Rape, predators and prey

As several bloggers and pundits have pointed out, it’s creepy that the response to Brett Kavanaugh saying he totally did not assault Christine Bresley Ford is to declare that even if he did, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Given the chance to pretend they don’t tolerate predators, that they protect human prey — something that’s part of government’s police function — the right wing picks the predator’s side. When a second accuser spoke up against Kavanaugh, the Republican response was to speed up the vote.

And we’re not talking incels and other creeps venting online, we’re talking the Republican mainstream. Of course, they’re not always pro-predator: if the predation is black-on-white, or hispanic on white, then they want the hammer dropped. Even after the Central Park Five were cleared, Trump kept insisting they were guilty. But white man praying on woman? No big!

This isn’t unique. Communities shit on rape victims. The religious defends in-church predators just like the Catholic Church. Paige Patterson, the former Southern Baptist leader who told women to stay with their abusers, is preaching again; some supporters say firing him for not reporting a students’ rape wasn’t Biblical. At this point, part of Kavanaugh’s appeal is that appointing him is a triumph for sexism: ” It has to be this guy, now, because he has been accused, credibly, of attempting to rape a 15-year-old girl in 1982—moreover because people believe this should be considered a disqualifying blight on his record. The thing that must happen is that those people must be defeated.” It’s a nastier version of owning the liberals, but it’s also about reinforcing male supremacy: men can do whatever they damn well please to women without consequences.

As I’ve said before, that’s the nature of patriarchy. I suspect it’s one reason court evangelicals are comfortable supporting Trump (or Roy Moore). Men are free to do what they want with women, it’s up to the women to find a way to restrain them. If not, the men are entitled to prey. Those who aren’t comfortable saying that aloud just lie: Bible-thumper Franklin Graham’s response to the allegations has been to lie that Kavanaugh stopped as soon as Ford said no. The stuff about him covering her mouth, turning the music up loud? Look, crickets!

Dennis Prager explains it’s taking the charges seriously that will damage “America’s moral compass” and the proper way to deal with sexual assault at work is to hide: “When my wife was a waitress in her mid teens, the manager of her restaurant grabbed her breasts and squeezed them on numerous occasions. She told him to buzz off, figured out how to avoid being in places where they were alone, and continued going about her job. That’s empowerment.” No, it’s survival. I’m sorry your wife is married to you, dude.

A White House lawyer says that if Kavanaugh can be brought down by these accusations — “brought down” meaning going back to his current job as a lifetime-appointed federal judge — “every man should certainly be worried.” Well, no, only men who’ve held a woman down and covered her mouth to prevent her screaming. As Lili Loufbourow says, the underlying message is that boys do evil things and we should just accept that’s the way of the world (not a new right-wing insight).

An alternative theory is that it happened but Ford misidentified the attacker. Right-wing think-tanker Ed Whelan actually accused another man by name; Kathleen Parker tried the same tack without naming anyone. This seems like a split-the-difference tactic (nobody’s lying, someone’s just wrong!) but as noted at the first link, it’s not getting any traction. And possibly Whelan came up with it after talking with Kavanaugh.

Law professor Amy Chua, who knows and supports Kavanaugh’s nomination, also told female students who wanted to clerk for him that “it was no accident” his female clerks look like models.

By the time you read this, I may already be a couple of developments behind. So to end on something a little more upbeat, here’s advice on consent: don’t make people drink tea.

 

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Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

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