Men: We’ve Heard About Assaults. Speak Up About Them.

Brett Kavanaugh cried, shouted and pouted at his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Brett Kavanaugh cried, shouted and pouted at his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Distributed via OtherWords

Women who report assault deserve to hear that we believe them, and that we can back them up — because we’ve heard the other side.

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation imbroglio shined a bright light on a terrible misconception: that the #MeToo movement is somehow about destroying the careers of powerful men.

Again and again, Kavanaugh and his defenders complained that the allegations were “ruining his life” or “his good name.” (Never mind whether he deserves it.)

This sort of entitlement completely erases survivors of assault. #MeToo is about those women, previously silent, speaking out so that America’s shameful tolerance of sexual assault ends.

Even worse, some Republicans appear willing to accept Kavanaugh even if the allegations brought by Christine Blasey Ford and others are true. To them, it’s unfair that something Kavanaugh did as a 17 year-old boy should impact his career 36 years later.

This is nothing less than open tolerance of sexual assault. To me, that’s unacceptable.

I suspect millions of men share my view. And we need to speak up — especially those of us who got a glimpse inside the world Brett Kavanaugh grew up in.

I grew up only a few miles from Kavanaugh. Although he was after my time, I knew lots of young men like him. As a college student, on more than one occasion I heard guys boast about their exploits forcing themselves on women, or recounting how multiple guys had taken advantage of a woman too drunk or too drugged to resist.

They didn’t see it as a crime they got away with. They saw it as a badge of honor. And they laughed, as Blasey Ford chillingly recalled of Brett Kavanaugh and his friend.

I’m ashamed to say I never confronted them. Deep down, I lacked the courage to do so. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t let myself consciously recognize the violence associated with it.

That has to change.

Millions of men have heard, and continue to hear — in dorm rooms, frat houses, and bars — the drunken boasting of men who forced themselves on unwilling women. The men who’ve heard these tales must speak up, even if it’s years after the fact, even if they can’t, or won’t, identify the assailant.

Millions of women have spoken out about surviving these assaults. They deserve to hear that we believe them, and that we can back them up.

If man after man after man says not only that they’ve heard the tales of men who victimized women, but that those men displayed pride rather than remorse, we can help confront a culture that’s protected predators for too long.

Men who commit sexual assault need to know that other men don’t think it’s cool — and won’t tolerate it any more than women will.

Consider this in the context of the Kavanaugh confirmation allegations.

How different would things be if men who attended Georgetown Prep or Yale at the time Kavanaugh did stepped up and bore witness to the events cited by Blasey Ford in her testimony, or Julie Swetnick in her affidavit? And, if in a position to do so, identified Kavanaugh as an enthusiastic participant?

Those men wouldn’t have even had to be there when the events occurred. The reality is that in the days that followed each drunken event at which women were victimized, the event was the subject of endless conversations — conversations that involved lots of laughter, but never remorse.

There were decent Georgetown Prep students who heard those conversations. They should speak up, and so should any man who’s heard anything like it elsewhere.


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  1. I am so glad you wrote this article. Thank you.
    There’s another reason, less remembered, why men need to speak up and let other men know this kind of “bad-boy party behavior” isn’t cool, that it is rape and serious, that women who are shy and alone are definitely valuable, loved, human beings and not targets for their gleeful, drunken, adolescent, buddy-boy games:
    You men are the first people likely to know truly disturbed sexual predators.
    If you don’t call out your brothers for learned, “bad-boy party behavior”, none of you will know these predators for what they are when you meet them. You will think they are no different from you or your other men friends– maybe a little more troubled– going through some bad patch in their lives. Some will have an attitude; a philosophy setting them beyond the grinding mill of daily life. They will appear to you as admirable, charming, charismatic– like Ted Bundy, who was a rising Young Republican, or Ira Einhorn, the New Age Guru. You will sympathize.
    You will introduce them into your social circles, to your wives, girl-friends, mothers, and daughters, and walk with them down the streets of your town, showing them your favorite destination places. They will befriend you and tell you, in confidence, about things they’ve done. You will protect them because you can’t distinguish the difference between what they tell you they’ve done and what your other “bad-boy party behavior” adolescent friends have done. You will believe that that sick predator is being wrongfully pursued by vengeful, delusional women falsely reporting their delusions about your charming friend to the police. You will help him.
    You will even turn against a woman you know very well; your friend, girl-friend, wife, mother, or daughter, when she comes to ask you about that friend. If she survived.
    I was lucky years ago, when I came home from a late night of studying and a strange man came out from behind the door of the enclosed stairway leading to my apartment. He stood in the entryway and said something innocuous that didn’t add up. I backed into the street and didn’t let him near me. Flight was not an option.
    I got a very good description. Artists and criminal justice students can be very well-trained observers. When I reported it and was put in contact with the volunteer neighborhood rape patrol, I learned quite a lot about that vile rapist, his M.O., his favorite targets, and possible motivation. I learned about the devastating life-long harm he’d done to those targeted, married women and the shattering effects it had and would continue to have on their husbands, marriages, and their children.
    I also learned that the police didn’t know his name, but that a male friend of mine did. He wouldn’t tell the police and there wasn’t anything placing my friend and the rapist together in a way that the police could have used to compel my male friend to reveal the name. The representative of the neighborhood rape patrol hoped that my friend would respond to me and give up the name.
    My friend had been at school in another city. When he returned months later, I asked him, and told him what had happened in a very conversational way. I listened. Writers train themselves to listen– and remember exactly what they hear.
    He vacillated between telling me that things weren’t what I thought they were, that he couldn’t betray a confidence, and that the woman from the rape patrol couldn’t be believed, because she had issues– after all, she’d started the neighborhood rape patrol after she’d returned from a weekend out of the city to find her apartment in a shambles, and the bloody, stabbed, raped body of her roommate in the bedroom that they’d shared– She hated all men because of that– so my friend said. She couldn’t leave his poor, sick, frightened friend alone. He became agitated and fled from my home.
    The last I sight I had of my friend was from my second story apartment window as I watched him run across the street as if all the Hounds of Hell were pursuing him. That was thirty-four years ago.
    My friend let a sick, vile rapist walk away to another city, rather than give up the rapist’s name to a woman who had been his friend, who may have come to the rapist’s attention through him, and who became the rapist’s target when the nursing community he normally preyed on was alerted and moved to protect itself. My friend preferred to believe that the rapist needed to be protected because he was confused, vulnerable, and ill—Oh yes, the rapist was ill. He had incurable syphilis– that the man probably didn’t do any of the things he told my friend he’d done, and that it didn’t matter anyway, because he’d probably already left the city, and my friend didn’t know where he lived anymore.
    My friend preferred to believe I’d become one of the Harpies persecuting a poor, sick, innocent man.
    My friend preferred to be afraid of me.
    My friend was afraid of himself
    and that’s forever.
    Who have you introduced to your wife, your mother, your daughter, your friend?

