McConnell: Democrats waited until 11th hour

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused Democrats of waiting until "the 11th hour" before Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation vote to bring up the sexual assault allegations against him.

Posted: Sep 18, 2018 2:37 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2018 3:06 PM

The recent accusations of attempted sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have led to an unusually naked demonstration of how male solidarity works, and for whom. Many conservatives who support Kavanaugh have come forward to argue that men are supposed to see themselves in Kavanaugh, and that men are supposed to share the same interests as Kavanaugh. The demand for male solidarity is a deliberate effort to make men forget that many of them have more in common with victims than with the powerful.

This week Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University, publicly accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her in 1982, when he was 17 and she was 15.

The reaction from some conservatives was swift -- and appealed directly to male fears and male interests. A lawyer close to the White House, speaking anonymously to Politico, said that the nomination would not be withdrawn because "If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried. We can all be accused of something." Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary to George W. Bush, asked on Fox whether committing sexual assault in high school should "deny us chances later in life." Conservative blogger and radio host Erick W. Erickson declared on Twitter that "If the GOP does not stand up to this character assassination attempt on Kavanaugh, every judicial nominee moving forward is going to suffer last minute sexual assault allegations" -- as if sexual assault allegations are all simply some kind of plot against our boys.

Tom Nichols, a conservative professor at the US Naval War College and author of "The Death of Expertise," initially sided with Kavanaugh — and then, reconsidered. As he perceptively explained on Twitter: "Listen, I'm a middle-aged man seeing a middle-aged man get nuked w/accusations from high school. It put me in a defensive crouch."

Philosopher Kate Manne has a name for that defensive crouch; it's called "himpathy." Himpathy is the opposite of misogyny, Manne writes in her book "Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny." Misogyny means that people react negatively or dismissively towards women; himpathy means that they react positively or empathetically towards men. Men sympathize with alleged abusers because himpathy puts them in the shoes of the victimizers, rather than the victims.

"Himpathy primarily concerns cases where powerful and privileged men garner unduly sympathetic attention over their less privileged female victims," Manne told me by email. "It plays out in a variety of ways: denying her story altogether, trying to undermine her credibility, calling her a liar or hysterical, or implying it somehow wasn't a big deal because it didn't happen yesterday." Another common theme is "he was a 'good guy' even back then, who was smart, athletic or popular."

The arguments are so various because they aren't based on logic but on emotional identification. Apologists, Manne says, will do "anything to shift the blame from where it belongs," and anything to prevent women "from being the proper object of moral concern and sympathy."

The appeal to himpathy assumes that any man benefits when he identifies with other men. But are men's interests really best served by identifying with and promoting the interests of those accused of sexual abuse or misconduct? In 2018, the government estimated that over their lifetime 2% of men will be raped and 23% of men will experience some other form of sexual violence. This is far less than the 44% of women who experience sexual violence, but it is still very high.

False rape charges in contrast make up only about 2% to 8% of total rape reports, according to the best current research. A quarter of men can expect to experience sexual violence; far fewer men are going to be the target of false rape or sexual harassment allegations. Why in cases of sexual assault should men automatically identify with the accused, when statistically they have a one in four chance during their lifetimes of being the one assaulted?

As a parent with a son who is interested in acting, the #MeToo movement has made me very aware of the dangers men and boys can face. At least one of the young actors Kevin Spacey reportedly harassed, Adam Rapp, was my son's age at the time of the incident. And Terry Crews' experience shows that men of any age can be assaulted in Hollywood. The current #MeToo movement has brought to light numerous instances in which men and boys have been harassed and abused by men and women.

Yet, these male victims are often systematically erased in discussions of harassment and abuse in order to paint all men as sharing a common experience, and common interests, with abusers and rapists. Men as a group are supposed to benefit when certain men are granted impunity or given absolution for a "comeback," even though it should be obvious that many men do not benefit when you tell them they are supposed to sympathize with the people who assaulted and abused them.

Manne notes that himpathy is not distributed equally to all men. It is directed especially, she writes, to "men who are white, nondisabled, and otherwise privileged 'golden boys.'" Himpathy leads everyone to see powerful men as important, worthwhile, and sympathetic, and to treat women with suspicion and doubt. That's why Republican Susan Collins, in Democratic-leaning Maine, has been the focus of Democratic anger and misogynist abuse for potentially supporting Kavanaugh, while Republican Cory Gardner in Democratic-leaning Colorado, has been almost completely ignored. In a misogynist culture, even women may find it easier in some cases to see the perspective of men. And as for men, they are encouraged to identify with the manliness of powerful men more thoroughly than they identify with their own masculinity, or than they identify with themselves.

In 2016, 53% of men voted for a billionaire scam artist for president; many of them did so because he offered them the opportunity to vicariously cheer for patriarchy, even as he gutted their health care. Himpathy makes men support the powerful men who abuse them. But what if, instead, when women like Ford come forward, men said, not, "that could be my daughter," but, "that could be me"?

Because the truth is it could be me, or you, or any man. Powerful perpetrators of sexual violence target women especially, but not exclusively. When men acknowledge our own potential vulnerability, we open a way to solidarity with, and justice for, people of every gender.

West Lafayette
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 36°
Rensselaer
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 34°
Fowler
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 34°
Williamsport
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 36°
Frankfort
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Delphi
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Monticello
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 40°
Logansport
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
Dry and Cool for Remainder of Weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 160454

Reported Deaths: 4118
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25691791
Lake14023358
St. Joseph9399165
Elkhart9026137
Allen8424230
Hamilton6293114
Vanderburgh601161
Tippecanoe383615
Hendricks3337133
Porter332350
Monroe330338
Johnson3207129
Delaware303474
Clark300763
Vigo268740
Madison244996
LaPorte231760
Cass226922
Warrick199565
Kosciusko193727
Floyd183968
Howard167066
Bartholomew145358
Dubois142726
Marshall142726
Wayne135331
Grant129739
Henry129730
Boone126950
Hancock122344
Noble119135
Jackson116417
Dearborn100028
Morgan97440
Lawrence94037
Gibson91512
Daviess90234
Clinton88916
Shelby87231
LaGrange82115
Knox79510
Harrison78324
Putnam75616
Posey7556
DeKalb74511
Fayette73218
Jasper6435
Miami6425
Steuben6408
Montgomery60422
White59915
Greene55838
Scott53413
Decatur51739
Adams5107
Whitley4696
Ripley4668
Clay4567
Sullivan45214
Wells44211
Starke4328
Wabash4329
Huntington4215
Orange41725
Spencer4046
Washington3843
Franklin37925
Jennings37313
Randolph37210
Fulton3714
Jefferson3455
Pike34018
Perry33314
Carroll33213
Jay3256
Fountain3193
Tipton28023
Vermillion2601
Parke2464
Blackford2313
Newton23011
Rush2254
Owen2101
Martin2010
Crawford1601
Pulaski1602
Brown1463
Ohio1317
Union1120
Benton1090
Switzerland960
Warren891
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events