Believing Women Shouldn’t Depend On Your Politics

Let’s start with a classic example:

Here’s the thing. I never called for Franken to step down. I believe there are degrees of bad behavior; that there is a difference between Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken, even though a lot of people pretend that #MeToo isn’t composed of shades of gray. Easier to make an argument that way, I guess. Pretending #MeToo is always about complete destruction of the accused is as lazy and dishonest as #NotAllMen.

What troubles me is how we pick sides; How we believe accusers of people we don’t like, but don’t believe accusers of people we do like. I also don’t like how accusations against someone are immediately countered with whataboutism – which is a desperate and obvious attempt to change the subject.<

Another favorite excuse is the innocent until proven guilty, and how that standard should apply in these situations. Funny, that standard doesn’t seem to apply to any other situation. If it did then editorial pages, blogs and comment sections would be nothing but blank spaces. Innocent until proven guilty is usually accompanied by the claim that women will start accusing innocent men for the hell of it. My eyes roll when someone puts forth this argument (the same way they roll with voter fraud), because, let’s face it, false accusations for sexual assault are in line with every other crime. Some studies say less due to under-reporting of sexual assault.

I swear, I would love to see a guy being questioned about a mugging asked, “Well, you were flashing that sexy Rolex, so what did you expect? Are you sure it was stolen? Maybe you gave him your watch and now regret it.”

The innocent until proven guilty defense (which we all did with Manafort, Bill Clinton, Mike Brown, Trump, riiight?) is simple deflection; a way to take a woman’s account and turn it into men’s concerns. It’s also not applied across the board, only in cases where we like the accused. You won’t hear this defense if the man accused is disliked (for his writing, politics, acting, comedy, etc.). We need to stop approaching these scenarios as a team sport.

I have my own #MeToo experiences. One was a relative, one a guy I went on a few dates with, and one was the guy who lived across the street from me – a guy every parent loved, a guy who could easily produce more that 65 signatures on a letter claiming his upstanding character.

I never told my parents about these assaults when they happened. (I did tell them when I was older.) I didn’t tell anyone but my best friend because I knew what would happen. I knew what these men did would morph into what I did. What was I wearing? Did I flirt with them? Lead them on? Know how I knew these questions were coming? Because I asked myself the same damn questions. Other than my family member, I liked these guys. I wanted to date them, and society tells women that liking/crushing on a guy is equivalent of “leading them on”.

Society also tells women we are responsible for policing men’s behavior; that men can’t help themselves when faced with temptation. That it’s biology. Think about that rationale for two seconds. If it’s true, then every man cheats on his partner. He can’t help himself. Vice President Pence actually admits it. He won’t share a meal in a public restaurant with a women or have an adult beverage unless his wife is present.

And then there’s this:

Others, like former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), a top Trump ally, insisted that Ford’s story wasn’t credible because of the timing of her decision to finally come forward. But, even if the accusations were true, Kingston added, it was of questionable significance.

“Let’s all step back and think about our own perfect behavior when we were in high school,” Kingston told The Daily Beast. “I think there have been enough people from both parties, although far more liberals than conservatives, who have received such allegations… Not many, however, have been accused of things that they may have done in high school—but something that was bottled up until now. Let’s face it, Democrats would do anything possible to derail a Trump nomination.”

Ah, the boys will be boys defense. Kingston is saying is that this behavior happens, is common. Yeah, women know this. His comment isn’t the least bit shocking. It is extremely insulting to men, however.

I shudder when I think about what’s heading Christine Blasey Ford’s way. It’s already started. My favorite, and one that’s entirely predictable, is the claim that she wants attention, publicity, etc.. Really? If you believe that then go ahead and name 5 of Bill Cosby’s accusers. No Googling allowed.

