Sunday, September 30, 2018

Questions

I see lots of people asserting that they believe Christine Blasey Ford, PhD. Many of them are making that assertion with hashtags like #IBelieveDrFord or #IBelieveChristineBlasey Ford. I feel compelled to ask them certain questions, not to be snarky but because I am genuinely curious about what the answers are:

In 2006, did you believe Crystal Mangum when she accused Duke lacrosse players of raping her?

In 2014, did you believe Jackie Coakley when she accused fraternity brothers at the University of Virginia of raping her and of being part of a campus-wide "rape culture"?

In 2014, did you believe Emma Sulkowicz when she drummed up publicity by dragging a mattress around Columbia University to signify that she had been raped by her classmate Paul Nungesser?

Since each of the above allegations turned out to be entirely false, can you understand why it at least might be a good idea to withhold judgment on Ford's allegation about Brett Kavanaugh?

Did you believe Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, and Leslie Millwee when they accussed Bill Clinton of sexual harassment? And did you believe Juanita Broaddrick when she accused him of rape?

Did it bother you when Clinton and his cronies responded to the above accusations by portraying the women as lying trailer park trash? Does it bother you that Hillary Clinton was actively involved in portraying them that way, even though she had many reasons to believe they were telling the truth, and even though she knew the portrayal would damage them?

Do you believe in the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(especially Articles 11 and 14, respectively)

Do you know about the not-uncommon neuropsychological phenomenon of false memories?

Do you know that because of false memories, innocent people have gone to prison because their accusers -- who genuinely believed the accusations even though they were wrong -- seemed "credible" and "moving" when speaking?

Do you know that in cases where false memories have sent people to prison who were later proved innocent by DNA or improved forensics, the accusers have then experienced severe emotional trauma after realizing that they ruined an innocent person's life?

Does it give you pause that none of the people Ford named as being at the 1982 party have backed her up?

Does it give you pause that not one person other than Ford has said that Ford and Kavanaugh even knew each other, or even met each other?

Ford and Kavanaugh were both rich kids who went to expensive prep schools in the DC area. During her sworn testimony on Thursday, Ford described hers only as "an all-girls school" while describing Kavanaugh's as "an elitist all-boys school" (emphasis mine). Do those differing characterizations strike you as curious, if not outright deceptive?

Does it give you pause that even though Ford was not cross-examined during her Thursday testimony, that testimony still brought to light the fact that she was knowingly involved in telling at least one major falsehood (specifically, about fear of flying) after her accusation went public?

Does it bother you that during her Thursday testimony, she alleged -- without corroboration and without being asked to elaborate -- that her friend who contradicted her did so because she (the friend) suffered a fit of mental illness while giving the contradictory statement?

If a conservative woman accused a liberal man of a violent crime, and named one of her personal friends as a witness... but then that friend gave a statement that did not support the accusation, and the conservative waved off the non-support by claiming the friend suffered some kind of mental problem... would you accept the conservative's zig-zagging claims at face value, or would you be somewhere between skeptical and dismissive?

U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, a Democrat, is currently running to be attorney general of Minnesota. He has been accused, with third-party corroboration, of physically and emotionally abusing his girlfriend Karen Monahan two years ago, not 36 years ago. Are you willing you to opine on social media about these charges while using a hashtag that says #IBelieveKarenMonahan or #StopEllisonProtectWomen?

Do you believe allegations that somebody committed a crime should be evaluated based on the actual evidence, or simply on the words of the person doing the alleging?

Do you know that between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,743 documented lynchings in this country -- an average of more than one per week, almost all of them by white citizens against black citizens -- and a very large percentage of them occurred because somebody who "seemed credible" said she had been raped by someone?

If you answered yes to the above, do you think that racism alone is the reason for all those lynchings, or do you think it's possible that something in human nature has always known that rape is a magic bullet accusation, one that is likely to cause other people to put aside any concern for evidence, proof, and the rights of the accused? Do you think it's possible that because people know rape is a magic bullet accusation, it is the one they tend to make about a person they oppose, no matter what reason they oppose him (or her)?

Given the long and deadly history of human prejudice and false rape allegations being intertwined (see above), do you believe that when rape is alleged, we should take care to be even more certain than usual to make sure the allegations are true before we decide who we should believe?

Do you believe that because rape is evil, falsely accusing someone of rape while knowing your accusation to be false is also evil? And in the case of false memories, do you believe that innocently but still falsely accusing someone of rape is a deep human tragedy that destroys the lives of many innocent people, including the accused, his family, his friends, and even the accuser if she eventually learns the truth?

Note #1:  I do not believe the accusations against Keith Ellison. I am agnostic about them, because in my opinion the third-party corroboration of them is flimsy. I brought them up only to illustrate the hypocrisy of those who are fit to be tied over the Ford-Kavanaugh story.

Note #2:  Many thanks to a friend from high school, who on a Facebook comment mentioned the link between lynchings and false rape allegations. This blog post was finished and ready to publish, and then I read her comment this morning and decided to add some remarks about that topic before I published this.