Imagine a gender-equal world in which both men and women are held to the same harsh standards of responsibility that now apply to men only. In such a world, I contend, the current crop of years-delayed #MeToo accusers would face execution as traitors to humanity, and their fate would be considered just.
#MeToo is a widespread wave of accusations of sexual impropriety, many of them years or even decades old, being leveled against men (and rarely, women). The alleged perpetrators of these crimes are only now facing summary punishment in the court of public opinion for crimes, and even non-criminal behaviors, that are alleged, unproven, and lack any evidence or due process of law.
A lot of recent articles suggest that there will be a backlash to #MeToo – that men will shy away from women, or that companies will demur from hiring women because hiring a woman is the same as signing up for a losing lawsuit when she inevitably claims sexual harassment when a male coworker tells her “good morning” in too cheerful a tone. See here, here, and here. One feminist even suggested that companies be forced to pay multi-million dollar fines when a male employee is accused, accurately or not, of offending a woman.
In law, delaying or failing to report a dangerous sexual predator might well be called “depraved indifference” to the risk to others (in the mildest of cases), and charges like “harboring a criminal” or even “conspiracy” or “misprision” become tenable. The definition of “misprision” is “the deliberate concealment of one’s knowledge of a treasonable act or a felony.” In his much-maligned article on libidinal brutality, Stephen Marche disparaged men who overlooked second-hand (hearsay) accounts of sexual impropriety. Covering up a first-hand eyewitness account of a man criminally complimenting a women has to be an order of magnitude worse of an offense than merely ignoring a possible specious account of the same.
In the military, the failure to report or respond to an enemy threat can be punishable by death. For example, consider the case of Jack Dunn, who was sentenced to death for falling asleep while on guard duty. In Dunn’s case, no enemy attacked and no loss of life or material was associated with his negligence. Dunn had lots of excuses – he had just returned to duty after an injury and was filling in for another soldier for the second straight night. None of this mattered – Dunn was still sentenced to die.
The cases of the delayed #MeToo harpies are arguably much, much worse than Dunn’s nodding off. Their failure to report resulted in sexual predators being unchecked, possibly for decades, compared to Dunn, whose negligence harmed no one in an actual, practical sense. Dunn’s sentence was designed to keep other soldiers on their toes, protecting everyone in their military purview. In contrast, a woman who fails to immediately report a sexual assault arguably places every other woman around her at risk from the predator that is known to her and, perhaps, her alone. As with Dunn, no excuse should matter – neither her exhaustion, nor fragility, however poignant, are relevant excuses, just as Dunn’s exhaustion and recent combat injuries were of no matter in his fate.
If a sentence of death is called for in Dunn’s case, it is more than justified in the case of, say, Rose McGowan, who took a cash settlement to cover up the sexual peccadilloes of Harvey Weinstein twenty years ago, allowing Weinstein, allegedly, to continue his sexual reign of terror for two decades. Executing McGowan would send a clear message that covering up sex criminals for cash should not, and will not, be tolerated in a gender-equal society.
If we are serious about gender equality, fighting sex crimes, and punishing those who cover them up – and we should be serious about all of that – then a woman who puts other women at actual risk (by squelching timely reports of a sexual predator) should face execution as a consequence of her avarice or cowardice, just like a male soldier always has been for the crime of neglecting the welfare of others.
In the US, all men, at age 18, are required to register for the military draft, regardless of their victim status. Women should be compelled to face the same legal responsibilities, and associated penalties, for covering up crimes, even when they are the alleged victims of those crimes. When it comes to protecting society from criminals, THAT would be gender equality – the gender equality that all feminists always seek to prohibit and destroy.
Is calling for justice a backlash? Of course not, and if you want men to regain trust in women, this would be a great first step. Of course, we will require other concessions, as well.