53 comments on “Believing Women Shouldn’t Depend On Your Politics

  1. Jack Polidori

    Somewhere, somehow in this degraded, post-truth Trumpian surrealist nightmare that we are now living, I still hold strong to the core belief that evidence — credible evidence — stands its own essential ground irrespective of gender, race, etc. Gender or any other classification (choose your term) does not cause the presumption of truth.
    The proverbial tires of truth all deserve to ride the sometimes rough road of credibility.

    • Interesting that you would hide behind the Trump-era falsities to specifically expect that women and minorities should continue to live with the higher standards of credibility required of them in order to get any justice. The right answer is that we should stop expecting that women and minorities have a lesser claim to justice, stop expecting that if you aren’t a white man you are agitating to get something you don’t deserve, that if you aren’t a white man you can’t be a victim, you are a party to your victimization.

    • This sort of behavior predates Trump. Why would you link them?

    • Not sure I’m getting all you intended, but does your highlighting of “credible evidence” mean you don’t include the woman’s testimony in that category?

  2. Delaware Left

    I just want to get in here before someone posts a wild ass Al Franken take

    • Why not bring up Al Franken? The dems handling of him should do away with any whiney accusations of bias. Yes it would be nice to see more repudiations of billy C, but the idea of keeping creepers out of the government still rings true.

      • It’s less about Dems than it is of Collins. She was outspoken about Franken resigning due to his behavior. Seems she doesn’t have the same standards for Kavanaugh.

        • Which is the bomb-hidden-in-the-corpse of the Franken defenestration.

        • A Republican selling out every aspect of who they are other than being a Republican… What a shock.

  3. The standard in Congress seems finally to be trending bipartisan. Blake Fahrentold stepped down, and he was even lower on the offense scale than Franken, though of course Fahrentold started backtracking as soon as he got a taste of life post-Congress.

    They’ll sacrifice a pawn, but not a rook.

    • I think of Franken as more of a Bishop…

      • I was talking about the Republicans. Kavanaugh is the rook. Farenthold is the pawn.

        • Now that I think about it, Franken, capable of thinking in and out of the box, is perhaps better thought of as a knight. Farenthold is loathesome, regardless of which piece he is on the board. Didn’t Maher try to get rid of him in 2014?

    • Often a knight for a rook is a commendable trade, but not always.

    • I agree with Yglesias’ article. But I think he would agree that the failure of those same Democrats to condemn Tom Carper demonstrate that optics, not principle, was the point. And for the centrists, eliminating an articulate leftist surely was a bonus.

      • Carper and Franken are not the same circumstances. Franken had women who spoke their #metoo and even had photos. Carper does not. While it is horrible what he did, he also apologized ages ago. Carper’s incident was a very long time ago, from what we can tell it’s been ameliorated and the woman here doesn’t seem to want to speak of it.

        • “Apologized” is not what he actually did. He lied about it for years, then “apologized” through clenched teeth.

          And it was no longer ago than Brett Kavanaugh’s juvenile assault.

          • The time is not the issue, the issue is there some restorative justice to be had here. Since the woman involved is not asking for it, I don’t see the point of penalizing him for this. Franken arguably had to address the restorative justice aspect as does Kavanaugh.

      • Without an accuser this won’t go anywhere. That’s the difference.

  4. @pandora: It’s not about whether it “goes anywhere.” It’s about whether this involves principle or realpolitik. I have said from the first that the Franken punishment was about realpolitik, not principle. Situations like Carper’s are supporting evidence.

    @cass: Justice should only be sought if restoration is in question? I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that, and if you think about it longer you might not either. By that logic it’s only a problem if the victim presses charges, which is one of the defenses they’re making of Kavanaugh.

    I’m not trying to fight with you here, just saying I don’t think there’s any justification for the way Carper has handled this throughout his career. It reflects poorly on him and always has, and if we’re meting out justice I find his crimes (the beating and the lying about it) more serious than Franken’s ass-grabbing. YMMV.

