#MeToo and mob justice

The year 2017 is speeding to an end. In a couple of weeks many will engage in the traditional looking back on the year.

One of the things that will undoubtedly be mentioned about 2017 is the exposing of many in the entertainment and movie world as sexual predators. The name Weinstein has become infamous because of a culture of sexual abuse and harassment in the movie world. But not only in the movie world, also many politicians and others who are in the public eye have been accused of sexual misconduct. Initially, the world was shocked when the first scandals broke. Why? When I noticed the shock of the world, I couldn’t help but think this was hypocritical. The movie world, Hollywood, and many others, have been promoting a culture of free sex and lewdness. It should not surprise anyone then, when free sex is combined with a position of authority or power, that something goes wrong. If you think to have landed a dream job in the show business, you are eager to do what it takes to keep that job. That often means trying to please the producer, your employer or others who have a say in your hiring or firing. If you live in a world in which sex has become cheap and all too common, people can easily cross a red line. It was only a matter of time that this would come out. We can be thankful that these works of darkness have now been exposed.

However, Satan never hesitates to turn a good situation into a bad one. Many of the sexual predators are now facing justice, and rightly so. But again, the pendulum seems to be swinging too far to the other side. #MeToo has become a huge movement and many have come out with stories about sexual harassment. The only problem is, many of these stories are not first reported to the police, and the flood of stories published in the media make it almost impossible to verify every story or to provide proper help to those who need it. Many of those stories are about what happened twenty, thirty or forty years ago, or even longer. How reliable are those stories? Who can discern what is truth and what is imagination? If a story is being reported to the police, our justice system has proper procedures to deal with these matters. Experts know and can to a certain extent recognize the signs of made-up stories and distinguish them from true stories, although there will always be situations that no one can be certain anymore about what really happened. Also, the victims of sexual abuse do need help to be able to deal with the long lasting and often life-destroying consequences of sexual abuse.

Claire Berlinski wrote an instructive article in which she states:

The #MeToo moment has now morphed into a moral panic that poses as much danger to women as it does to men.

Another quote from her article: In recent weeks, one after another prominent voice, many of them political voices, have been silenced by sexual harassment charges. Not one of these cases has yet been adjudicated in a court of law. Leon Wieseltier, David Corn, Mark Halperin, Michael Oreskes, Al Franken, Ken Baker, Rick Najera, Andy Signore, Jeff Hoover, Matt Lauer, even Garrison Keillor—all have received the professional death sentence. Some of the charges sound deadly serious. But others—as reported anyway—make no sense. I can’t say whether the charges against these men are true; I wasn’t under the bed. But even if true, some have been accused of offenses that aren’t offensive, or offenses that are only mildly so—and do not warrant total professional and personal destruction.