The Scarlet

Do Men in Positions of Power Go Too Far?

History may be in danger of repeating itself

Drashhti Bilmoria, Layout Editor

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In a 2005 interview, Donald Trump stated that when he meets beautiful women, he can just “grab them by the pussy…You can do anything,” Trump claimed in a recorded conversation with a television host.  

In 2009, a massage therapist went to the Portland Police and filed a report which claimed that, three years prior, former vice president Al Gore pinned her to a bed in his hotel suite and groped her.  

In 2017, it was reported that dozens of women accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct over a period going back at least 30 years. Weinstein was charged for incidents involving two women.  

In August of this year, a grand jury in Pennsylvania unveiled that there were over 1,000 identifiable child victims of sexual abuse by over 300 Catholic priests. The report also stated that there were likely thousands more who were too afraid to come forward or were unidentifiable in Church records. Only two cases of criminal charges were brought.  

Very few of these instances have led to prosecution.  

Similarly, comedian Bill Cosby was accused of sexual misbehavior by numerous women between 1965 and 2008, and was formally charged with aggravated indecent assault in 2015. Cosby was found guilty on three counts in April and was sentenced with up to ten years in prison along with a $75,000 fine last week.  

While Cosby was being led away in handcuffs from a Pennsylvania courthouse, Brett Kavanaugh was being defended in allegations of sexual misconduct by some of the most powerful men in the country and expecting a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. While Cosby was accurately declared a “sexually violent predator,” the President of the United States not only defended his decision to nominate Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but also demeaned the second woman who made allegations against Kavanaugh.

In recent weeks, Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct in his high school and college years by three women, and Christine Blasey Ford (the first accuser) and Kavanaugh were called to testify in a hearing held last Thursday.  

Since the accusations have come to light, alumnus from Kavanaugh’s high school have spoken out about the toxic culture at the school, and Kavanaugh’s closest high school friends have reported to the Washington Post that he was a sloppy and aggressive drunk.  

While the cases of Kavanaugh and Cosby are very different, both are in the spotlight at the same time, and it is hard not to compare the two cases. Cosby was accused of misconduct by many more women than Kavanaugh was, but that doesn’t make the accusations against Kavanaugh any less horrendous. Unlike Cosby, Kavanaugh has the support of an entire political party (who holds the majority vote in the Senate), as well as the president of the United States.  

In the aforementioned cases, the privilege (and wealth, in most cases) have saved these men from having to face the consequence of their actions, and it seems like Kavanaugh wants to follow in their footsteps. During his time in front of the Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh launched into an angry tirade in which he attempted to paint himself as the victim of character assassination through false allegations and of a Democratic political conspiracy designed to prevent his appointment to the Supreme Court.  

The double standard held between Cosby and Kavanaugh is painfully obvious, and the consequences of minimizing the importance of Kavanaugh’s accusers has drastic consequences for the country.  

These allegations pose risks to the credibility and regard Americans hold to victims of sexual assault, the honor the Supreme Court holds, and even to the Republican Party. Many Senate members (and the President himself) have instead been voicing their concerns about the effects of these allegations on Kavanaugh’s life.  

“What am I supposed to do, go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation… no, I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham stated.  

Would a non-white judge, or even a white female judge, be subject the same leniency and defense the Republican Party is making for Kavanaugh now?

The FBI has launched a formal investigation into the allegations, which the White House has limited to making no longer than a week, and reports from Julie Swetnick (the third accuser, who claims Kavanaugh was at a party where she was gang-raped) will not be considered.  

Although Mark Judge, whom Ford places in the room at the time of the assault, was not called to testify in front of the Judiciary Committee this past Thursday, Judge has now stated that he will cooperate with law enforcement investigations.  

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Do Men in Positions of Power Go Too Far?