    • The thing here is that you aren’t in much of a position to determine what justice looks like here. The woman in question is silent, there is an apology, as best as we know this behavior is not a habit, and Delaware voters continue to vote for him and approve of him. There’s a serious question as to public statue of limitations for this kind of event. I don’t approve of what he did, and that represents a character black mark (to say the least), but am not ready to say that he should be forever shunned since it seems to be a one off.

      • So was Kavanaugh, apparently. What you’re unwilling to do is confront a popular Democrat.

        And I’m in no worse a position to determine justice than you are.

        • What you’re unwilling to do is confront a popular Democrat.

          So you know that everyone who has read my work here and at DL just spat their coffee out on their keyboards. And I’m going to point out that the tell when you’ve run out of argument is that you start doing this shit.

          What is happening here is that you are picking up this ax to grind against Carper to work a stupid bit of false equivalence. There are days and days and days of grievances to work against Carper — some of them way more important that this — but here we find you trying to get some points out of this false equivalence.

          • No, I’m trying to point out that Carper has gotten a pass on this because he lied about it for years, then gave a grudging apology and now everything’s peachy.

            You, on the other hand, are making excuses for why nobody cares. Nobody cares because nobody will make an issue of it.

            It’s not false equivalence. Go back and accumulate your excuses and see if you’d make them for anyone else.

            • The person who has to make an issue of it is the ex-wife. Franken’s issue started when women spoke up and said they were abused and that they were upset about that. If Carper’s ex doesn’t think that this is worth making an issue of — and it is her business in the first place — why would it be disqualifying for office?

              Kavanaugh is in trouble specifically because the woman who was abused is calling it out as a question of unfitness. And of some justice for her as you can read about the impacts that led her to therapy in the first place. And that Kavanaugh specifically remembers that he never went to this party but does not remember the work he did in the Bush White House. And that he isn’t polling very well — Americans are very dubious of this guy and the process (kudos to Democrats for a change). The difference is that Dr. Ford is standing up to ask for accountability. The ex Mrs. Carper is not and I think we are free to assume that she got the accountability she needed.

              • I understand your point, I just don’t think I agree with it. She testified to what he did in a sworn deposition. I don’t think she needs to expose herself to what Professor Ford is going through to think Carper is dodging accountability.

                • In a perfect world (where a woman is believed) she wouldn’t.

                  Right now we have a situation where a woman is asking for an FBI investigation and named Kavanaugh’s friend as a witness (who, for some reason, doesn’t want to testify for his friend) and people still don’t believe her or give her the benefit of the doubt. Seriously, someone who’s lying doesn’t ask for an FBI investigation or add a witness who’s friends of the accused.

                  What’s happening to Dr. Ford is the reason many women don’t speak up.

          • I think the point you want to argue is Carper vs Franken, Alby. (I have no defense for either one’s behavior.) This is kinda the point of my post – Believing women shouldn’t depend on your politics. You feel Franken was treated unfairly and that Carper should be held to the same standard. I get that.

            But… we need a woman (or a witness) to come forward and tell us what happened. She hasn’t come forward. If she does then that changes everything for me.

            • Yes, this goes back to Franken. And the point I’ve tried to make from jump street is that this is political, not a matter of principle. No excuses for either man’s behavior, just let’s not pretend that the circumstances of the reveal don’t matter.

              Tom Carper lied about this for years until the deposition surfaced, then refused to talk about it, giving only a pro forma “apology.” If principle were the only issue, he’s worse than Franken and thus should go. But as the arguments you and Cassandra have put forward show, principle is not the issue. That’s all.

              • Um… how does he “go” without an accusation?

                I am not defending the behavior. At. All. You seem to think there’s a way of making him go without an accuser.

                Look, I get that these things were treated differently years ago and that’s appalling, but I don’t see how what you’re asking for happens without a woman/witness coming forward now. That’s my only point.

              • Some of it is political. Some of it is about justice. All of it is about listening to women. That’s the only difference between the two of them. A woman or women not only with credible claims of abuse but abuse that the man in question has never addressed or tried to ratify. That was Franken’s problem in a nutshell. Carper has another narrative all together.

