Leftists Water Down the Meaning of Sexual Assault
George H.W. Bush and Harvey Weinstein are not even remotely in the same ballpark.
Lumping actions together for the ease of public shaming or isolating and marginalizing one’s target — the Saul Alinsky method — has become standard in our culture. Forget understanding the true meaning of words. Obscuring them is the order of the day.
For example, we’ve watched the term racism become one of the first weapons leftists brandish to avoid an honest debate, and it’s typically used to bludgeon a conservative opponent rather than discuss a range of policy issues. In an effort to silence any dissenters, the Left has made the entire political Right a collection of “racists.”
But when everyone’s a racist, no one’s a racist when it really counts.
We’re seeing the same with the term sexual assault. Whether it’s the new grievance that’s going to have its own lapel ribbon for solidarity and notoriety, sexual assault victims are too numerous to count in the media in recent days. Make no mistake, authentic sexual assault is a heinous crime, and it belongs nowhere in a civil society. Several accounts of sexual assault have been exposed in recent days with Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein and MSNBC’s Mark Halperin as the exemplars.
Yet from the feminists who demand functional equivalence with men, there’s suddenly an outbreak of complaints of offense about the toxic masculinity that leads to dirty jokes and raucous behavior. The message is, “Let me into your locker rooms. Treat me the same as another guy. But not really.”
Columnist Mona Charen offered a vivid contrast last week between Halperin’s behavior (for which NBC has now fired him) versus that of former President George H.W. Bush, 93 years old and wheelchair-bound with Parkinson’s disease and related dementia.
According to multiple accounts from seven different young women in his work environment, Charen relates that Halperin is accused of “pressing his erect, if clothed, penis against the bodies of young women who worked with and for him.” Charen juxtaposed that with an instance of actress Heather Lind being “triggered” by watching the recent Hurricane Relief broadcast featuring five living former presidents to suddenly publicize an incident from four years earlier. According to Lind’s recollection of her “trauma,” Bush, then 89, touched her backside and told her a dirty joke … in the presence of his wife, Barbara, with cameras rolling as he sat in his wheelchair.
The truth? Again, Bush is wheelchair-bound, so when he puts his arm around someone for a picture, it sometimes slips a little low on their body. To ease tension, his go-to joke is a pun regarding his favorite magician, “David Cop-a-feel.”
That’s simply the tragic result of deteriorating physical and mental health, and it’s nothing like the predatory behavior of Weinstein. But when everything’s sexual assault, nothing’s sexual assault.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.” The EEOC explains that this behavior becomes illegal when the offensive conduct is a condition of employment — that is pervasive in the workplace, creating a hostile, abusive or intimidating environment.
The Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network specifies that sexual assault is “unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape.”
So which one of the following public figures has engaged in sexual assault, according to these publicly available and legally utilized definitions?
Former Vice President Joe Biden regularly offered unwanted neck massages and overly zealous public caresses while whispering in the ears of younger, attractive females. His public displays are creepy. Bush’s backside brushes are no different, but neither rise to a legal definition of anything approaching sexual assault.
And now there’s actor Kevin Spacey, accused of advances on a then-14-year-old boy. Spacey’s excuse? Forget pedophilia, apparently — he’s having to choose “now to live as a gay man.”
In each of these situations, the focus is on the perpetrator largely because of his status, but there are real victims who’ve been inappropriately touched, threatened or intimidated and led to believe their word would mean nothing if they were to dare disclose the actual crimes against their person.
Yet when a wheelchair-bound old man is lumped into the same group as actual sexual predators, the authentic victims of horrific assault and abuse are diminished and vile perverts are indirectly protected with a watered-down version of the true violence that does occur against women. Simply put, if sexual assault can mean a pat on the buttocks and rape, it means little to nothing.
Recently, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly took to the press room podium. In his remarks on a completely different topic, Kelly hit the proverbial nail on the head when he recalled a better day when “a lot of things were sacred in our country.” Kelly reminisced that, in addition to Gold Star families and the dignity of life and religion, women were sacred to our society and were treated in accordance with that special status.
Today, in the craze to be the same and not just equal, feminists forfeit the specialness and sacredness that should accompany a gender created for purposes that men can’t fulfill. The need to sell headlines, to drive digital clicks and to sensationalize every bit of “news” has corrupted the value and meaning of words, which are misappropriated. That misuse, in the case of the horrors of violence against women, diminishes the victims and protects the perpetrators. Oh, and don’t forget that the political Left, under the guise of speech, glorifies, monetizes and makes cause célèbre of women as objects, the distortion of gender and the perversion of sex.
Let’s commit to the dignity of life, the value of the female gender and the act of mutual respect in every aspect of society by correctly identifying misbehavior, punishing illegal acts and understanding both genders.