Calling All Men Potential Rapists Only Endangers Women by the Forward

Calling All Men Potential Rapists Only Endangers Women

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“If you don’t want to be accused of being a rapist, just don’t rape anyone” reads a meme circulating on social media.

“Oh, those poor white men,” groan our Facebook friends, “they’re just afraid of losing their privilege.”

On Twitter, activist Danielle Muscato asked what women would do if men had a 9pm curfew. The responses revealed a slew of women terrified to leave the house at night, because all men are potential rapists whom we should fear.

But are all men potential rapists? Should an accusation of rape or sexual assault be itself proof?

Opinion | Calling All Men Potential Rapists Only Endangers Women

It’s a question that has liberals and conservatives sharply divided today, thanks to the contentious confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has been accused by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford of an attempted sexual assault when the two were teens, launching liberals into hyperdrive.

Ford’s accusation should be enough to tank Kavanaugh’s nomination, they claim.

And it wasn’t just on Twitter. Yesterday, Cory Booker said that it doesn’t matter if Kavanaugh “is innocent or guilty” because “enough questions have been raised” to “move on to another candidate.”

Really? It doesn’t matter if he’s guilty or innocent?

The idea that it doesn’t matter if Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent is in line with the thinking that all men are potential rapists in that it elides the difference between committing a sexual crime and not committing a sexual crime.

But there’s a deep problem to this way of thinking. For in thinking that an accusation of sexual assault is the equivalent of proof, liberals have erased the difference between a sex crime happening and one not happening.

Put simply, if all men are potential rapists, actual rapists are no worse than non rapists.

Opinion | Calling All Men Potential Rapists Only Endangers Women

This is an awful thing to believe. It minimizes one of the worst crimes known to man. And it’s bad for women to have these crimes put on some kind of continuum, where men who have committed these crimes are no worse than men who have not.

But also, false accusations do happen, and yes, they are a very big deal.

And no matter what you think of Brett Kavanaugh, he has been subjected to false accusations in the past few weeks.

The media actually entertained that he might have run a gang rape cult in high school. Michael Avenatti released a list of questions he sent to Mike Davis, Chief Counsel for Nominations for U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, regarding those gang rapes that Senators should ask Kavanaugh. His accuser, Julie Swetnick, got an airing on the nightly news. She was never believable yet her vague accusation — one she pedaled back in her interview — was spread anyway.

As we all await the information from the FBI investigation, there remains a movement — exemplified by Booker — to oppose Kavanaugh from being appointed to the U.S Supreme Court no matter what the investigation finds.

Opinion | Calling All Men Potential Rapists Only Endangers Women

It’s a fun game, accusing someone of atrocious crimes like gang rape and then, like Booker, watching to see how angry they get as you try to destroy their life.

Which returns us to the only semi-credible allegation of the bunch, that of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Ford is the only one actually saying that Kavanaugh did something terrible to her. Her testimony was gripping. She was believable.

But ultimately what does that mean? Kavanaugh was believable in his defense too. So now what?

Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor hired by Republicans to question Dr. Ford, released her memo pointing out various discrepancies in Ford’s testimony. She concluded that “A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that.”

Ford’s details are extremely shaky. She can’t even place the year in which she alleges the attack happened. Kavanaugh can’t defend himself with so few details. And a man, despite how easy it is to malign men en masse on the internet, accused of an attack like this, should have the opportunity to defend himself.

The lack of corroboration from anyone else matters, too. Accusations should be taken seriously, but making them life-destroying on someone’s word is a bad road to go down.

Brett Kavanaugh is no rapist and to spend two weeks saying he is blurs the line between rapists and non-rapists.

No wonder women are afraid to leave the house.

“It’s not a criminal trial, it’s a job interview,” say the liberals when conservatives demand due process.

But on job interviews, prospective candidates don’t get accused of insane, heinous crimes like gang rape while being expected to maintain full composure. Their families aren’t inundated with death threats. They aren’t forced to defend themselves while the goal posts shift around them.

If the Kavanaugh hearings were once a job interview, they surely are not anymore. Now they are a test of whether hatred for someone because he is a man, because he is white, because he went to an elite school, because he was nominated to the Supreme Court by someone you despise, is enough to have him barred from the seat.

Opinion | Calling All Men Potential Rapists Only Endangers Women

As David French wrote in National Review today: “Believe women? Believe men? No. Believe evidence.”

Do that for everyone, even when the nominee isn’t someone you want.

Unless the FBI report produces something damning, it’s time to vote on the Kavanaugh nomination. The farce has to be brought to its conclusion and the country needs to move on.

Karol Markowicz is a writer living in Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter: @karol.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Calling All Men Potential Rapists Only Endangers Women

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