  5. Since we are apparently going to be spared the ordeal of watching Dr. Ford testify, I will offer the following transcript of select portions of the Senate judiciary hearing…

    Chairman Grassley: “Dr. Ford, let’s begin with a few details of the alleged assault. Can you tell us when it took place”
    Dr. Ford: “No, I don’t remember”
    Chairman Grassley: “Thank you, can you tell us where this incident took place?”
    Dr. Ford: “No, I don’t remember that either”
    Chairman Grassley: “Can you tell us how many other possible witnesses were in the room at the time the alleged incident took place?”
    Dr. Ford: “It could have been two, or maybe it was four, I don’t recall exactly who may have been in the room at the time”
    Chairman Grassley: “Dr. Ford, this is a very serious accusation. Did you tell any one about this at the time?
    Dr. Ford: “No”
    Chairman Grassley: “Dr. Ford, the incident seems to be a bit vague. Is it possible you made the whole thing up to justify the sexual promiscuity and alcoholic behavior of your college years?”
    Dr. Ford: “No, of course not”
    Chairman Grassley: “Dr Ford, would you like to provide any more details about the alleged incident to this committee?”
    Dr. Ford: (Starting to cry, sniffles) My life was ruined and nobody believes me (Breaks down in hysterical crying fit)
    Chairman Grassley (Offers handkerchief) “Thank you Dr. Ford for your testimony, we will now call the Honorable Judge Kavanaugh”

    Senator Harris: “First I would like to start for the record that I am seeking the Democratic nomination for President”
    Chairman Grassley: (Dry chuckle) “Thanks for clearing that up for us, Senator Harris. Do you have any actual questions for Judge Kavanaugh?”
    Senator Harris: “Judge Kavanaugh, please tell us about the time you raped this woman and ruined her life”
    Judge Kavanaugh: “I did not rape this woman”
    Senator Harris: “I will remind you that you are speaking under oath and that I am seeking the Democratic nomination for President – Now please tell the committee about the time you raped this woman”
    Judge Kavanaugh: “I deny all of the allegations made by Dr. Ford”
    Senator Harris: “Judge Kavanaugh, I will remind you that this smirk on my face and my wagging finger mean this is a serious matter – did you or did you not rape this woman?”
    Judge Kavanuagh – “Thank you for the clarification of the seriousness of this matter. I emphatically deny the allegations”

    Chairman Grassley: “Dr Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, thank you for your testimony. We will now proceed to the vote – all those in favor of advancing this nomination to the Senate say “Aye”…. All those opposed say “Nay”… The Ayes appear to have it” (bangs absurdly small gavel three times) “This matter is adjourned.”

    • Let’s break this misogyny down, shall we?

      Dr. Ford has stated from the beginning that she couldn’t name the time and place. However, “Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh denies attending an early 1980s party at the center of a sexual assault allegation against him.”

      Most sexual assault victims do not report or tell other people at the time. However, she did tell her therapist and husband in 2012. Hmmm… why did you leave that fact out?

      “Justify the sexual promiscuity and alcoholic behavior” Do men like you ever get tired of blaming women? We get it. Alcohol condemns her and exonerates him.

      Of course, you end with her in hysterics. *yawn*

      You go on to show how little you know about Kamala Harris. She eats men like you for breakfast.

      Do you really not understand how these things work? Investigation first, then hearings.

      Have you heard? The all white male, Republican Senate Judiciary committee is considering asking female staffers to question Dr. Ford? Unbelievable.

  6. Judging by her reluctance to testify, what is actually unbelievable is Dr. Ford’s story.

    • She isn’t the least bit reluctant. She will testify after proper procedure is followed. That means an investigation. Seriously, this is pretty basic stuff.

