Let's Go Beyond Kavanaugh for a Minute
I promised myself I wouldn't write about this. I really can't help myself though. And, before you get all geared up about your particular opinion regarding this mess, I doubt that this post is what you're expecting. So, just hang in there a minute.
This post isn't about his guilt or innocence. It's about something that, to me, is much more concerning. The reaction of my fellow Americans.
I completely understand, and support, the fact that there needs to be proof of wrongdoing. As the mother of four boys, I would hate to see their lives and careers derailed because of a false accusation. I typically believe the woman in this type of situation - why would anyone lie? But, when it's a politically charged situation like this I believe a false accusation is much more likely. So, if you are saying that there needs to be proof of guilt I get that.
My problem is with the people who are saying that "boys will be boys," or, "who cares what happened so long ago?" Or, "Well everyone does it, so what's the big deal?" Worse, the "Well, she was probably asking for it." Or, "What was her behavior like? She deserved it."
This shows a serious problem with how we treat sexual assault in our nation. First of all, it is not natural boyish behavior to force oneself on an unwilling partner. The last thing I want my boys or anyone else's boys to learn is that it's "no big deal" to assault or rape a young woman. It's a very big deal.
Second, it doesn't matter what the young woman was wearing or how she was behaving. That is not an excuse to behave improperly towards her. In fact, I believe we need to teach our boys that if a young woman is drunk or otherwise incapacitated they should assume that she's not in the right state of mind to make these kinds of choices and should be protected from others who are willing to take advantage of her state of mind.
Or, we could just teach our boys (and girls) to save sex and sexual activity for marriage. That would be even better.
Furthermore, complaining that Democrats have assaulted, raped, and beaten women without reprisal is really unhelpful. What are you driving at? Should these men be tried? Or, do Republicans get a free pass because Democrats have received one in the past?
If you're saying they should be tried and there should be accountability, I wholeheartedly agree with you. If you're saying that Brett Kavanaugh gets a free pass then frankly I think that's ridiculous. Just because someone from one political party got off scot free doesn't mean anyone else should.
I have never met a woman in my life that has never been cat called, touched, groped, mishandled, or worse by a man. Are all men evil? Absolutely not. In fact, I think most of them would step up and protect us. First, though, we need to empower them to do so.
Over the weekend I ran a booth at a local festival for Alpha Omega Center. In order to encourage interaction with the attendees we have a wheel they can spin and then the number they land on tells them what question they have to answer to win a prize.
One young gentleman got our "Name three ways to prevent date rape" question. I think he did great. He said he would watch out for the women in his group, and stop them from leaving if they were acting oddly or out of character. Then he got quiet and looked at me hesitantly, I said, "no, I think that's great, keep going." He paused, then finished by telling me that he felt like it was his job to watch out for the girls in his group.
The crazy thing to me, though, is that he seemed embarrassed to admit that he felt a need to protect the women around him, to watch out for them. I'm not saying women need to be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, but what's so wrong with a guy in the group watching out for the girls he's with?
So, if it's wrong to give abusers a free pass and it's right to expect men around us to watch out for us, then what do you think it's doing to young women when they read comments about girls "deserving what they got" or, "asking for it." How do you think it affects their hearts to see men and women brushing it off as "boys will be boys?"
Do you think this makes them more likely to speak out? Or less? Maybe instead of going to an adult or authority figure they conclude that they should have worn a longer skirt, or looser fitting pants. Perhaps they smash themselves into a too-small bra to avoid attracting unwanted attention. Maybe they try to convince themselves that what happened to them is no big deal. Their heart feels like it's breaking, but everyone else seems OK with it so they need to get over it.
America, we need to watch ourselves and guard our tongues. Our children don't need to grow up thinking that sexual abuse, molestation, or any other unwanted advances are acceptable. Our sons can't think they'll get a free pass and our daughters need to know they'll be taken seriously.
Did Brett Kavanaugh engage in sexual misconduct? I have no idea. I do know, however, that we need to change how we talk about it. Otherwise, we're going to raise a new generation of girls that stay silent about abuse and boys that feel it's their right as males to take what they want.