Other stories filed under Opinion
Tell me “it’s a scary time for young men” again
November 9, 2018
In the midst of sexual assault allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, America was divided between believing the accusation from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and defending Kavanaugh. It was, and still is, a time of immense confusion and fear.
Of course, citizens would look to their president for possible guidance, but President Donald Trump has had some questioning “guidance” on other topics thus far. This time was not any different.
With millions of men and women watching, Trump stated that it is indeed a scary time. For men.
“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said in a video posted by CNN, “You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life, and somebody could accuse you of something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a woman, as everybody says, but somebody could accuse you of something, and you’re automatically guilty. But in this realm, you are truly guilty until proven innocent. That is one of the very very bad things that is taking place right now.”
Yes, you read that right. When asked to comment on the fact a man he appointed may have tried to rape a woman, the leader of our nation only showed concern for men. Dr. Ford gave a terrifying testimony, but many are still determined to ignore it.
“Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes,” Ford recounted, detailing how Kavanaugh had her isolated in a bedroom, “I believed he was going to rape me.”
“Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most and what has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack,” Dr. Ford continued, more in this article by NBC news.
Dr. Ford’s words have stayed with many of us. As a young woman in America, fear for my safety plagues me more often than I’d like to admit. Not because I need a “big strong man” to protect me, not because I’m wrongfully paranoid, but because one out of every three American women have experienced some sort of sexual violence.
Because for every four girls below the age of eighteen, one has already been sexually abused, like Dr. Ford was fifteen at the time she stated Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. I am afraid because 63% of rapes go unreported, because studies show that less than 10% of rape accusations are false (out of roughly 570 cases of sexual violence per day in the United States), and rarely do these false accusations lead to arrests. Despite these statistics, many are more worried about false accusations than rape itself (information found here, here and here).
Beyond just looking at statistics, having to defend ourselves against potential predators is something women have to think about almost every day.
We go to public bathrooms in groups. We can’t let our phones die while we are out in public.
We are warned against jogging alone, jogging in shorts that are “too short”, jogging while listening to music so we won’t be distracted in case someone is behind us, jogging while wearing a ponytail that someone could potentially pull us by.
We are scared to walk alone at night. We walk with keys between our fingers, with our hands deep in our purses, clutching to pepper spray. Everyone who turns up behind us may be following us home.
We are nervous every time we get into an Uber or taxi, and every time we board public transportation. Every person who sits too close, every glance that lasts too long, every greeting that is just a little too friendly, all could be a sign of danger.
We can’t go to parties alone, and while there we can’t take drinks or food that we haven’t had our eyes on at all times.
We have to be careful what we wear, it doesn’t matter if our clothes are comfortable or make us feel good if someone looks at them and thinks that our outfit is an invitation.
We are scared to be alone with men we aren’t close to, and sometimes we’re even scared to be alone with men we are close to.
If we voice any of these, some call it ridiculous. If we neglect to do any of these, some say we deserve what we get.
All of this in mind, the president still fears more for young men and thinks that the whole world should fear for young men. What does this mean for young women?
We are being conditioned to view our own problems as less important, impossible to bring attention to, and not worth reporting.
Donald Trump is not afraid for the safety of young men in America, he is afraid that corrupt men will no longer be able to maintain their power.
The idea of men committing acts of sexual violence and coming away from court (if they are even charged) seemingly unscathed is not farfetched.
Woody Allen is an exceptionally well-known film director who was first accused of the sexual assault of his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992.
There have been investigations, and Allen did appear in court for it, where he had his custody of his children restricted and paid ex-wife Mia Farrow’s legal fees. Despite these legal punishments, Allen was never imprisoned nor did his career come to a halt. Trump states that men’s lives and careers are destroyed by sexual assault allegations, but Allen has had around 40 films and many other works released since the allegations first went public.
With the recent rise of the “#MeToo” movement, there has been more attention on Allen, but the fact remains: he continues to work, he continues to be free, while Dylan Farrow’s life is forever affected.
“I’m a writer,” Allen told Page Six, “It’s what I am. What I do. What I always will be. I’ll write. Since I continually have ideas it’ll be new ideas and I’ll write new things.”
It seems like Woody Allen gets to keep living his life as he always had, but Trump feels we should fear for men like Allen. Why?
Besides celebrity cases, a relatively recent instance of sexual violence committed by Stanford University student athlete Brock Turner came into the public spotlight in early 2016.
People v. Turner detailed Brock Turner’s assault of an unconscious woman, who sustained significant injuries from that night.
Turner was found guilty, but his sentencing was heavily controversial, mainly for the fact that there was a public outcry for the judge to go easy on Turner because of his potential as a swimmer for Stanford.
“I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was so heavy I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone. After work, I would drive to a secluded place to scream,” Turner’s victim wrote in a letter published by Buzzfeed News.
