Since the #MeToo movement gained traction in 2017, a wide range of prominent figures have been dethroned due to accusations of sexual impropriety. The latest confrontation in the long-running saga has centered around the Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination.
The allegations against Kavanaugh are probably the most significant #MeToo story since the fall of filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, whose exposure started the movement – with a total of three accusers to date, Kavanaugh hardly rivals the prolific Weinstein, but due to the public importance of a Supreme Court Justice, the allegations have stirred serious public controversy.
In the case of Judge Kavanaugh, is the scandal warranted or is #MeTooseeking to claim a victim who is undeserving of the public’s outrage?
America seems to be divided on this issue, with opinions largely falling along party lines. But the question is: What impact will this nomination have on the #MeToo movement?
Believe all Women?
There is little doubt that those who support the #MeToo movement saw the recent Christine Ford and Kavanaugh Senate Judiciary Committee hearings as an opportunity to achieve a major victory in their supposed struggle against the mistreatment of women.
The movement has encouraged other women to come forward about their experiences with sexual assault. RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization, claimed that their National Sexual Assault Hotline has seen a 200% increase since the movement began.
The willingness of more victims of sexual assault to tell their stories and hold their abusers accountable is certainly a positive development. Nobody of any political persuasion wants to see more women become victims of these crimes. However, it is important to note that many who support #MeToo do not recognize the necessity of ensuring that the accused are given a chance to defend themselves.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Emily Martin, a vice president of the National Women’s Law Center said: “If anyone had any illusions that the #MeToo movement’s work was easy, the toxic backlash that we are seeing this week from Brett Kavanaugh, Republican senators, and the White House should correct that misimpression.” She continued, “But we also know, from everything we have seen in the past year, that whatever happens with this nomination, the voices of women and other survivors will not be silenced.”
If you look at Martin’s statements, she does not mention the need for due process; there is no indication that she would encourage the public to look at the facts of each individual case before making a judgment. This tendency is part and parcel of the left’s insistence that “we believe all women.”
Any sane person can see the potential pitfalls that would come with simply believing all women without seeking out the evidence. Indeed, the situation with Kavanaugh reveals the rift between two factions: Those who want to take every potential victim’s word as gospel, and those who believe that each case should be evaluated on its merits.
Many reasonable people feel that, rather than a right to be believed, women instead have the right to be heard. Moderates reject the notion that the public should accept an accuser’s claims without question, instead suggesting that every case should ride on the evidence. Jason Hilden, a former police officer, told the Associated Press that while he supports the #MeToo movement, it has “gone too far.” Like many Americans, Hilden believes that Ford certainly went through a damaging experience, but that Kavanaugh is not necessarily the culprit. He said:
“I hate it when people say, ‘Well, she brought it on herself,’ and things like that. I hate that. But it’s gotten to the point that anybody can say anything, and it’s believed now.”
The left’s assertion that Americans should blindly believe every accuser has caused a widespread backlash, especially on social media. Black conservative activist Candace Owens, who is a vocal opponent of the #MeToo movement, recently tweeted:
“The last time a mob of white liberals demanded that we believe women without due process, our ancestors were hung from trees.
Under no circumstances should we allow this radical feminism to persist.”
While Owens’ use of lynching imagery might be a bit strong, the point is compelling. It illustrates the reality that the lives of men could easily be ruined by giving women the power to destroy lives with a single accusation. For those who have sons, brothers, fathers, and uncles, this is not a welcome prospect.
A Choice for #MeToo
Kavanaugh’s emotional defense at the recent Senate committee hearing likely caused many to doubt Ford’s claims against him. By extension, it might also prompt people to rethink their views on the #MeToo movement’s tactics. While everyone wants to give victims the means to fight back against abuse, they don’t want to see innocent men become victims themselves.
Those who promote the movement now have a choice to make. They can continue to go over the top in their argument that all women should be believed, no matter what evidence is available. In doing so, they may even win some political victories. However, this behavior will eventually cause public support to fade.
On the other hand, #MeToo advocates could begin approaching allegations in a way that reflects a desire to find the truth of each situation. Instead of immediately rushing to crucify the accused, they could encourage Americans to look at the facts first. In this way, they could actually start making a positive change in the political landscape.