How Very Bad Men Get Away With Rape by J. Valenti
It takes one person to commit a rape, but a village to let them get away with it over and over
…Why is this minority of bad men able to get away with abusing women over and over? Because “good” men make it easier for them.
You don’t have to be an abuser to enable abuse, and over the last few weeks, Americans have watched that reality play out on the national stage.
Knee-jerk sympathy for men accused of wrongdoing isn’t new.
After CBS chairman Les Moonves was accused of sexual assault, for example, network board member Arnold Kopelson said, “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff… Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.” Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, who says Moonves raped her in 1986, told New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow that she didn’t come forward for fear it would derail her career. Comments like Kopelson’s suggest she was likely correct.
…And, of course, in the week since professor Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they were in high school, we have heard from a parade of men (and some women) eager to defend the Supreme Court nominee.
Some say Dr. Blasey Ford must be lying; Mississippi Republican Senate nominee Chris McDaniel, for example, said that “these allegations, 99 percent of the time, are just absolutely fabricated.” (In truth, false allegations are exceedingly rare.)
Others claim she must be mistaken or misremembering. In the Wall Street Journal, Lance Morrow writes that “the passage of time sometimes causes people to forget; sometimes it causes them to invent or embellish.” Besides, he says, “no sexual penetration occurred.”
Most disturbing are the men who suggest that pinning a girl down, covering her mouth, and attempting to rape her is simply normal teenage boy behavior. A lawyer “close to the White House” told POLITICO that “if somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.”
…Knee-jerk sympathy for men accused of wrongdoing — something feminist philosopher Kate Manne dubs “himpathy” — isn’t new. For decades, studies have shown that men are less likely than women to believe a woman when she says she was raped and are more likely than women to hold negative views of rape victims.
This isn’t just data: it’s a map to understanding how abusers are able to flourish. Consider the disproportionate number of men who are police officers, judges, magazine editors, movie directors, college administrators, and bosses. The people who shape how we think about gender and power and who decide how accusations are handled are far more likely to be men — who we know are more likely to empathize with male abusers than female victims.
The rest is located here.
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