In the Balance

Hollywood, big business, national news personalities – no one and no institutions have been spared from the #Metoo movement. That is a good thing. These institutions have been exposed for what they are—elitist organizations or industries that use power, fame and money in the most heinous way possible. 

The people in these industries and organizations protect and enable each other in a way that is the height of hypocrisy. Some of the perpetrators are criminals. Some are just creeps. In either case, the fact that they have been exposed is leading to a cultural revolution that can only mean better and more equal times for women. As the father of two teenage daughters, I applaud this.

But let’s us not belittle and demean the women who have been subjected to this type of behavior from men by cheapening it to the point that the die is cast so wide as to lose all meaning. I read this quote and I believe it to be on point. I wrote it down but forgot where I read it or who wrote it.

We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in the place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.

So while some of these men deserve what they are getting plus some, including criminal investigations, it is possible that some do not. As one observer pointed out in the case of comedian Aziz Ansari who was accused of sexual assault by a woman who pursued him and then went on a date with him – “Was it sexual assault or just a bad date.” Ansari and his representatives maintain that everything that occurred was consensual. Who will ever know for sure?

In the balance lies the struggle between justice for women and due process for those accused; perception and reality; creepiness and criminal conduct; exploitation by men and exploitation by women looking for an angle.

Most of what has been reported on publicly and the national news is revolting and disgusting. Much of the abuse has been committed by men against women who they have influence on or over. As I said, much of it may rise to criminal activity which is what it is, in spite of the statute of limitations for sexual assault.

But then there is this vast area of grey where signals and interpretations are often in the eye of the beholder. Rough justice is ok sometimes. There’s something innately human about it. But we are still a country based on the rule of law. While there are exceptions, our system of justice works most of the time and we remain the most progressive democracy in the history of the world. So the legalities will take care of themselves. Most of the time one party or both is dissatisfied but, on balance, it works.

The other half of the equation is not about the law but about fairness, and careers and livelihoods. Some of the #Metoo perpetrators deserve to have their careers wrecked. Some of their victims may never receive real justice just as some of the accused may have not fully deserve the repercussions.

As a society and as a culture, we must take care to try to get it right. It is not easy. But the effort must be made, in all circumstances, to get to the truth. 

 

Michael Sarafa is Co-publisher of the Chaldean News.