“How does a jury determine truth with nothing to base that decision on other than the he said-she said situation?” I just wrote an entire article about this that you even clapped for.

I agree that it would be ideal if women came forward right away, when there is more likely to be physical evidence, but did you read the Amber Wyatt story that I linked a while back? She came forward immediately and went to the police right away and ended up getting essentially run out of town and branded a lying whore. This is a particularly atrocious case, but hardly rare. The fact of the matter is, as was also shown in Steubenville, OH and some of the other high profile cases that have been in the news, we are reluctant to punish or ruin the lives of “promising young men” although seem to be fine with the ruined lives of girls and women. We don’t like to believe that the men we admire would do terrible things, and so we (societal We) find it much easier to blame the victim instead, which then compounds the problem, because victims are not eager to come forward and potentially face that. I’m also working on a piece about our cultural hatred of victims. Think of the statement that Trump made about McCain — how he only likes people who don’t get caught. But that is still down the line.

What is meant by “regretting” it the next day is not, “I’ve decided I don’t really like that guy after all.” It means that quite often men pressure women to do things that they don’t actually want to do. I’ve slept with guys I didn’t really want to because they bullied, badgered or guilted me into doing it. There’s a whole phenomenon of girls/women giving guys blowjobs so that they can safely get out of the car without ending up being forced into something worse. Yes, women need to learn to stand up for themselves more fully and to say no to things they don’t want to do, but in many of these instances, the woman was afraid for her safety or her life. This whole dynamic needs an overhaul.

As Margaret Atwood has pointed out, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Like it or not, what’s in the media does influence behavior more than we’d like it to. I’d go so far as to say that we didn’t have a Black president until we’d seen one on tv on 24. Cultural messaging plays a huge part in how people think, particularly how young people think. And no, I do not support media that shows revenge, no matter how awful the crime. And yes, I do support people thinking for themselves. But in the Porky’s and Animal House movies, those guys weren’t portrayed as monsters — that’s the whole point. They were portrayed as cool and treating women just as they deserved to be treated. Kavanaugh even testified that they were trying to emulate the people in those movies with some of the comments made in his year book. It doesn’t speak to whether he’d ever done a lot of that stuff, but it does speak to the fact that he wanted people to think that he had. Devil’s Triangle, anyone……….

But I agree with you, the woman’s life will be severely impacted and possibly forever, people react differently to these things, some seem to be able to put it behind them while others can’t.” You don’t ever really put this kind of thing behind you. Just because someone can function well, and isn’t suffering from overt symptoms, doesn’t mean it doesn’t continue to color everything about their existence, even if it’s mostly subconscious. It’s a violation not just of body autonomy but of soul. That’s why so many women are so up in arms right now, because so many of us have experienced that deep level of trauma and seeing some people make light of that, mock that (President Trump) act like it’s not all that big a deal and you probably lied it about it anyway……… It pokes at that wounded place with a sharp stick. We survived; we went on to make regular lives for ourselves and to have husbands and children but underneath is the cultural message that “that’s what girls are for” and that is no longer acceptable!

Of course, not every man believes that or acts that way, but it’s enough of a cultural/societal undercurrent to feel like a slap in the face. We saw it before the hearing; “He was young; that’s just boys will be boys behavior.” “That’s just normal heterosexual hijinks.” “We can’t hold him responsible for something he did 36 years ago.” All of this was not even trying to cast doubt on whether or not he’d done anything; it was simply assuming that he had and excusing it. This is where I’ve been coming from and if you encounter other passionately angry women right now, that’s likely where they are coming from as well.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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