In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the world has seen many allegations of sexual assault against men from various backgrounds. Women worldwide have come out with incidents of sexual harassment. The reactions have been overwhelming. According to reports, on average there were 61,911 tweets every day in reaction to the movement brought to attention by Actress Alyssa Milano. While this is a good thing for women who are unable to find the courage to face their past traumas, a backlash by men has also been seen by men around the world.
Many men claim to have been subjected to false sexual assault allegations with no truth whatsoever. We are no judge to decide whose allegation is truthful unless an investigation takes place. Majority of the accusations go unproven which has led many to believe that men are being falsely accused of sexual misconduct. After a year of the #MeToo movement, a new concern for men facing false sexual harassment allegations has arose.
In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s case, there have been conversations regarding the accuracy of the accusations filed. While many have opposed the idea that any woman will take such huge steps, it is concerning enough that although rare but this is a true phenomenon. Many men from various industries have fallen prey to risking their careers, dignity and families due to these allegations. New poll shows that majority of men are just as worried about facing false sexual assault allegations as they are of women facing sexual assault. This is a major concern as there’s a lot on stake.
Since most of the allegations don’t reach the level of investigation, many of the accusations are not proved. The outcome is many of the accused see their lives and career shattered due to unconfirmed sexual assault allegations. Celebrities and men on authoritative positions are the most common victims of this practice.
Catfish star Nev Shulman is one of the most notable cases. He was accused of sexual assault which led to his show being suspended. The claims were deemed baseless soon after and the show was rescheduled but the temporary criticism and calling out Shulman faced brings us again to the fact that many lives are put at risk due to these false accusations.
There are many who are coming forward encouraged by the support #MeToo movement is receiving. Victims worldwide have disclosed incidents of sexual assault they have been subjected to. The number is concerning. However, only a small percentage seek the help of law which can turn out be a major issue in future. Once an allegation is made, the accused is penalized by the society if not by the court. By the time anything can be proves, the damage is done.
Even if the accusations are proved false, the distaste of the whole ordeal remains. As a result, men are now afraid or comfortable with working with a woman. Surveys suggest, senior professionals are refusing to mentor young women at workplace. Official trips and dinners are now preferred with employees only. This is also hindering the space for interaction as men are afraid of what may be regarded as inappropriate.
What can be done to stop this? While there is no way to stop malicious minds, as responsible citizens we should understand the grave circumstances of any such accusation. Sexual assault is a crime most devastating of all so blaming someone of the same leads to extreme reactions by the society. What we need to do is let law decide if the accused is in the wrong instead of penalizing them on our own.
The repercussions of these allegations have already been seen in the high profile cases that have come to light. While the guilty deserve to be subjected to social banishment, we must not forget that accusations are mere words. It’s easy to judge one based on a story. But it is our responsibility as a human to let a crime be proved before punishing anyone for it. Much as we are working towards ending sexual harassment, we should do the same by dealing with false sexual assault accusations carefully.