The Dark Underside of #MeToo
If you believe in women’s rights, as I do, and if you also believe that women can do anything they want to and should have full access to opportunities, then you also have to accept that women can also do things that are immoral and awful.
Right now the social collective is focused on sexual abuse in all of its forms, and rightly so. However, there is scant attention paid to claims of such that are false. There are a lot more of them than you would suspect, or at least more of them than I did. I Googled “False claims of molestation” and was immediately goggled. Such claims are not at all rare.
Many of the national-level cases are, of course, entirely valid, and the perpetrators have had their personal and professional lives dismantled, at the very least. As they should be.
Having experienced a false accusation myself, I began asking questions of close friends. From the first four people I talked with I gathered TEN examples!
A first year female 2nd grader teacher accused by a boy of having groped him when he was held in from recess. She was immediately removed from her classroom and put on paid leave. For six months. When the little boy finally admitted he had made it all up because he was mad that she had kept him in from recess because he had not completed his homework, the school district’s response was “OK – you can go back now.” How would you feel if you were in your first year of a career you had sacrificed so much to attain?
One young woman accused two different step-fathers of molestation. The extended family eventually caught on. A US Army cadet was falsely accused while at West Point of raping a female cadet. You can imagine the uproar and the depth of the investigation and the likely destruction of his service career. What agony!
A man was falsely accused by a niece, which sent ripples of discord through an entire family that went on for years, long after the original allegation had been withdrawn.
And so on. And on.
In a way, it is a perfect crime. In none of the ten cases I have heard of, with the exception of the Army incident, did the original false accuser suffer any punishment. If you want to bring a world of hurt to someone, this is a sure-fire way to do it.
There is a statute of limitations on many crimes, but there is no statute of limitations on accusations. Furthermore, any response from the falsely accused sounds like an admission of guilt, because all of the possible excuses have now been used by famous people who turned out to be guilty of exactly what they were accused of. You can start, sadly, with the current President of the United States, and run through so many elected officials, movie stars and producers, comedians, and on and on.
If you are accused and reply “I did not do anything,” most people will nod, and not believe you. Same goes for anything else you might say. Many people, both friends and relatives, will immediately cease all communication with you. There is no recourse.
For this reason, most people in this situation, in my limited experience, tend to clam up and not talk about it. It is not fair or right, but it is the only course that seems available.
Today in the national news it is the turn of Tom Brokaw. An accusation decades old has turned his life inside out and upside down. Is he guilty? Maybe. Will it make a difference? Maybe not.
I continue to support the rights of women and the worthy goals still left to be accomplished. I hope that along the way we can spare some concern for the many men and a few women who have been falsely accused.
There are many thousands of them.
Copyright 2018 David Preston