Op-Ed: How the Democrats killed ‘believe all women’
Category: News & PoliticsVia: jasper2529 • last year • 13 comments
By: By Catherine Cherkasky, for USA Today
In early October 2018, amid the hysteria surrounding the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, I wrote an opinion piece for USA TODAY questioning the wisdom of the “believe all women” rhetoric that many cited in condemning Justice Kavanaugh, without any critical analysis of the allegation against him.
Less than two years later, the biggest proponents of this movement at the time of the Kavanaugh hearing seem to be backtracking on its logic.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has been plagued by allegations ranging from not respecting personal space to unwanted touching, culminating now with an allegation of actual sexual assault by a former Senate aide named Tara Reade. The debate, as with Kavanaugh, is whether this assault actually happened. But the analysis this go-round is quite different.
According to the traditional logic, there is automatically enough evidence to believe the Reade allegation and to destroy Biden’s career as a result. On its face, this case should be a straightforward application of the “believe all women” approach.
But the calculus has suddenly changed now that it is a Democrat on the receiving end. Many in the movement have traditionally interpreted the noble goal of eradicating sexual violence from our society to mean that you must “believe all women.” Now, those same people are backtracking on their own advice.
One of them, actress Alyssa Milano, famously tweeted in 2017, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet” — and caused the movement to go viral.
This month, Milano revisited the topic to explain her self-described “silence” over the sexual assault allegations against Biden. “I just don’t feel comfortable throwing away a decent man that I’ve known for 15 years in this time of complete chaos without there being a thorough investigation,” she said in a SiriusXM interview.
And that is precisely the point. No one — not Kavanaugh, and not Biden — deserves a snap judgment determination of guilt based solely upon the word of an accuser without a “thorough investigation” yielding some form of corroboration. This is an obvious truth that people like Milano have chosen to ignore until it served them, politically or otherwise.
As a criminal defense attorney specializing in sexual assault defense — and a former federal special victims’ prosecutor of these same cases — I can assure you that corroboration is key to any claim of sexual assault, particularly one in which there is a delayed report. On the topic of corroboration, then, Reade’s allegation is far and away the stronger of the two. She presents a plausible narrative of sexual assault compared with Christine Blasey Ford’s more fantastical allegation against Kavanaugh.
I am not writing this, however, to convince one way or another about the truth of Reade’s allegation. I am writing this solely in an effort to persuade all of us to respectfully and critically analyze any claim of sexual misconduct before leaping to judgment, particularly when the consequences of such an allegation have extremely far-reaching implications for people’s careers and lives.
I am writing this also because I am truly shocked at the brazen hypocrisy I have seen with respect to Reade’s allegation. It is not enough for some people to suggest that they “do not know” whether Reade’s allegation is true. Instead, the very same individuals who “stood with Christine Blasey Ford” and “believed her,” despite all logical evidence to the contrary, now declare that they are all but certain Reade (a woman with a decidedly more corroborated allegation of sexual assault) is a liar. Simply and obviously because, if true, her allegation threatens the nomination of their preferred presidential candidate.Catherine Cherkasky is a veteran, former special victims prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney who specializes in sexual assault defense.