      • Ummmm, no. “Procedure” is the the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee decides how the hearings will be run. She was offered the chance to testify, and refused. Committee will proceed to the vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

        She is in no position to demand anything with regards to the structure or content of the hearings or to set any kind of conditions relative to her testimony.

        • The people afraid of an FBI investigation are the ones without an honest position.

          Why would she ever go to a hearing where witnesses weren’t investigated and weren’t allowed to testify?

          One thing that’s obvious, no way are you a lawyer.

          • LOL. “Honest position” from someone supporting an individual that tried to make an anonymous unverifiable smear. Someone who couldn’t even recall the year or location of the incident, and could not even clearly state who was there at the time. Someone who immediately scrubbed her entire social media profile so that she wouldn’t be revealed as a pussy hat wearer and proud member of the “resistance”. Someone who doesn’t have the guts to testify about this incident that “derailed her” for years.

            Just admit it. It’s a completely blatant attempt to derail the hearings. That’s fine, it’s the type of behavior I expect from Democrats in 2018. Just don’t try to pretend in any way that this is anything other than that.

            I hope this woman’s life is ruined. Good to see it’s already underway.

            • Just reading what you write, I’m sure you’ve ruined many women’s lives. But we’ll put you down as pro-harassment and pro- death threats against women.

              Here’s what I’ll admit. One person wants an FBI investigation. The other side doesn’t. And you think this makes Kavanaugh look credible.

              • The more they say, the more they reveal about themselves. “I hope this woman’s life is ruined.”

                That’s how important this is to him, even though it has no bearing whatsoever on his life.

                The fact that he comes here to abuse people says all you need to know about him. Why y’all allow him to continue to abuse people is on y’all.

                • Wow, the pot calling the kettle black. You, abuse people all the time. Your name calling and degrading remarks are your go to. You have a great deal of nerve to criticize others!

                  • I don’t come here just to abuse people. I debate issues with everybody else. You’re too dumb to do that, so I just insult you in the hope you’ll go away and never come back. You’re incredibly stupid, you add nothing to the site and why they put up with it I’ll never understand.

                    • This situation is a perfect example. What I said was to somebody else, not you, and you have nothing to add to it except to criticize me, which is pretty much all you ever do here except whine about your taxes and your electric bill.

            • And so xyz takes the final dip in the political septic, vents some hatred and shows himself for the alphabetical idiot we all knew him to be. Report to the anono room!

            • This guy’s a real sicko. Wild stuff.

  7. Wow. You have a serious problem, fella. Someone who would go to the trouble to type all that, none of which has any relationship to reality, is in some serious denial about what an asshole he is.

    • The truth, which you’re apparently unwilling to face, is that your heroes fucked up a slam-dunk, and that all your smug predictions aren’t worth wiping your ass with.

    • He went to all that trouble because he’s worried Kavanaugh is guilty. You only write fantasy like that if reality frightens you.

      • No, he knows Kavanaugh is guilty. What ought to worry him is his own situation — when he feels insecure he comes over here to kick the dog. This is the profile of an abuser.

      • Of course he knows Kavanaugh is guilty. Of course we know that abuse of women and lying about it is not disqualifying if you have an R behind your name. It is certainly true of xyz. He writes that kind of fantasy because he specifically endorses the abuse of women.

  8. The fact that Dr. Ford made her allegation does not relieve Republicans from the need to release all the Kavanaugh documents, or explain Kavanaugh’s lies under oath regarding his activities during his time serving the Bush administration. He has not cleared the truthfulness bar. This is not now only a he said/she said confrontation as the veracity issues are unresolved. Republicans would like to reduce this situation to hs/ss. And, if she’s gotten death threats relative to a congressional hearing the situation certainly merits an investigation, and protection by U.S. Marshalls.

  9. Why God is Laughing at Brett Kavanaugh:

    “It is our job,” Kavanaugh wrote in an email to his colleagues in Ken Starr’s office, “to make [Clinton’s] pattern of revolting behavior clear — piece by painful piece.”

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