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viewpoint

Male fear of false persecution illustrates why we need activism

| Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Explain to me how men are the victims of their own misconduct.

Donald Trump is more concerned for his sons than his daughters.

I say that it’s a very scary time for young men in America, when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.”

In a desperate effort to shift victimhood to fit a narrative more beneficial to his cause for the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, our President declared that women are doing great, and it is the men in our society that we should be concerned about. He mocked the courageous Dr. Blasey Ford just a couple hours later at yet another campaign rally; caricaturing her testimony. He proceeded to reenact an imaginary conversation between a mother and her son, falsely accused of sexual misconduct.

But, according to Donald Trump, women are doing great.

I am not surprised. It is only when power structures, and those who control them, are threatened, that we witness the depravity that grows out of misplaced ambition.

What does surprise me, however, is how many good, decent people buy into this narrative of a male victimhood. I do not believe that every Republican male who participated in the judiciary committee hearings has committed acts like those described in the hearing. And yet, every single male Republican senator (and they were all males) went on the defensive, emphasizing Kavanaugh’s ruined reputation above all else in their questioning. Their questioning, or lack thereof, failed to acknowledge Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony in the most basic ways.

I don’t think they are worried about Kavanaugh’s reputation, I think they’re worried about their own.

But if they didn’t do anything wrong, then they don’t need to be.

The narrative of a male victimhood resulting from #MeToo is incorrect. False reporting rates of sexual assault are lower than nearly any other crime. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, false reporting rates for sexual assault is in the range of 2-8 percent.

We don’t immediately assume that someone reporting a robbery is lying, even though the rates of insurance fraud are greater than false reports of sexual assault.

Attempts by Donald Trump and others to hijack the rhetoric of the #MeToo movement to focus on men as the victims is just another in a long string of injustices against survivors within the past week.

I am not worried that more men will be victims of false accusations as a result of the empowerment of women. No, I am worried that young males will develop an even deeper sense of entitlement created by the rhetoric of male victimhood. Language like the kind used by the senators who questioned Judge Kavanaugh, Donald Trump and the Trump sons is dangerous and irresponsible.

It only serves to undermine the experiences of survivors of sexual assault, and protect those people who commit acts of violence in enabling structures.

Please, men of America, don’t be so naive as to believe that you are the true victims here. You can’t be a victim of your own misconduct. The true victims are those who have experienced years of prejudice, disrespect and violence at the hands of men.

And to all men, I promise you this: If you have been a respectful, good person, you have nothing to fear. Criminals are individuals, not groups. As such, all men should be willing and ready to root out those males who have committed egregious acts of sexual abuse. Instead of rallying behind a shared sense of victimhood with criminals, rally around a shared sense of solidarity and justice for survivors.

Join us in decrying and undermining those among you who have committed evil acts, and feel assured that you “are doing great.”

But, if you are one of those people who committed evil acts, get ready, because we are lined up and ready to take your positions once you lose them.

Jackie is a junior at Notre Dame majoring in political science and peace studies. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, in her free time she can be found discussing politics or the personal merits of Harrison Ford. All questions can be directed to: [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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