The #MeToo campaign was designed to point out the widespread prevalence of sexual harassment, but here in Canada reaction to the campaign is widespread disapproval. Instead of embracing and supporting women who speak out about sexual harassment, many Canadians choose to scorn, shame and defame them.
Research into sexual assault has found that, on average, only 4% of allegations are proven false, while 40% of those accused are proven to be guilty. People who don’t know this research insist that innocent men will be destroyed by false accusations and claim the #MeToo movement is just a “witch hunt.” They ignore the facts. And these facts make it easy to identify a sexual predator:
- Sexual predators push their victims into the court of public opinion to try to discredit them. They don’t care about the harm or shame they cause their victim
- Sexual predators deny all accusations, unequivocally and strongly. They take to social media to broadcast their denial and shame their victim.
- Sexual predators threaten defamation. This is designed to scare other victims from stepping forward, and push witnesses into hiding.
- Women who come out publicly always get scorned and shamed – nobody wants that kind of attention, but sexual predators try to insist that their victims step forward to face the scorning.
Sexual predators need to scare both victims and witnesses from stepping forward, and threats of lawsuits are a common tactic they use to push witnesses into hiding. Too few people know enough about the law to realize that they can’t be sued for giving private testimony.
Innocent men don’t push their case out to the court of public opinion, or allow women to be vilified when they come forward. Most large corporations have a sexual harassment policy that requires complete confidentiality through an investigation. This confidentiality is key to a fair investigation as it protects the woman who make the allegations, and the witnesses who might come forward. It also conveys the message to all employees that they are free to report sexual harassment without being punished. Any company that doesn’t follow these guidelines has extremely questionable HR practices.
An actual investigation into sexual harassment needs to uncover if the person accused of harassment exhibited improper and offensive conduct, including objectionable act(s), comment(s) or display(s) that demean, belittle, or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. Sexual predators often ignore the fact that by taking their fight to the court of public opinion they are publicly trying to shame the women involved. They will usually demean her, and try to intimidate her, without even realizing that their actions display an attempt to “belittle or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment.”
Innocent men allow the investigation to be carried out without prejudice. Guilty men can be judged by the way they treat their accuser. If they go public when she has asked for confidentiality, if they threaten defamation, if they try to smear her reputation, their actions indicate they are not innocent. A decent man doesn’t drag a woman out to be stoned in the court of public opinion, only a desperate man does that.
The #MeToo campaign is not a witch hunt, it’s a revolt by women who have been silent for decades.