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October 4 2018

Atlantic's Emily Yoffe: There Are Some Problems with BelieveSurvivors Movement

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

History demonstrates that ascribing honesty or dishonesty, criminality or righteousness solely on the basis of gender or race doesn’t increase the amount of equity in the world.

--Emily Yoffe in "The Problem with #BelieveSurvirors" in The Atlantic

Emily Yoffe is a writer who dares to break ranks and she has done so again in her critique of the #BelieveSurvivors approach to justice.

Yoffe does not defend Judge Brett Kavanaugh. But she does point out why evidence is essential. She writes:

The best reporting of the #MeToo movement has shown that when journalists examine all the possible holes in an accuser’s account, find corroborating witnesses and documentary evidence, and give the accused the opportunity to respond, they make the victim’s story more powerful. (Men can sexually assault men, women can sexually assault women, and women can sexually assault men. But the vast majority of these allegations are of males assaulting females.)

Unfortunately, we must also accept the reality that the fact-finding process will, by its very nature, cause pain to both parties. The New York Times editorial page on Monday blasted how Christine Blasey Ford has been treated since she went public with her account of a frightening sexual attack by a then-teenage Brett Kavanaugh. It noted that the 11 Republican men on the Judiciary Committee brought in a female prosecutor to “chip away” at Ford’s testimony.

Certainly, the hearing was odd, flawed, and ripe for parody on Saturday Night Live. But the Republican questioning of Ford was not particularly harsh, and while it was intended to knock her credibility, that’s the purpose of adversarial proceedings. In the end, Ford’s answers and her demeanor buttressed her account, whereas Kavanaugh’s histrionics led some to question his fitness for the bench.

While I believe that Judge Kavanaugh more than demonstrated in more 30 hours of calm testimony that he is eminently fit for the highest court, and am not at all surprised that a man offered for human sacrifice displaying emotion in fighting for his life, I am glad to see at least one liberal suggesting that evidence, not gender, is at issue here.

In a column headlined "Today Atticus Finch Would Be a Villain," Rich Lowry compared the presumption of guilt based on gender to the presumption of guilt based on race in Harper Lee's classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Also referencing Harper Lee's novel, Allysia Finley takes up the theme of how prejudice "fuels the presumption of guilt" in this morning's Wall Street Journal



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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