”

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Masturbate in front of people, get every penalty coming your way.

Sure, he can remedy for it, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this happen. Apologies read more like excuses or justifications. I’d like to see someone say “I absolutely did do this. I am a horrible, disgusting person and caused irreparable damage. I will donate a substantial sum of money to sexual violence support groups, go to counseling, and take a good long time out of the spotlight to think about what I did.”

Power? How does admiration give power? A popular and respected dude is still just a dude. Why would I take his interests over mine? Especially those basic ones, like comfortability and safety?

Admiration and power are different. You can admire someone without them having power over you. I admire my best friend, but she is not in a position of power. I also admire my boss, and she does have a position of power. She’s in charge of my pay, my work life, what days I get off, etc.

It is sometimes incredibly frustrating to have this conversation with men, simply because they don’t relate. It’s not their fault. They just don’t live the same life women do. Most men do not understand how someone could prioritize Louis’ interests over their own, but women are socialized to do just that. Women are talked over, looked over, and expected to accept all treatment with a smile. Women who fight back are called bitches or bitter. A man would be praised for his assertiveness in leaving that situation. A woman would very likely be blacklisted. It’s not the same for men as it is for women in these situations.

Morgan Freeman

They are described very briefly by the CNN and we can’t tell what really happened in the reality. Were his comments rude, like, “I like your ass”, or just small compliments, like “You look nice today”? Were they unwanted? Did the women express that those comments are unwanted?

People don’t complain about being told they look nice. Okay, I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but I am confident that they are not coming forward with these allegations for “you look nice.”

Did the women express that those comments are unwanted?

Can we just not continually put the onus on women to teach men how to behave properly? You can usually tell by someone’s response to comments whether they were well-received. Awkwardness, turning away, trying to avoid you, not saying thank you, things like that are all signs you crossed a line.

So how do you know? Ask. Say, “Did that make you uncomfortable? That was not my intention.” Be responsible for your actions instead of just bumbling around like a bull in a china shop and hoping someone else (a woman) will tell you when you’ve crossed a line.

Figure it out.

Giving compliments about other person’s body, as long as it is not unwanted, is not a sexual harassment. It’s either being nice or flirting.

Disagree. What you define as harassment may not be the same as the other person’s. I tell students that if you are doing something without someone’s permission, your opinion on whether it is harassment or not doesn’t matter. What matters is how the other person views it.

“What!?” the masses screamed. “You want me to be a mind reader!?” Nope. How in the world could you possibly know what someone is okay with? ASK them (are you sensing a theme here?)

You don’t have unfettered permission to flirt with anyone you want in whatever way you want. Not in the name of love or persistence or anything. If a person is not receptive to you and your flirting, back off. Go away. Don’t put someone in a position where they have to choose between their own discomfort and the risk of violence.

Freeman claims she over-understood what he said, and that it wasn’t about her nor was it a harassment.

Garbage justification. If you say something that offends someone, how you intended it doesn’t matter. You apologize and you learn.

Aziz Anzari

If it was unwanted, why didn’t she communicate it? Since she didn’t, how was he supposed to know, as she proceeded with the sex anyways? And if there was a lack a communication between them, why anybody tries to paint this social misunderstanding as a crime of sexual assault, which eventually destroys his career and makes him look to everybody like a rapist?

She did communicate it. By saying she wanted to slow down and by pushing his hand away. Yet, he persisted. Remember what we learned about consent: freely given, enthusiastic, not coerced.

The article itself says Anzari “convinced” her to continue. Having to convince someone does not seem like the action from someone who understands and respects consent. Sounds just like a selfish person wanting to get his rocks off.

It is not a social misunderstanding. He didn’t misunderstand a damn thing, except that this could come back to affect him. His non-apology doesn’t take any real responsibility and again, we put the onus on a woman to teach a man to behave like something with more understanding than a dog.

If you train your dog well, it will understand “no.” So why do we expect so much less from men?

Should we keep on treating every sexual allegation for granted and equally cruel? Basic rules of our law (innocent until guilty; punishment according to the seriousness of the crime) give us immediate answer: No.

First, no one is saying we should punish gropers or public masturbators to the exact same level as a rapist. What we are saying is that these things are wrong and shouldn’t be brushed aside. Just because it wasn’t “rape” doesn’t mean it has no effect. We take these allegations seriously because everyone who has been violated in any way deserves caring and support.

We’re not saying throw them all in jail. But it’d be nice if we took this seriously and, I don’t know, actually gave rapists the sentences they deserve.

These aren’t criminal cases so innocent until guilty doesn’t apply. Also, let’s first try to get to the point that convicted rapists get the sentences they deserve before we start trying to apply that across the board and outside the court room.

University Campuses

Upon reading more, university campuses seem to be even worse when it comes to falsy sexual accusations. (Probably because young people tend to less often think about the intentions and consequences of their irresponsible actions, like having sex or claiming false facts.)

Face freakin’ palm. Or maybe it’s that their brains aren’t fully developed, they face ridicule from their peers and a lack of support from their school, so they are more easily swayed into dropping the charges? Dropped charges do not equal innocence. It can also mean the case isn’t strong enough or that the individual has been intimidated out of continuing the case.

Let me say it again: DROPPED CHARGES DO NOT EQUAL INNOCENCE.

If she had been raped, why would she exchange phone numbers with him afterwards?

This is a very well-documented phenomenon in sexual assault cases. It’s a response to the trauma or actions of a person who has not realized that what happened was assault in the first place. Sometimes, in an effort to normalize or lessen the trauma, survivors actually continue to see or talk to the perpetrator.

Because if they’re “talking” or “dating” or whatever, then it wasn’t rape in their minds. It’s a way of protecting themselves.

Should we assume that every sexual violence accusation is true? If not, how should we deal with unproved ones, which aren’t true nor false yet?

Yes. Until proven otherwise. Maybe this is a pretty radical view, but why not swing that way instead of continuing to help, support, and enable rapists and abusers?

How can we prevent such acts from happening in the future?

Hold powerful men to task. Hold them accountable for their disgusting behaviour. Support survivors. Listen to their stories. Stop telling survivors how to behave after their assault. Educate about consent. Talk to your partners. Don’t make someone with credible allegations President. Find ways to balance the need for due process with the need to support someone who is traumatized. Do away with the idea that false allegations are a pandemic. Have consequences for those who do falsely report. Stop trying to control women’s bodies. Treat women as equals. Treat women as human beings. Give the proper sentences to convicted rapists. Stop worrying so much about a rapist’s bright future and start worrying about how you’re going to support this survivor. Stop victim-blaming attitudes (like this whole dang article).

I know this was a long one, but I hope you stuck it through to the end. This article is a great example of victim blaming and rape culture. It was helpful for me to be able to walk through this piece by piece – as long as it is.

Have questions or concerns? Let me know in the comments or find me on instagram: @theofficialkirstanley.

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