“The first is an old habit of men of this ilk of asserting that women are not to be believed but men are. There is a long brutal tradition of asserting that men are credible but women are incredible, men are objective, women are subjective, and this guy has just treated us to how a man might argue that, and in doing so he has unwittingly succeeded in demonstrating something else. He has imagined reasons why she might be unreliable and he seems to give them a credence that maybe we shouldn’t give our imaginings.”
I started reading one of the many books that I have in my “YOU REALLY SHOULD FINISH THIS” pile which is in a special shelf on the bookshelf just below my “READ NEXT” group. This is well away from my “YOU KNOW THAT YOU SHOULD READ THIS ONE DAY, BUT WHO ARE YOU KIDDING WHILE YOU HAVE THOSE OTHER TWO PILES” pile.
Anyway, this is a great book for when I’m not sure what to read because it’s a collection of essays by Rebecca Solnit entitled Whose Story Is It?
Today I just happened to be up to an essay entitled The Fall Of Men Has Been Greatly Exaggerated.
It seemed serendipitous in light of Grace Tame’s interview yesterday. When asked by Ros Childs, “The federal government is announcing details of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse awareness. I presume you have been involved in the drafting of that, what can we expect?”, Ms Tame looked surprised and replied that she hadn’t.
But she certainly lived up to her first name. She answered the rest of the questions with grace and class and made a lot of people wonder why she isn’t standing for parliament. (Give her time, give her time. She might actually do that, or she might actually decide that she’s the sort of person who can actually achieve something useful!)
Anyway, the Solnit essay spent some time focusing on a tweet about the woman who alleged that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when he a drunk teenager. The tweet suggested that the woman had possibly been drinking and so her testimony and memory were unreliable, whereas Kavanaugh could be relied on even though it had been suggested that he’d been drinking for quite a while before the party.
Whatever the actual events of any past incident, unless we have video footage we can only reconstruct them from the testimony of the people who were there at the time. And that’s the whole trouble with events which are disputed, we can only go on what’s most likely to be the truth.
If I trip on the trunk of a tree and say that I tripped on the trunk of a tree in my front yard, the tree won’t dispute it, so most people will accept that’s what happened without cross-examining me. The difference in a case of sexual assault is that nobody will ask why I let the tree grow or whether I should have kept out its way. And nobody will suggest that the tree the presumption of innocence. The PRESUMPTION of innocence unless I prove my claim in court.
It’s become rather strange that we’ve come to equate the word “presumption” with the word “proof”. Just because I can’t prove that the tree tripped me, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.
Yes, the Solnit article made me glad that we live in Australia where things like the Brett Kavanaugh incident could never happen. He was questioned about it. We’d never allow such a thing to happen in this country because a person has the right to the presumption of innocent and if they’re innocent, what could an investigation show? I think that was Scott Morrison’s logic when saying that there’d be no investigation into Porter because the one that the police didn’t do was more than enough.
As for who paid his legal fees, it’s a mystery. And it seems that a million dollar donation is exactly like a lot of little donations to a GoFundMe campaign, so we really should check both before worrying about things like why would anyone make such a large donation if they didn’t either want something in return. Whatever, it’s a shame that this is preventing such a promising minister from being a member of the Cabinet. Someone should get to the bottom of it. Maybe Alan Jones could ask a few questions. He’s good at finding out things.
Anyway, Solnit’s essay is well worth a read, so I’ll let her have the last word::
Men with power magnify other men with power, sometimes by commissioning articles by or in defense of men who’ve assaulted women and verbal attacks on those women who were physically attacked or who spoke up for them, as we’ve seen in various New York publications this year.
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