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March 9, 2018

The #MeToo hashtag has trended on Twitter for some time and resounded around the world as the legitimate mantra of women who have been sexually assaulted or abused. All of these women (an a couple of men) should be applauded for stepping up with courage and speaking out. They are most certainly right to do so.

However, there are a couple of things that need to be addressed with this movement. The first is somewhat obvious. Why would any woman or man wait 10, 20 or 30 years to report sexual abuse? It’s a fair question. If a person was a victim of theft, identity fraud, assault on the street or a vehicular accident they would speak up immediately or lose most credibility in their complaint. We have all heard the excuses from Hollywood that basically translate into: “I was assaulted but my career and money were more important.” That illustrates a huge lack of character among some of these victims and speaks volumes about the Hollywood mindset as a whole.

The second thing that needs closer examination is the fact that the #MeToo movement has in some instances been hijacked as a political tool. Accusing someone of sexual misconduct is being used regularly to smear and defeat political opponents without any proof whatsoever. Often the public lacks the investigative skills to determine whether or not an accusation is factual. Law enforcement takes forever. Just ask any legitimate rape victim! However, things move quickly in politics and a mere rumor can kill a candidate before any facts are discovered. This #MeToo McCarthyism is becoming way too prevalent and detracts from the legitimacy of the movement and especially women everywhere who have real experiences with abuse, sexual assault and harassment.

The recent special senate election in Alabama was a good example. Roy Moore was accused for political reasons. His accusers were largely debunked but the damage had already been done. Is it really fair to convict someone without proof and due process? (By the way, I’m not a fan of Roy Moore by any means.) It can be a bit like calling a single mother a crack whore and having her kids taken away only to learn too late that she wasn’t guilty as accused. Likewise, when a person is patently guilty with abundant proof, such as Al Franken, we should not soften our condemnation for political reasons. In short, #MeToo should be taken out of politics and left to the realm of social justice and law enforcement.

A third thing to consider is whether or not we’ve gone overboard a bit in defining sexual abuse. If a man in the workplace tells a female coworker, “You look great today.” is that now going to be considered sexual harassment or simply a compliment? Can we still compliment each other without fear of reprisals and Gloria Allred showing up on our porch? Is it still okay to give a consoling hug to a woman who has just lost a family member? Or is that inappropriate touching? Will a man be held guilty of sexual harassment if he holds the door open for a woman? If we push these questions and answers too far off center, we are apt to become emotionless robots. Tough questions for tough times.

It is true that we must flush out all the perverts, abusers and rapists from all sectors of our society, not just government and Hollywood. They are everywhere: At work, at the market, at the doctor’s office and in every corner of our lives. They need exposing and punishing. But in the heat of the moment, it would be wise to remember the lessons of McCarthyism and vigilantism and where that led us. Brave women (and men too) should be encouraged and applauded for coming forward with true accusations but let’s not let this turn into a carnival of accusations against innocent people. In the end, it comes down to fully enforcing all applicable laws and not turning a blind eye for any reason to sexual misconduct but at the same tempering the unbridled @MeeToo enthusiasm to preserve our humanity. Like anything in life, #MeToo is a matter of truth snd balance.

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  1. By far and away your best post to date! You missed your calling. You should have been a serious journalist (“you [sic] coulda been a contenda . . . “ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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