This year saw social media bolster fake news and Trumpism. But what is salvaging social media, for me, is #MeToo. The stories I know are not mine to tell. But I have seen how resistant powerful men are to any sort of accountability, sexual or otherwise.
I know that a lot of people feel nervous that innocent men will be pilloried with false charges of sexual harassment. I believe all people, victimized and abuser, need due process.
But what is happening is a kind of glasnost. I want a world where women know they can speak of sexual violence against them without the assumption that it is their fault.
Innocent women have been violated, their careers terminated, and their lives ruined. That’s the status quo: to be a woman means to be at risk. Conservatively, one in four women have been raped.
I want predators to experience fear; most of the men assaulting women are repeat offenders.
But I think change can be frightening. How far will it go? Social media itself can be frightening. We’ve all seen, throughout the election cycle, that people on social media are more mob than jury.
In spite of all that, I believe men who don’t actually physically sexually harass women have little to fear at this point.
It is scary because people do make things up. (Though falsification is far, far less common than people make it out to be.) But if we open the door and admit the possibility of true allegations, some false ones will enter, too. That’s bad, because no innocent person deserves to be punished. And that’s why due process is so crucial.
But what is worse was our previous culture of impunity for harassers. Most harassment comes from repeat offenders. Let’s hold those men accountable and address the risks women have always faced, rather than hold back in fear for what men might face under a possible miscarriage of justice.
What is more Christian than justice for the oppressed and victimized? This is part of what the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles stood for. And so what if we men are risking something. Justice never comes without risk. As Christians (or as good men) it is a privilege to be made accountable. It is in holding ourselves accountable that predators, too, are held to account.