OK…this is unexpected, I am sure. But I have to say it: Kangaroos are here and having their way with us! Kangaroo courts beget lynchings and we are definitely watching lynchings and letting them happen. Therefore…watch out for kangaroos!
What I mean by that: allegations are not fact. Allegations can be just gossip. If someone alleges a crime was committed, an investigation should take place and a proper trial convened. The alleged victim has to come forward. Evidence has to be presented. Anything else is just rumour or gossip, however compelling the story.
The above is written knowing full well that alleged victims can be telling the truth but are hesitant to come forward and often for understandable reasons. Women are especially reluctant to describe personal violations even if the intimacy was not wanted or expected. It’s embarrassing at the very least. It can be traumatically scarring. Fraud victims feel similarly. They feel stupid for being so naive or trusting. Their wounds can be more than just financial, too.
But others cannot pay the social and legal price for a crime they may not have committed. That is blatant injustice and, to my mind, that kind of injustice trumps embarrassment, humiliation and monetary loss. As I write this, the current rash of accusations serving as judgments is a travesty of any kind of justice and we are now all accomplices to that very real crime if we don’t at least speak out.
I am not alone in thinking this way – it is the basis on which our criminal legal system operates. It is a fundamental premise in all law. Proof is required. The accused has to know the accuser. It’s tough for everyone but so was the alleged crime and so is the possible judgment. Crime is not nice and no amount of dancing around it or coddling will make it better.
All of the above, I believe, will be agreed to by most thinking individuals but I want to considertwo other elements as well. Time and changing standards and basic primal motives – the kind that no laws have effect on.
Firstly, what constitutes sexual harassment today was considered normal behaviour less than thirty years ago. Women were subjected to sexual inequality in many ways and it was the norm. That does not make it right nor does it make it better but what might constitute a crime today may have been just considered a ‘pass’ or ‘naughty behaviour’ a few decades ago.
And men make passes at women all the time. It is natural.
For instance: forty years ago a man might pat or pinch a woman’s bottom as she walked by. That might have been pushing the social envelope even then, but it seems to be an indictable offense today. Whether it was as bad or damaging as currently alleged by feminist politics is not the point – the point is social behaviours change. People change with them. Something viewed in retrospect misses the context. And context counts.
The longer the time interval the less credible the allegation. Another basic premise in law.
Mind you, rape is always rape. Child molestation was and always will be a crime. Some things have no statute of limitations. But sexual harassment does. Or should. Hell, there was not even such a term forty years ago. We have come a long way, baby!
Which brings me to my most contentious point:
By and large (although not so much today) men pursued women and women allowed themselves to be caught. Or not. Women attracted as many men as possible and then rejected the ones they didn’t want. It was the natural order of things. But what that meant was that an attractive woman would attract some (if not many) unwanted suitors and sometimes they were unwanted because they weren’t very nice. Society had norms and standards for that and sometimes even chaperons. The sexual ‘danger’ an attractive woman was in was well understood.
Muslim cultures even clothe women from head to toe in black blankets because of it.
But (here it is) why is it that men aren’t nice? Why did we and why do we still operate as if men are a danger?
Answer: because we are! Men are trying to get into the gene pool any way they can. It is natural. It is instinctive. It is the way men are wired. And some men try harder than they should or than is expected or wanted. Some go to unacceptable lengths. It is the way of us. ‘All men are pigs’ is an expression meaning simply that they are driven by their hormonal urges and, to a women, that can be and is a danger. It’s not nice but it is natural.
We may even deem it illegal and socially unacceptable a lot of the time but it is still mostly hormone-driven (yes, there are some guys who are just nuts). So the point…? Behaviour has to be regulated for a society to function but, perhaps, ruining a person (and their family) for succumbing to primal biological urges is an over reaction.
And ruining a person for an allegation is just plain wrong on every level.
Consider the justice or injustice being played out lately in Canada by our politically correct politicians (but this has been going on for decades in so many venues. One of the most memorable for me was the SFU coach who was accused by Rachel Marsden who then went on to accuse others of the same thing only to eventually be proven completely mad. She had a mental problem. Not them. But the men accused were ruined for a long time).
Ottawa: Two women were allegedly sexually assaulted some time in the past. It must have been horrible for them but they managed to recover to the extent that they have normal lives today and are even successful. They are so successful they are MPs in parliament. They are OK by societal standards – they have the votes to prove it. At some point they decide to tell their story but do not want to go public. They need to talk about it. Fair enough.
Justin Trudeau is told the story and decides (after consulting with senior lawyers in his cabinet) that if the allegations are true and he does not act, he will be vilified. So he literally ‘outs’ the accused MPs. He knew the difference between a political rock and a hard place but that is clearly all he knows. And he acted out of concern for himself – not on behalf of all women. Nor on behalf of justice or the accused. Nor on our behalf. In that way, he failed all of us except himself.
The two accused MPs are ruined. They have no forum in which to be heard. They have no one to appeal to. They are punished well beyond the scope of the alleged crime. We left them to be convicted by kangaroo courts.
Justice and the law have been rent asunder. Trudeau is ‘believing’ the words as they were told to him on a bus without the proof, without a trial, without the accused having a chance to defend. No cross examination. No hard questions.
And we, the people, are accepting of that? We who have tried to live within the law are accepting of some blatant kangaroo court conducted in the media!?
What the hell is wrong with us?
Part two. Some of the problem is that even I believe the allegations a bit. Why? Because ‘piggy’ behaviour is essentially part of the male human animal. Plus we seem to have a lot of such stories lately which may say something about the media as well. Mostly it speaks to the human condition – whether we like it or not.
Men have an XY chromosome and, if you read about it, the weird Y is a miserable little mess of things compared to the female X chromosome. Someone born with two X chromosomes is much more likely to behave like another 2X person than are two people with XY chromosomes. XYs are different because the Y’s are kinda whacked.
I know that the above can read like an apologist point of view and that it will be condemned roundly for seemingly condoning bad male behaviour. That is not the intention. The intention is to point out that bad male behaviour has been with us for a long, long time and it is – whether we like it or not – to some extent natural.
I have no idea why we weren’t created with a consent-first gene but we weren’t. I think we might be evolving to one as we continue to live (as a species). Or maybe there will always be bad boys trying to enter the gene pool without permission. I dunno.
But in the meantime, it seems only right that we at least adhere to the laws of the land as we allow some time for the species to evolve. If we don’t, we will be over run by kangaroos called Justin.