If you have of­fended #MeToo, you pay for­ever

PressReader - Tke Channel - If you have of­fended #MeToo, you pay for­ever
God but there is some­thing deeply un­pleas­ant about the #MeToo move­ment. It is vi­cious, it is un­for­giv­ing, it is or­ga­nized and it is re­lent­less: All that we knew.But its hypocrisy is, well, breath­tak­ing.Just look at the re­ac­tion to Jian Ghome­shi’s es­say last week in The New York Re­view of Books.What­ever one thinks of the writ­ing or the de­gree to which the for­mer CBC star, in the mod­ern par­lance, “owns” what hap­pened to him, the piece was the first time in four years he has opened his mouth to of­fer his view of his spec­tac­u­lar down­fall.(And yes, he could have tes­ti­fied in his own de­fence at his 2016 crim­i­nal trial, at which he was ac­quit­ted, but by then, his ac­cusers had been so thor­oughly dis­cred­ited it wasn’t nec­es­sary.)Ghome­shi was of course ex­co­ri­ated for dar­ing to open his mouth.And it’s not that four years in ex­ile is not enough. For #MeToo, there sim­ply is no road back from an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual as­sault. An ac­cused man must pay for­ever. He will pay for­ever.The very sorts of peo­ple who claim to be­lieve in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in prison, who sup­port halfway houses and nee­dle ex­changes and safe-in­jec­tion sites — who be­lieve, in other words, in sec­ond and third chances and that the hu­man an­i­mal can change him­self for the bet­ter — ap­pear to have no com­punc­tion in throw­ing a man ac­cused of sex­ual wrong­do­ing to the wolves, for­ever.It’s the one-strike-and-you’re-out rule.Com­pare this to the treat­ment ac­corded Omar Khadr, the for­mer child sol­dier who pleaded guilty to killing U.S. spe­cial forces sol­dier Chris Speer and par­tially blind­ing an­other sol­dier by throw­ing a grenade dur­ing a fire­fight in Afghanistan.He was all of 15.There are lawyers and re­porters who made ca­reers en­sur­ing that Khadr’s full story was told sym­pa­thet­i­cally.And it is a story wor­thy of sym­pa­thy: Khadr was raised by the first fam­ily of Cana­dian ter­ror­ism, never had a chance of be­ing a nor­mal kid and was im­pris­oned and tor­tured at Guan­tanamo Bay — oh yes, and ques­tioned there by Cana­dian of­fi­cials and CSIS as well.In 2010, at a mil­i­tary tri­bunal, Khadr pleaded guilty to war crimes, in­clud­ing mur­der. Be­cause of a pre-trial deal, he was sen­tenced to only eight years.Un­der for­mer Con­ser­va­tive prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper, Khadr was repa­tri­ated to serve out the re­main­der of his sen­tence in Canada in 2012.Last year, the Justin Trudeau gov­ern­ment went Harper one bet­ter, and for­mally apol­o­gized to Khadr and paid him a $10.5-mil­lion set­tle­ment.That’s how Omar Khadr, for all the com­pli­ca­tions nonethe­less a man once con­victed of mur­der, was treated by this coun­try — the fed­eral gov­ern­ment apol­o­gized to him, gave him a big cheque and Cana­di­ans, for the most part, em­braced him.And in fair­ness, it ap­pears that Khadr is a re­mark­able per­son, who is bent on build­ing a good and hon­ourable life.But for Ghome­shi, who was merely ac­cused and then ac­quit­ted, there is no com­ing back.And con­sider what’s hap­pen­ing south of the border to Brett Ka­vanaugh, Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­nee to the U.S. Supreme Court.A 51-year-old woman named Chris­tine Blasey Ford has ac­cused him of sex­ual as­sault more than three decades ago, when they were both teenagers, she 15, he 17.Her al­le­ga­tions were re­vealed last week, but it was in late July that she sent a let­ter to Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee. Ford, ac­cord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post, is also a reg­is­tered Demo­crat.The al­le­ga­tions may de­rail Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing at the ju­di­ciary com­mit­tee. Democrats are bay­ing for a de­lay.In the let­ter, Ford said the as­sault oc­curred in a sub­ur­ban Mary­land home, that Ka­vanaugh and a buddy pushed her into a bed­room and locked the door. “They both laughed as Ka­vanaugh tried to dis­robe me in their highly ine­bri­ated state.” She said Ka­vanaugh put a hand over her mouth, and that the as­sault ended only when the other boy jumped onto the bed, and the “two scrapped with each other.” She be­lieves it hap­pened in 1982. Ka­vanaugh has “cat­e­gor­i­cally and un­equiv­o­cally” de­nied the al­le­ga­tions; the other man, iden­ti­fied as a con­ser­va­tive writer and au­thor named Mark Judge, says he has no rec­ol­lec­tion of the event.Ford did not re­port the al­leged as­sault to any­one, though she says she has been haunted by it for years, un­til 2012, when she was in cou­ples ther­apy with her hus­band.She showed the Wash­ing­ton Post, which last week­end pub­lished a story, the ther­a­pist’s notes; those notes re­fer to four boys be­ing in­volved, but Ford says it was the ther­a­pist who got it wrong.Ford claims she is act­ing out of civic duty: “Now I feel like my civic re­spon­si­bil­ity is out­weigh­ing my an­guish and ter­ror about re­tal­i­a­tion.”Ka­vanaugh is cer­tainly a con­ser­va­tive judge, but al­ways be­fore, he was con­sid­ered smart and strate­gic, not an ab­so­lutist. His work ethic is prodi­gious; he has writ­ten hun­dreds of judg­ments. As law pro­fes­sor Justin Walker once said of him, “What­ever the op­po­site of a Ge­orge­town cock­tail party per­son is, that’s what Judge Ka­vanaugh is.”He has a law de­gree from Yale. He clerked for three judges, in­clud­ing Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy, whom he hopes to re­place on the Supreme Court. He was a prose­cu­tor.In other words, in the intervening 36 years since Blasey Ford says Ka­vanaugh briefly as­saulted her in a bed­room at a party, he has had a dis­tin­guished ca­reer in pub­lic service. He is mar­ried with chil­dren.Yet now, he may be done, all be­cause, at its worst, one woman says that 36 years ago, he as­saulted her. Does one act de­fine a man for­ever?Not if your name is Khadr. But if it’s Ghome­shi, or Ka­vanaugh, or you have of­fended the lit­tle crazy chil­dren of #MeToo, the an­swer is yes.

Jian Ghome­shi con­tin­ues to face the wrath of the #MeToo move­ment, Christie Blatch­ford writes.

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