By Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D.
The letter below was published in The Washington Times on Sunday October 22, 2017 and is followed by a section of the column to which it responded. (With Mama’s Note.)
I urge anyone who might have missed it in our nano-second news cycle to read Suzanne Fields’ most timely column (“Young men’s lives matter, too,” Web, Oct. 18). In wonderful prose, Mrs. Fields masterfully integrates California Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent veto of a bill that would have codified into California law the notorious “dear colleague” false campus rape hysteria of the Obama administration, the progressive feminist media’s desire to keep Harvey Weinstein on the front page in order to convince all and sundry that every man really is a Harvey in sheep’s clothing, and heaps praise on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for her clear-sighted fairness and transparency.
Even if you disagree with Mrs. Fields’ thesis, reading her column will be a pleasant break from the Washington world of harsh tweets and name-calling unbecoming even of a politician.
GORDON E. FINLEY
Emeritus professor of psychology, Florida International University, Miami
The punishment of sexual villainy, however appalling, requires fairness, care and due process
Everybody despises Harvey. Usually by this time in the public pursuit of a villain the scoundrel begins to attract a little undeserved sympathy. Not this time. The accusers keep on coming, with the passion of Emile Zola famously accusing the French government of hounding Alfred Dreyfus — “J’ accuse!” — only because he was a Jew.
But the accusers of Harvey Weinstein, as the aggressive male brute with no redeeming social value, now threatens to turn their fury against men, all men — the innocent (and there are some) with the guilty.
It took decades for the Hollywood mogul to be publicly flayed by the angry women he had done wrong, and lots of other angry women are rising against innocent men unfairly. Bearing false witness is a crime, too.
Mama’s Note: Read the rest of this excellent article here.
Unfortunately, there is little or no indication that the author understands that both men and women must take full responsibility for their own actions and choices. Everyone must take responsibility for their own safety and defense.
Rape, assault and many other instances of aggression are, for the most part, subjective in nature. They are combined in endless ways, and many (or most) can’t be proven objectively one way or another. It becomes a matter of sorting out the various situations, responsibilities and reputations of the people involved. They cannot legitimately be investigated or adjudicated in the heat of emotional hysteria, or in the absence of due process for all concerned. And I’m seriously skeptical of any claim of “rape” or sexual harassment that comes along twenty or thirty years after the “fact.” I don’t buy it, especially not when rich, powerful and well connected women are now claiming victim-hood based on something they obviously had accepted, for whatever reason, so long ago.
Now I know that some will scream that I’m “blaming the victim” here, but that is evading the real issues. Think about the solid truth accepted by most people who carry a gun: The best gunfight is the one that never happened. We don’t go looking for a fight, and we know that avoidance, deescalation if possible, is the very best thing we can do to stay safe. That, and prepare to meaningfully defend ourselves against an attack we can’t avoid.
Very few of us would consider intentionally going to sleep on the freeway… in a car or otherwise. How many people deliberately walk down the mean streets of a major city, at night, all alone – even if fully armed? Do you collect rattlesnakes or black widow spiders?
The key is to avoid becoming a victim and to be willing and able to stop the attack if it cannot be avoided. Of course the person who actually harms anyone is responsible for the harm, no question, but the act of exposing oneself to that harm in the mistaken belief that someone else or some “law” should PREVENT that harm is just asking for disaster in so many ways. Call 911 and Die is not a joke.
So, the old admonition remains important for everyone, but maybe especially for both men and women who do not wish to be sexually abused, or accused of such abuse:
Don’t go stupid places, with stupid people, and get drunk/high/naked with strangers. (or even with “friends” you don’t know very well.)
I suspect that this would stop most of the actual “rape” assaults. But that would require rational thinking and self responsibility. Doesn’t seem to be much of that in today’s colleges and universities – or courtrooms. More the pity.