Sometimes It’s Just Bad Behavior

Sally Albright
Dec 1, 2017 · 3 min read

What if we said “Listen to Women” instead of “Believe Women”?

I see too many people saying we should let women accuse whoever they want and throw the book a them without any investigation or follow up.

No. Allegations should be investigated like any other crime. Women should always get the benefit of the doubt, but the doubt does not go unchallenged.

Does anyone really believe Kathleen Willey that Hillary was lurking in her bushes with her Secret Service detail to kidnap her cat? Sorry, we have to ask questions and use our brains. And the idea that Ken Starr somehow missed something is laughable. If she were remotely credible, she would be in the report.

A woman’s sexual history isn’t relevant, but if she’s accused other people in the past or has a financial relationship with someone’s political enemies, you have to explore the situation a bit further.

If we go to Defcon One over every smack on the ass, no one will take any of us seriously, and the serial predators will get away with it.

Boorish, loutish behavior, ogling and leering, bad manners, creepy comments, unwelcome advances, sloppy passes— all unpleasant, socially inappropriate behavior that should be called out, but none of that is criminal. If being kissed by a bad kisser constituted harassment, my press conference would go all night.

I see so many women struggling with the Franken thing, they want to “believe” this woman because they want to “believe women” — No, that’s not how this works. Of course you look at the big picture. When her own Twitter TL has evidence contradicting her story, it’s perfectly okay to stop believing her. If you ever did.

Let’s not fall into the trap of feeding the “hysteria” stereotype. We don’t want to lose our allies. Until things change, we still need help from people who have more power than we do.

The backlash is building. Everyone in DC is saying how smart Mike Pence is because now no one can “falsely accuse” him or “misinterpret” something. Being left out of social occasions where business gets done hurts women too.

Everyone remember the Friends episode where everyone in Rachel’s office would go for a smoke break and when they got back they had made all the decisions without her? It’s funny because it’s EXACTLY what happens.

This morning Mika was saying women shouldn’t go out socially with men, they should do business should be done at lunch or early dinner. That’s ludicrous.

In DC, and I’m sure it’s the same most places, women know we’ll have to tolerate certain behaviors in these settings. Of course we’d prefer not to, but we know it’s a trade off.

The alternative is to be left out completely. I don’t think anyone out there thinks that’s a better option, but that’s what my guy friends are openly discussing. No one is saying how creepy Mike Pence is anymore, they’re saying he’s a genius because he’s insulated himself from the potential for “false allegations”

And no, no one is excusing sexual assault, but when you’re talking about who grabbed whose ass 15 years ago or whether or when that kind attention crosses some invisible line, they’ve decided better safe than sorry. And being left out, being denied a seat at the table, that hurts women too.

Believing someone just because she’s a woman is no different than believing a man just because he’s a Republican. When a woman is clearly lying, we need to be the first ones to call her out, or at least point out inconsistency.

The Franken thing was tricky, but we did it right. We listened to her, we didn’t reject her or attack her because he’s ours. But when additional information came to light, we cried foul. It was clearly a setup designed to trap us in our own “believe all women” net. Out of respect for real survivors, and our elected officials, we can’t let them get away with it.

So let’s keep things in perspective. Sometimes bad behavior isn’t criminal, it’s just bad behavior. Our reactions have to be appropriate to the situation.


sal·ly (‘sa-lE) def. 1. To Rush Forward; to Leap and Dance 2. A Sudden Outburst; a Witticism; a Quip 3. A Venture Off the Beaten Path

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