“And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming. Throw in my mile time if that’s what we’re doing. I’m good at cooking, put that in there, I think the end is where you list your extracurriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that’ve happened,” she continued.
I read this letter when it was published in 2016. I still remember.
I remember how my 15 year old heart ached for a woman I had never met, how I was filled with rage for a problem that was not new in my society. I wanted to do something, I wanted to see him met with a punishment that fit his horrifying crimes.
Brock Turner was charged with three felonies, but sentenced to only six months in prison. His parents cried out to the public, saying their son was the subject of public hatred, saying how hard this was for him. How scary.
His victim was left both physically and mentally scarred by his violence, yet he had the gall to demand sympathy, to stare down everyone who opposed him and insist he be treated nicely.
Was Brock Turner’s life really destroyed? Should we be scared for him?
Does anything that has happened to him come anywhere near what his victim went through?
This should be obvious. This should be a resounding, unanimous no. It was not. Some still take pity on Brock Turner, and this is what Donald Trump wants.
It seems as though our president is disregarding the safety of an entire gender. In fact, Trump even mocked Dr. Ford, a woman who has received death threats based on her testimony against Kavanaugh and referred to coming forward as “having to relive her trauma in front of the entire world” in her written testimony.
It’s not easy to feel safe under the leadership of a man who has many sexual misconduct allegations against him. Trump has said degrading comments about and routinely ignores the problems of others in favor of hyper-focusing on the issues of white men.
Kavanaugh is the perfect candidate for Trump-sympathy, and it is beyond frightening to think about how Trump has been able to turn this situation around in a way to get many Americans to feel more empathy for Kavanaugh than they do for Ford.
The president claimed that Kavanaugh’s life was “shattered”, jerking tears from the eyes of the crowds of people that somehow support this notion.
Kavanaugh was still confirmed. Kavanaugh will earn over $250,000 a year as a Justice with the Supreme Court, able to make extremely important decisions that affect our entire nation. Dr. Ford was publicly mocked by the president of the United States.
“Justice Kavanaugh your life and family are not ruined. Try having a child murdered by a weapon that you refer to as ‘common use.’ You will get through this and hug both of your children tonight,” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, the father of a student lost in the Parkland school shooting in February 2018. Kavanaugh is not in support of gun control, an issue that Guttenberg believes in very deeply. He makes a good point, yet pity for Kavanaugh is not sparse among Americans.
Trump’s complete overshadowing of Dr. Ford by transforming Brett Kavanaugh into some sort of martyr is not the only upsetting action he has taken against women. With at least 22 allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump, it is a bit easier to see why he so staunchly supports Kavanaugh, and why he is so scared for men today.
Trump sees a world where movements like “#MeToo” are gaining more momentum, where women are getting more of a voice and the ability to hold more power for themselves, and he is vehemently trying to combat it. He is not entirely unsuccessful, either.
The president is not alone in resenting the empowerment of women, and his powerful position makes it easy for him to influence others to follow his point of view.
On a Southwest flight from Houston to Albuquerque that occurred only weeks ago, a man named Bruce Michael Alexander groped a woman. He is being charged, so that is reassuring, but his reasoning for doing so is nothing short of disturbing.
“… the President of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts,” Alexander told investigators, listed in this CNN article.
Our president is not inspiring people to respect women, as he should be, but is instead encouraging men to view themselves as above women, to take advantage of women, to do whatever they want because no matter what he will always defend them.
I am eighteen years old, I have not yet left high school or had the opportunity to live on my own. I am terrified for myself and my fellow women as we go through life. We are open to be abused and our nation’s president does not want there to be anything for us to do about it. He wants us to forget about ourselves. He wants us to fear for our fathers, our brothers, to forget, to prioritize the men in our lives.
He does not want mothers to teach their sons to respect women, or to view them as equals. He wants mothers to put their sons’ well beings above those of their daughters, to worry that the reputations of their perfect boys will be ruined and not that their daughters could be taken advantage of.
Society teaches women that they need to defend themselves, but scoffs at the idea that men need to be taught not to be a threat. It is easier to blame an “underprepared” woman than a violent man, it seems.
Donald Trump does not want us to be protected, he does not want us to be heard. He wants us to be quiet.
This is our reality. Sexual violence is still an extremely prevalent issue, but Trump is attempting to bury it under the false fear for young men’s lives.
Again and again women are ignored, mocked, told to “calm down” and “stay in their place”. Their safety disregarded and their words unheard. Women of color are pushed even further back. This is all in America, where conditions for women are better than they are in some other countries. It gets worse, much worse.
United States President Donald Trump does not care about women, and he does not want the rest of the world to either.
So please, tell me “it’s a scary time for men” again.