“Me too” has passed, but in its wake, more and more women are publicly accusing powerful men of sexual assault.
2017 being what it is, there are no good guys, left or right. We elected an open sexual predator to lead our country in the paths of goodness and grace, and now republican hero Roy Moore is (please God) on his way out; but Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK are beloved of the left, and they too are guilty as hell. Vox, ABC news and NPR are yielding up their pigs. The Atlantic has suddenly noticed that Bill Clinton is super guilty, and so is everyone who made excuses for him.
So, that’s new. We can no longer pretend that it’s only the deviant left or the hypocritical right who harbor sex predators. It’s everywhere. It’s everyone. And that makes it harder to cling to the old binary political fairytales of good us vs. evil them.
One thing hasn’t changed, though. When a woman comes forward and says she’s been assaulted, we can still come together as a country and tell her it’s all her fault. I wrote this essay back in 2014, at the height of the Bill Cosby scandal, and was discouraged, if not surprised, to see how few edits were necessary to make it relevant today.
Here is what I have learned about sexual assault:
- If you tell the police you’ve been sexually assaulted, it’s because you’re looking for attention. You should file a civil suit, instead.
- If you file a civil suit, it’s because you’re looking for money, and are not telling the truth.
- If you don’t file a civil suit, that shows you don’t have a case, and are not telling the truth.
- If you tell someone right away, that shows suspicious presence of mind, and proves that you engineered the whole thing to embarrass the alleged perpetrator.
- If you don’t tell anyone right away, that shows a suspicious lack of urgency, and proves that you are making up the story for no reason other than to embarrass the alleged perpetrator.
- If you don’t file a civil suit, it shows that you don’t need the money and are just doing it for attention, because people love the kind of fabulous attention they get when they accuse someone of sexual assault, especially if that person is popular or powerful.
- If you do file a civil suit, it shows that you’re such a gold digger, you don’t mind getting all the horrible attention that no victim in her right mind would want to get, especially if the alleged perpetrator is popular or powerful.
- If you’re the only one who accuses someone of sexual assault, it shows that your story is unbelievable.
- If lots of other people make similar accusations, that is suspiciously orchestrated, and shows that your story is unbelievable.
- If you were in the same room with the person who sexually assaulted you, that shows that you are just as guilty as he is, because you’re in the same room with a sexual predator, and who would do that?
- If the person you’re accusing of sexual assault is rich, famous, or powerful, then that shows that you’re just looking for attention, and it never happened.
- If the person you’re accusing of sexual assault is rich, famous, and powerful, that shows that you should have known he is a sexual predator, and you wanted it to happen.
- If you tell someone right away, they will assume you’re lying.
- If you don’t tell anyone right away, they will assume you’re lying, because you didn’t tell anyone right away.
If you tell, that’s a count against you. If you don’t tell, that’s a count against you. If you speak alone, that’s a count against you. If you speak as one of a crowd, that’s a count against you. If you sue, that’s a count against you. If you don’t sue, that’s a count against you.
If you tell someone that you’ve been sexually assaulted, it probably didn’t actually happen the way you said, and even if it did, it was your fault in some way, and you should have realized that it would happen, and there is no particular reason anyone should believe you, and if you think the rape itself was painful and humiliating, just wait till you see what you’ve got coming next, when you try to tell someone.
So why didn’t you tell someone sooner?
Clearly, because it didn’t happen. There can be no other explanation.
Here’s a recent tweet from Dinesh D’Souza:
And he’s answered his own question. If she was really sexually assaulted, why didn’t she come forward sooner?
This is why. What he said. When a victim does come forward, she is assaulted all over again.
This is what I’ve learned. If you’ve been sexually assaulted, your only real recourse is not to have been sexually assaulted. Anything and everything you do from that moment forward is evidence against you. The deck is stacked against you as a victim because you are a victim. They very moment you even breathe the phrase “sexual assault,” that’s evidence in the minds of many that no such thing happened, and anyway it was your fault.
So tell me. What is a victim of sexual assault supposed to do, in order to be believed? What? You tell me.