Another day, another batch of sexual misconduct allegations . . .
I would put these into two categories:
- Allegations that should be adjudicated in a court of law, like rape and anything involving a person below the age of consent.
- Everything else: unwanted sexual advances, lewd remarks, etc.
In some states, like Alabama, the age of consent is 16, so a sexual advance aimed at a 16-year-old in Alabama would be in Category 2. A sexual advance toward a 14-year-old would be in Category 1, even in Alabama.
Regarding Category 1, I’m hearing things like “We went out for drinks, I invited him home and he raped me, and then on a later occasion, we went out for drinks again and I invited him home and he raped me again.” Or “I went home with him, he raped me, I spent the night, and we had consensual sex the next morning.”
If women are going on second dates with rapists and having consensual sex with rapists, I’m not sure I even know what rape is anymore. In any case, rape allegations should be addressed in a court of law. Due process, appropriate remedies, etc.
(As an aside, I hope it’s not out of line in a blame-the-victim way to say that if I had a daughter, I’d advise her not to go to someone’s home, apartment, hotel room, frat house bedroom — i.e., any place where there will be no independent witnesses — unless you’re confident that you can handle anything that might happen there. Actually, as I read that over, it seems like good advice for sons as well.)
Is there any way to know ahead of time if a sexual advance is wanted or unwanted? Even with your wife or girlfriend, you don’t always know, right? You could ask — e.g., “Can I kiss you?” — but even that’s a sexual advance, isn’t it?
If having made an unwanted advance or lewd remark at any time within the last 40 years is a crime, we’ll all hang side by side. And not just the men. It’s gonna be a swingin’ party!
You might say that I don’t really understand the female point of view on this topic. But the targets are not all female . . .
When I heard a man report that Kevin Spacey “forcefully put his hand on my genitals,” I thought “So apply a forceful rejoinder to his genitals. That should clear the air.”
Al Franken grabbed my ass at the state fair 10 years ago.
I’m not a fan of Al Franken as a comedian or as a senator, but why are incidents like this worthy of national attention?
We’ve all had hands on our genitals, hands on other people’s genitals, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and gratification. We all have conflicts, impulses, disappointments . . . things happen that we don’t like.
We act on impulses sometimes in ways that are clumsy, crude, inelegant, insensitive . . .
Again, let’s adjudicate the Category 1 cases in the courthouse, but with no sexual advances, there’s no sex. An advance is made, accepted or declined. Let’s move on.