The Slippery Slope of Blind Faith Accuser Belief
In the last year, we as the general public, have watched and participated in a wide swing of the pendulum as it relates to sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse towards women. The arm has swung from the extreme cases of disbelief of the women that raised allegations, as they have made the choice to come forward. This disbelief was the “standard” in both the courtroom and the media, and now we observe the trend of the pendulum to move to the other extreme side of “believing under any circumstances”. Neither is correct and neither fills the requirements of justice.
As a woman and a lifelong feminist, individuals such as Trump disgust and nauseate me. The idea that because someone has money and power, they have their own self-developed ideology that they can do or say whatever they want to another individual goes beyond revile. As women, we have seen this before, in fact from an early age we are warned about these types of people. We have also witnessed how the press and the law have treated women that have tried to come forward to tell their stories, shaking our heads and knowing that people such as Trump will simply ruin their lives. But what has been the worst of all is that sixteen women have had the strength to step forward, often without any actual “proof” of their accusations, and the American people still voted this horrid orange Voldemort into office.
It seems that even though absolute proof in the way of videos and recordings regarding the sexist attitudes of Trump and his assault on women weren’t important to American voters; that somehow all sixteen women were lying and they chose to believe a man that has a long history of being a lying snake oil salesman. This is an example of the pendulum that existed on the one extreme side of a misogynistic society that was accustomed to being led by men. It allowed men to get away with treating women as objects and mistreating them in sexual ways that are appalling. The topics themselves quietly moved into the shadows after the so-called “election” and while some continued to try to bring it to the forefront, the media mostly ignored it as they chased more ratings-worth storylines.
But Now the Pendulum is at Another Extreme
If we know little else about our society, we know that when it comes to things that are “trending”, people will buy into them without question. There are some topics such as sexual assault and abuse that should never have had to be trending to come to the forefront, but such is the way of our world. Thanks to the #MeToo movement, more women felt empowered to add their voices and the sheer numbers astounded both women and men. This long needed campaign had a curious effect on the way that people view sexual accusations. Instead of the previous deny-and-doubt, it has transitioned to believe-anything-and-everything that an accuser has to say.
While many women that have suffered silently and call themselves “survivors” are breathing a sigh of relief, this is a very dangerous path to walk as it opens the doors for those that want to take advantage of the new social pendulum. Recognizing this condition is something that only a few are doing and when they raise a voice of question, they are attacked. This is a reverse attack of the past, where the negatives about the women themselves was the focus and now anyone that sees something not quite right, a hidden agenda or a potential alliance with those whose sole purpose is to cause the accused harm, is thrown to the wolves.
Neither extreme side of the pendulum is correct. Blind belief of any type does not serve a justice that is deserved. But as our society is questioning exactly what to do, we are left knowing in our heart of hearts that it often comes down to “she said, he said”.
I have worked in marketing and advertising and have been complaining about, no actually yelling about objectification for over twenty years. Each time I see a print, online or television ad that objectifies women, my inner feminist has screamed. Having worked in a male-dominated field, most of the men around me simply rolled their eyes and said “there she goes again.” But this is an essential reason why our society has placed a strong belief in what a male states and demeaned the statements of women. As women are presented as objects they take on a second class citizen aspect and as women adopt these attitudes of acceptance it is assumed that women also adopt a perception that their word is of lesser value. This is a subliminal message that infiltrates into every aspect of our being. We are surrounded by a constant barrage and whether people think it makes a difference or not, it does. Brainwashing works.
Human beings are sexual creatures. It is part of our survival tactics and a drive that is included in our DNA. People want to be perceived as attractive based on the measurements of their culture and part of our inner tribe mentality pushes both men and women to make whatever changes they need to be attractive to others. But unlike the technologies that have catapulted us into an advanced state of being, American attitudes towards sexuality are archaic and adolescent, many of which are based on various religious beliefs.
There is, however, a line that is crossed when you transition any gender into the belief that they are objects that are designed solely for the pleasure and use of others. Anyone that makes a loud cry to bring attention to this is quickly laughed at or referred to as “cold or sexually frustrated”. The reality of it is that from the time we are children, the message is sent that women are of lesser value and, as objects, men have the right to not only take advantage of them, but make decisions about their very bodies. Women that have grown up in the indoctrination of this type of environment readily accept a patriarchal ruling over them. This has not only allowed sexual abuse and attacks, it has encouraged it.
Blind Belief Wreaks Havoc
One of the interesting things to note is that this newer pendulum swing to believing any accuser is that it is also a social acceptance of the guilt of not believing in the past. This can be compared to a knee-jerk response, recognizing that many participated in something that they are ashamed of and are making amends by suddenly believing everyone that comes forward. For those that have devoted their lives to working with women that have been sexually abused or attacked, they are eagerly welcoming this new pendulum side as they have witnessed the horrors. But there is a problem with this wide swing, and it is just as bad as the past denial of any woman that stepped forward to claim abuse: it obscures the potential of foul play and leaves no room to ask the question: is she telling the truth?
This question is incredibly important because if the men that are being accused are innocent, then they will never have the opportunity to clear themselves and it will turn around and destroy their lives and families.
Is the pent up anger that many of us have felt due to sexual assault or aggression worth the destruction of someone’s life that may be a pawn in someone else’s power game? Are we so filled with a sense of revenge that we are willing to do to them what was done to us? For the first time, men are currently feeling the lash of vulnerability, knowing that anyone that accuses them of any form of sexual impropriety will be considered as the truthsayer.
This is not being addressed to appease a state in which we simply don’t want to believe that someone we looked up to could have such abhorrent behavior, it is a realization that we should be focusing on the very truth of justice that our country is founded on.
The conversation that we should be having needs to be led by men with other men. There is a need to open the dialogue to reveal the antiquated perception of women as beneath or lesser than is no longer acceptable. It needs to include the fact that women are not objects and to begin requiring change to the marketing and media that indoctrinates young boys and girls.
Blind belief on either side of the pendulum serves no one.