The real #HIMTOO

By Amy Yager, Guest Writer

Recently, a serious issue going on our country was brought into the limelight for a very short time when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward and accused supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault while they were in college. As Dr. Ford’s claims were ridiculed and people asked questions such as “why didn’t you report this sooner?” The backlash that Ford faced brought forth another emotional wave from the #METOO movement, the purpose of which to spread awareness of sexual assault. This also started a new movement called #WhyIDidntReport, where hundreds of thousandths of people came forward on social media and shared the reasons why they waited so long, or perhaps never did up until then, report. Support for Ford’s testimony went rampant.

However, not everyone was so supportive of Ford nor her supporters. Many Republicans accused Ford of simply trying to prevent him from being sworn into the Supreme Court. Many people who did not believe Ford’s claims also took offense to the fact that so many people were believing her claims and calling for an investigation on Kavanaugh. This sparked a counter movement, #HIMTOO. The idea of this movement is to spread awareness that the real victims are men, who can be falsely accused at any time of sexual assault and their lives will be ruined forever. Its intended message is that all men are innocent of sexual assault until proven guilty.

While false accusations of rape do occur, and they are most definitely a severe problem, the demand for due process in cases of sexual assault is a moot point considering cases of sexual violence are the most highly protected in our judicial system. Not only is it almost impossible to prove sexual assault, when evidence is offered, it is rarely ever even tested. For example, there are thousands of rape kits laying around untouched and neglected right now, which are crucial for victims seeking justice and peace. Even when there is evidence and police believe that a sexual assault has occurred, the case rarely ever goes to court. When it does go to court, the assailant is almost never found guilty unless they confess or there is video evidence of the assault. Then, when there is a conviction, the perpetrator rarely even spends any time in jail nor prison, and when they do it is usually very little. That being said, the chances of your life being ruined even if you do rape someone in our society are very small.

While the consequences for perpetrators are very rare and limited, these incidences can leave the victims deeply wounded psychologically speaking for a lifetime. Not only are the consequences almost always much more significant for the victim, what the #HIMTOO movement also fails to acknowledge is that men are also much more likely to be victims of sexual assault than they are of being falsely accused, and also much less likely to report or seek help due to cultural norms and stigmas such as the idea that men should always like having sex with women. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only about 37% of all sexual assaults are estimated to ever be reported to the police, and these are just of the people who report to any organization at all. Many people are afraid to tell anyone. Of this 37%, an estimated 9% of victims are male. Only 2-10% of all accusations are estimated to be false or unfounded. Unfounded simply means that not enough evidence was available, not necessarily that an assault did not occur.

So to all of the worried men out there and mothers of boys, being falsely accused is definitley a worrisome occurrence. If it happens though, rest assured there is not likely to be serious consequences, if any at all. Being sexually assaulted, on the other hand, is likely to leave men and boys with serious lifelong scars, and the chances of this happening are much higher than the chances of being falsely accused. Rape and sexual assault does not just happen to women. It happens to #HIMTOO.

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