By Greg Price
With a US Supreme Court appointment in the balance, I watched with more than passing interest in professor Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982 when she was 15 and he was 17.
Interest because of the power the US Supreme Court holds in the most powerful nation in the world, and also having several female relatives, including two sisters, there was a degree of empathy as I gathered information on the proceedings.
It also made me take some introspection into my own life in how I’ve treated women from my teenager years on.
Have I ever been to Bill Cosby/Brock Turneresque levels in my interactions with females, — not even close. But I also haven’t been the White Knight in shining armor that Kavanaugh claimed to be in testimony, despite mounting evidence to the contrary in yearbooks, testimony etc. I found it it very peculiar that Kavanaugh referred to ‘boofing’ and ‘The Devil’s Triangle’ as drinking games…in which Wikipedia is mysteriously updated at the time of the hearing to include such a reference, even though every reference beforehand involved a sexual dalliance between two men and a woman.
A slip of the arm around the waist of a woman here, joking about giving massages there with hands on the shoulders — with a smattering of extremely blue jokes there in my college and mid-20s days. Numerous little things that as I look back — were they really little? Or were they seen as little simply because of the culture we grew up in?
Did women sluff off certain actions or words back in the day because that’s always the way it was?
Have I ever done the cliche of whistling at a woman as she walked by my group of friends — no.
But can I honestly say I have never did an action or utter a word or phrase to a woman that has made her feel uncomfortable in a social setting — more than likely not, even if I was oblivious to it at the time.
With that entrained culture that we speak of, I can recall a time where I did play the role of White Knight, even though the blowback was being treated like the court jester by my male peers.
I was at a house party when a woman I had a passing acquaintance with was making it quite obvious to everyone in attendance that she had had too much to drink. Stumbling across various rooms, tripping over furniture, slurring her speech, hanging on the shoulders of whoever was nearest to her at the time — she was in rough shape.
And it seemed like none of her friends wanted to come to her aid.
Knowing I was in a house with numerous spare bedrooms, I directed her to a more private area, with a comfy bed and pillow/comforter. Knowing full well the necessities of binge-drinking recovery in my early years, I fetched a big glass of water and make-shift vomit bucket to place by her bedside to factor in the room-spinning ratios that were sure to follow in her alcohol-induced haze.
As I closed the door to the bedroom and returned to the party, a few men inquired if I ‘got any’ with another cracking a joke of ‘how was it?’
Apparently, carrying a woman to a safe place, whose near-limp body resembled a wounded soldier being carried off the field of battle means it’s a green-light to ‘get some.’
Upon telling these men about doing what I thought was the right thing, I was instantly mocked along the lines of my sexual orientation being questioned.
I can’t remember exactly what I said in response, I do know being still fairly young with my definition of self esteem still being formed, it was likely just sluffing it off with a quick quip here or there to ensure my masculinity was still intact.
I’ve discussed this incident numerous times in my 30s/40s, and the Kavanaugh hearings definitely brought it to the forefront of my mind again.
As I thought back in my mind to that night of the house party, the ‘frat boy’ culture of the day had men joking to me that it was worse to be gay than it would have been had I chosen to take advantage of that woman that night in her near comatose state.
Better to sexually assault someone than to be considered weak, a sissy, ‘unmanly’ in doing the right thing.
I find it laughable with some members of the far right saying how now Brett Kavanaugh’s life is ruined.
Apparently still having boat-loads of cash in your pocket and a life-long appointment to the US Supreme Court amounts to one’s life being in shambles because someone decided to dig up at the very least, your not-so-pristine character, questioning if it is worthy of such a powerful position.
As the saying goes, innocent until proven guilty. But as it seems with women reporting sexual assault cases, it is often the accuser that is on trial in their innocence or guilt.
What were you wearing at the time of the assault? Would you consider yourself a promiscuous woman with your number of consensual sexual partners? - As if that gives permission for men to be non-consensual partners. How much did you have to drink that night?
A common refrain as Ford has encountered as she still deals with death threats today is ‘why did you take so long to report it?’
Ummmmm, maybe because while she has been able to suppress the damage until now, upon learning that an alleged creep is about to be given one of the most powerful positions in the United States, she thinks such rapey actions are unworthy of such a lofty perch.
Ford was not the only one to come forward with allegations.
Does the pre-teen altar boy have a time limit to bring bad people to light in the case of priests raping young boys?
False accusations involving sexual assault are understandably bad, and should be prosecuted.
But to imply this big wave of male victimhood is washing over North America because of incidences like Christine Blasey Ford and the #MeToo Movement is asinine, especially given the precautions women have to take every day simply to feel safe.
Studies show numbers range between two to 10 per cent of sexual assault claims are proven to be false.
What those numbers don’t tell you is that a false claim can simply be a woman who files a claim and then withdraws it simply because they don’t want to go through the circus in which Ford just did.
So, at most those 10 per cent are supposed to suppress the validity of the other 90 per cent? And that’s the 90 per cent of sexual assault cases that actually see a court room. Many reports show that up to 80 per cent of cases of sexual assault are never reported.
Women often site ‘victim blaming’ as a detterent, as the woman must have done something for a man to not be able to control their sexual impulses. How can I be asked to be accountable when she was wearing that perfume and short-skirted dress?
If at the very least Christine Ford’s case can’t make us take introspection into our own actions, applaud the women who have the courage to come forward with their stories of sexual assaults or unwanted sexual advances, and demand more of of the leaders of our communities, dark days will still remain in how we view sexual enpowerment between men and women.