Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court reignited a national debate about sexual assault, with Republicans crying “due process” and “innocent until proven guilty” and Democrats pointing out the statistics regarding how rare false rape accusations really are.
A false rape accusation can ruin a man’s life, and we shouldn’t complete disregard the occurrence as something that “never” happens.
But it doesn’t happen to men like Kavanaugh.
It happens to boys like the Central Park Five. It happens to boys like the 9-year-old a woman accused of assault at a corner grocery store in New York. It happens to boys like Emmett Till. To Kill A Mockingbird has an entire trial revolving around this very subject.
It is the height of cynicism to take these examples and apply them to men like Kavanaugh and Trump and Clinton and anyone of that ilk. Because there is something those boys and men have in common that Kavanaugh and Trump don’t: they don’t have any power to fight it. And they look a certain way that makes society already deem them criminal without their vaunted due process.
There is an ugly history in this country of assuming black men sexually prey on white women without any evidence whatsoever. Kavanaugh knows it. Lindsey Graham knows it. Chuck Grassley knows it. (Trump probably doesn’t know this because he is very dumb.) To apply the pain these men have gone through to someone like Kavanaugh — who will never ever ever be in a position where he can’t buy his way out of the consequences for his actions — is revolting.
This is not to say white men have not been falsely accused of rape. But the white men who are falsely accused of such a thing are poor or are intellectually impaired. They did not go to Georgetown Prep. They did not inherit half a billion dollars from their fathers through tax fraud.
Don’t dismiss the pain of wrongful imprisonment for a false rape accusation. But don’t believe a rich white men who claims this either — they are not the ones vulnerable to such accusations.
Featured image: The Central Park 5 (Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana)