What Boy Has Not Done This?

justice.jpg

Millions of boys and men have not done this. Millions of boys and men have not sexually assaulted women or other men. I married one. I’m friends with many of them. This idea that men are incapable of controlling their sexual or aggressive impulses is a perniciously persistent fallacy that must be put to a permanent end. Alcohol is not an excuse, it does not turn non-rapists into rapists. Boys will be boys’ or ‘locker room talk’ or ‘youthful indiscretions’ or ‘she asked for it’ are all part of this fallacy. Women who make excuses for this shit need to do some serious soul searching, because if the men they know do these things, they are hanging out with the wrong men.

For the record, I do not make excuses for this behavior for partisan purposes. I find it disgusting if a man is a liberal or a conservative or a moderate. I do not make excuses for women who participate in sexual assault or the cover up of sexual assault. There are no excuses. The abhorrence of this behavior is not negated by an expiration date or a political party or a social class or an ethnicity or a religious affiliation. Sexual assault and harassment are crimes, regardless of who commits them. However, I do believe that the mere suggestion of impropriety is not enough to condemn anyone, serious allegations deserve serious scrutiny.

“I don’t want to ruin his life over an accusation.” Lindsey Graham

You are not ruining his life by shining a light on a series of accusations. If he did do the things suggested by his accusers and witnesses, he ruined his own life. He ruined his life and the life of those involved if and when he chose to sexually assault another person or did not report sexual assault that he witnessed. When a person shows a pattern of deviant behavior in their youth, it shines a light on their character. If they got married, had children, rose to prominence in society, and did good deeds, that does not give them a free pass. A person who is the victim of sexual assault lives with the trauma of that experience for their entire life. These allegations merit investigation. If he did not do these things, then an investigation should help to clear him of suspicion.

In the early 1980s, I worked at a popular restaurant and bar called The Laundry Works in downtown San Jose, California. Many of my co-workers were students. Several of them were members of fraternities and sororities. Multiple female co-workers told me deeply disturbing stories about being sexually assaulted at fraternity parties. The most disturbing story came from a young woman who had been drugged at a party and woke up to find herself being gang raped by a group of young men. This is called a train. There is a name for gang rape of young women at parties. That is because it happened and still happens at campuses across this country. She was too ashamed and afraid to speak out to authorities. She had been drinking. She wasn’t sure but she believed that she’d been drugged. Since time had passed and any physical evidence was no longer accessible, she remained silent. I was appalled, disturbed, heartbroken for this young woman. I was angry for all of the young women who told me that they had been sexually assaulted at parties and were afraid to speak out for fear of being shamed, humiliated, threatened or harassed.

Fraternities are powerful and protected by universities, even when serious and sometimes deadly illegal events occur. Members of prestigious fraternities at prestigious schools like the ones Brett Kavanaugh attended go on to become prominent elected officials, judges, and even presidents. The alliances and connections created in these institutions last lifetimes and any illegal and immoral behavior by members of these fraternities which is denied, concealed, and protected has serious implications for our society as a whole. Private, prestigious schools feed students to private, prestigious universities who join private, prestigious fraternities and go onto lead prestigious, protected lives of privilege. The Good Old (mostly white, male, privileged) Boys Network is still firmly entrenched. When politicians bemoan the undue influence of the ‘elites’ and the corruption of ‘the swamp’, this is where the focus should be placed, on the Good Old Boys Network and its insidious influence on our government. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions, regardless of their status.

Why did she wait 37 years to speak up about this?

I was date raped at 19, while living in Sacramento, by a friend of a friend of someone in my family. I was ashamed, confused, humiliated, and terrified. I did not go to the police. I did not tell anyone. This does not negate the seriousness of what happened or the lifetime impact this event had on me. Women don’t come forward for a litany of reasons. To suggest that not coming forward implies consent or complicity is absolute and total bullshit. If a woman speaks out years later, it’s because she feels it is crucial that her story be heard in the light of the set of circumstances that compel her to come forward. No one gets to dictate that to her or belittle her experience because of the passage of time or the prominence of the accused.

If it is even remotely possible that the current candidate for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court sexually assaulted a woman, sexually harassed another woman, was present at parties where young women were drugged and gang raped, or may have participated in gang rape or shown a lack of willingness to intervene during such an event, then it is incumbent upon our elected officials to put their partisan politics aside and seriously investigate these claims. If, in fact, the GOP knew there were multiple claimants regarding sexual improprieties and Judge Kavanaugh and opted to ignore their claims in an attempt to force this nomination to vote, then they should be held accountable for their actions. He also accused of lying, under oath, multiple times, and that also merits further scrutiny.

Sexual assault is about power and control. Giving a man who has shown a pattern of sexual assault the power to change laws that would control the bodies of millions of women is unacceptable. There is also a pattern of rulings by Judge Kavanaugh that show an impulse to control the rights of minorities, immigrants, handicapped, LGBTQ, and non-Christians, which are also disturbing. Then there’s the matter of a letter signed by 1000 Yale alumnae and professors condemning Yale University for the enthusiastic support of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Brett Kavanaugh was singled out and groomed by the GOP (along with fellow conservatives Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, George Conway, and Matt Drudge) and by a cabal of conservatives who have spent millions of dollars working to stack our courts with judges who reflect their ultra-conservative agenda. Donald Trump was given this list to use while selecting Supreme Court Justices, and has consulted with The Federalist Society on a series of lower court appointments all designed to subvert the will and the rights of the majority of citizens in favor of the agenda of a powerful, wealthy group who has spent years attempting to take control of this country. That in and of itself should disturb every citizen. Add to that the questionable character of this current nominee and the willful subversion of the rule of law by our elected officials, we’re in deep, folks. It’s not just the Supreme Court, the wealthiest and most powerful conservative families have spent years and millions of dollars influencing our elections, laws, and policies. We, the people, lost control a long time ago and as gerrymandering, voter suppression, court stacking, the unraveling of civil rights, environmental protections, student rights, protections for minorities, women, LGBTQ and the handicapped, and the dismantling of government agencies, continue at a breakneck pace, we are losing more control with every passing day.

We have a president who has been accused by over a dozen women of sexual assault and aggression. He admitted on tape to this behavior. He has shown a complete disregard for the rule of law, decorum, civility, and the rights of the citizens of this country. Yet, elected officials from the party in power (who are fully aware of his authoritarian impulses and his corruption) do nothing because they are more concerned with getting the agenda of those who financed their campaigns firmly entrenched to secure absolute power. The same party that held our former president’s Supreme Court nominee in limbo because it was ‘an election year’ are racing with the clock to avoid the results of the mid-term elections from thwarting their ability to confirm their nominee. The ramifications of this nominee being approved would be epic with decades of influence, and they know this.

It’s time to tear apart the Good Old Boys Network, for good. That time has been up for a long time. The American people deserve to know the truth. The American people deserve a judicial branch and elected officials that reflect the will and protect the rights of the majority of our citizens. We, the people, need to rise up and demand it, before it’s too late.