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Brett Kavanaugh, Rape, Justice, Sexual Predator, Supreme CourtDear Men,

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of pinning a 15-year-old girl to a mattress, forcibly trying to remove her clothing, and covering her mouth to stop her from screaming—while his friend watched and laughed.

According to his peers, fellow graduates of Yale, young Brett Kavanaugh was an angry blackout drunk who was questioned by police after a bar fight. If you wouldn’t trust your 15-year-old daughter alone with 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, you probably shouldn’t trust him with the breathtaking power of the U.S. Supreme Court.

But the controversial allegations will never be disproven because the GOP is more concerned with power than justice—power of men over women, power of rich white men over everyone.

For survivors of sexual assault, justice is rare

Perhaps justice suffers because the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh are grotesque, too outlandish to be real. But isn’t rape always? In 2016, two men were accused of gang raping a 13-year-old girl with their brothers and cousins. Last spring, they were sentenced to intensive probation.

It’s a gross miscarriage of justice for the rape of a young girl by men who were having a good time with their friends and family. Does it sound familiar, eerily like Christine Ford’s sworn testimony that as Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her and his friend watched, the two laughed and laughed?

For some men, sexual assault is fun. Just friends having a good time.

And it happens everyday. Although rape is common, every 98 seconds another American is sexually assaulted, justice is rare.

Out of every 1,000 rapes, only 6 rapists will be incarcerated.

Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in before we move on.

Consent is more than letting go of a woman who’s screaming no, desperately trying to fight you off, or worse, didn’t bother because she’s too scared. If your sexual partner has to scream no, struggle, or just lay there until it’s over, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. You crossed a line that can never be uncrossed, in a way that is, perhaps, unforgivable.

Whether you’re longtime partners or met 10 minutes ago, sex should be a joyful act between individuals above the age of consent. Like my buddy always says, “It’s not fun unless we’re both having fun.”

Participation should be willing and enthusiastic, with no threat of retribution for withdrawal of consent. If you think that’s too high a bar for every man every time, ask yourself one question: how many people do I want to rape?

Sexual predators and the Supreme Court

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had more conversations with men about rape than in the entire rest of my life combined. Some men are as angry as I am about the Senate hearing and farcical FBI investigation. To them, I say thank you.

The GOP is desperate to appoint an alleged serial sexual predator to the Supreme Court so he can take away women’s right to abortion and unwind 60 years of social progress.

That progress has been depressingly and unacceptably limited for some, such as the black community. But under a conservative Supreme Court majority, with a man who’s presented clear evidence of bias against the Democratic Party, it’s going to get worse. I promise to stand with you to the best of my ability.

Little has changed since 1991, when Anita Hill testified before an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee about the sexual harassment she endured when Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was her supervisor. Despite credible evidence he sexually harassed a series of women, Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court.

When Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is approved by the GOP, he will be the second justice who is a likely sexual predator. For those who are keeping track, that means 1/3 of men on the Supreme Court will be likely sexual predators. We’ll never know for sure, because the men in power never bothered to find out.

A good man?

When men talk about Brett Kavanaugh, I mostly hear anger based on fear that a good man’s life can be ruined by a single false rape accusation.

Hopefully you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. False rape accusations are rare, and in line with false claims for other types of crimes. Studies show approximately 2%-10% of rape accusations are false. Most of those never make it to court, because most rape allegations don’t get prosecuted.

That a good man’s life can be ruined by a single rape accusation is a dubious hypothesis. Consider the following:

  • Bill Cosby drugged and raped women for decades while enjoying a reputation as the most wholesome man in comedy. He’ll spend, at most, a few years in prison.
  • Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful film producers in Hollywood, assaulted women and stunted their careers to fulfill his own sick needs. He has yet to spend a single day in jail after posting $1 million bond, a price he could afford thanks to the actresses he abused and the men who ignored his crimes.
  • President Bill Clinton was one of the most powerful men in the world despite multiple allegations of sexual assault.
  • Woody Allen allegedly sexually abused Mia Farrow’s biological daughter then married her adopted daughter. I bet you still watch his movies.
  • Rock and roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year-old cousin. The egregious act hurt but did not end his career.
  • R. Kelly illegally married 15-year-old Aaliyah, and allegedly abused a series of young women, including another 15-year-old girl.
  • Despite multiple witnesses to his assault of an unconscious woman, Brock Turner was only sentenced to 6 months in jail because the judge didn’t want to ruin his life. I guess he thought little of the victim’s future.
  • An Alaskan man kidnapped, strangled, and masturbated over the unconscious body of a woman. The judge’s sentence called for no jail time.

Good men are not ruined when women come forward about sexual assault. Unfortunately, even gross sexual misconduct doesn’t always ruin an evil man’s life.

“Boys will be boys” hurts men too

Men, when society talks about Brett Kavanaugh, it’s talking about you.

“Boys will be boys,” they say, likening sexual assault to original sin—a fundamental flaw that can be overcome, but only through constant internal struggle. In other words, “Men gotta rape. They can’t help it. It’s their nature.”

You’re better than that. My boyfriend, my friends, they’re better than that. Some of my male friends are among the most sensitive, intelligent creatures I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. It does every man a disservice to blame the actions of the few on all men.

Next time you hear, “Boys will be boys,” do yourself a favor and correct the fallacy. You’re better than that.

About Penelope Strange