#HimToo is a blatant attempt to silence sexual assault survivors
Over the course of the past year or so, we’ve seen the meteoric ascent of the political and cultural phenomenon known as #MeToo, where survivors of sexual assault have come forward with details concerning their experiences with said crime. The allegations put forth have gone far and wide, involving celebrities like Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey, political figures like Roy Moore and Al Franken, and, most recently, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. While most believe and support the survivors of such a heinous crime, there is a mostly male group of individuals claiming to be vulnerable to false accusations of sexual assault, which in turn is impeding their ability to pursue and remain in committed relationships.
The proponents of this #HimToo movement claim that many individuals, mostly men, could potentially have their lives and careers ruined over false accusations of sexual misconduct. Recently, this counter-movement of sorts has gained a great deal of traction during the Senate Confirmation hearings of now Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Advocates of #HimToo and supporters of then-Judge Kavanaugh claimed that the numerous allegations of misconduct from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were nothing more than a smear campaign directed at stopping Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. On a more comedic note, the mother of 32-year-old Navy Veteran Pieter Hanson tweeted what appeared to be a politically-charged diatribe against the very idea of speaking out about one’s experiences of sexual assault, including with it the hashtag “#HimToo.” The tweet, written in a rather sensationalist manner, , “This is MY son. He graduated #1 in boot camp. He was awarded the USO award. He was #1 in A school. He is a gentleman who respects women. He won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo.”
With the mention of “radical feminists” and the reference to cases of sexual assault as a “climate,” one must wonder: does the #HimToo movement actually exist as something more than a means of defending individuals who have been falsely accused of sexual assault? Do these “counter protests” have legitimate talking points, or do they exist as nothing more than an angry, prejudiced backlash to a prominent social change movement? To best answer these questions, one need only look at other activism movements in this age of a deeply polarized nation, and their responses, or “counter protests” so to speak.
One particularly well-known and understood protest movement is Black Lives Matter, which takes a stand against extrajudicial police killings of African Americans and institutional racism in the United States. While this seemingly benevolent movement has garnered its fair share of praise and support, there is a marginalized group of individuals calling the practices and views of BLM misplaced and bigoted in their own right. These people interpret the movement itself to be anti-white and biased against other ethnic and racial groups’ struggles. The battle cry of this counter-movement is the phrase “All Lives Matter,” which eliminates the specificness of “Black Lives Matter,” and, from a first glance, appears to be a more inclusive version of BLM. However, scrutiny of this phrase shows an underlying, intentional ignorance of the atrocities being committed against many young African Americans. While the phrase “All Lives Matter” technically is more inclusive, it appears to outright ignore these pressing issues. One can imagine the meaning of the phrase “All Lives Matter” in the form of an analogy: imagine that there are two houses standing right next to each other. One of the houses happens to be on fire, and the other one is not. When the one house is engulfed in flames, the appropriate response is to call the fire department and address this potentially life-threatening issue directly, as opposed to simply sitting idly by with the sentiment that all houses matter. Obviously the structural integrity of all inhabitable houses is important, but when there is something directly threatening to destroy an entire home, the house on fire must be addressed quickly and directly. Similarly, to support all lives matter is to intentionally ignore the aforementioned struggles African Americans face. With this logic in mind, we can directly analyze the real motive behind #HimToo, and understand exactly why supporting this movement is inherently problematic.
While being falsely accused of sexual assault and potentially having one’s life and career ruined as a result is indeed a terrible thing to experience and should be addressed, the logic presented by All Lives Matter, shows that #HimToo resides in ignorance. At no point has anyone involved in #HimToo taken the experiences and testimonies of survivors of sexual assault into account. In addition, the number of false allegations of sexual assault that are serious enough go to trial is exceptionally small . When one is sexually assaulted, he or she is robbed of all his or her sense of bodily comfort, dignity and security. To weaponize such feelings and experiences is no easy task at all, and in fact would likely hurt the victim more than the accused.
Now, it can be concluded that #HimToo is nothing more that a method of attempting to politicize and pervert the message of #MeToo, a movement devoted to giving those without a voice the ability to speak out about their experiences and hopefully alleviate the trauma associated with being sexually assaulted.