  2. Nobody besides Kavanaugh himself denied it happened. The other witnesses simply said they didn’t remember. And what do you think? Would people who attended a party 36 years ago be as likely to remember it as a woman who was assaulted at the party? My sense is that you have critical thinking skills, good ones, but you employ them only when they help your cause.

    As for corroboration, Judge’s college girlfriend is willing to testify that he confessed to essentially gang raping a woman in high school Julie Swetnick signed a sworn statement regarding Kavanaugh’s high school conduct. Another woman stated that she remembered chatter about the incident involving Ford.

    And Kavanaugh lied his ass off at the hearing. Just one example were the ludicrous definitions he gave for the passages on his yearbook page.

    As for my lawyerly analysis, here’s a piece written by another lawyer:

    • I do not blame you for your opinion because I suspect that Roy Cohen is channeling through you.

      My position is best summed up in this 6 minute clip of Tucker Carlson:

      In closing, maybe the left should remember this memorable moment from the Army McCarthy hearings: Funny how in this topsy-turvy world, role reversals are happening.

      • The Carlson clip is from before the Thursday testimony, showing that you have made your mind up before you ever heard from Ford.

        You’re showing that you made up your mind in advance, you don’t care what Ford said or what the FBI finds.

        And then you project what you’re doing onto others, claiming their channeling Roy Cohen.

        Roy Cohen was Trump’s mentor, who told him never admit to anything, always claim victory, even when you lose, and scream and attack anyone who gets in your way.

        That’s what Kavanaugh did on Thursday. Right out of Trump’s playbook.

        There is no reason why the WH can’t produce another candidate.

        Kavanaugh is a proven liar, including in his testimony on Thursday.

        People who knew him at prep school and in college say he was a mean, black out drunk.

        His calendars from that time are filled with references to drinking and sex, same for his high school year book.

        All this contradicts what he’s said under oath.

        Tell us why, oh mighty Fox News viewer who is not at all a sheeple, why the WH can’t just submit another candidate?

        I swear, there isn’t a real man in the GOP anywhere, you’re all cowing to Trump, no matter what he says about any of you. Insults Cruz wife, gives out Graham’s cell phone on TV, and you all just line up to kiss his fat flabby backside.

        Bunch of beta cuck cowards, to use you own terminology.

        And you have proven you are not being open minded, you do not respect women.

        Think before you post, please.

  3. “I grew up only a few miles from Kavanaugh. Although he was after my time, I knew lots of young men like him.” How can you say that?

    Not one part of Ford’s accusation has been corroborated and four of the witnesses that she named, including hew own friend, deny it happened.

    I do not know what happened to Ford but there is nothing beyond her own uncorroborated and contradicted statements to link Kavanaugh to her. I thought you were a lawyer?

    • Your media outlets shield you from anything that may trigger conservatives snowflakes.

      And FYI, if you support Trump no matter what he does, that’s the textbook definition of “sheeple”.

      It’s embarrassing for Arizona that you are so aggressively ignorant.

    • And FYI, among Kavanaugh’s many, many lies, his statement that a “devil’s triangle” is the best of all.

      I can assure you, State Senator Policeman John Kavanagh PhD, a “devil’s triangle” is a three-way with one woman and two men.

      Two horns, get it?

      Boof is a whole other discussion.

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