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Substituting Sexual Assault

Posted by Rob Mania on

The following is a work of fiction.

I don’t know that anything I say in this article will be new or any different than you’ve already read from popular news sites, but I think it’s important that I express my view just the same. I am talking, of course, about the recent accusations that powerful men have punched women and even young boys in the face.

To name just a few examples:

George H.W. Bush has been by accused six women so far, most recently Rosyln Corrigan, who was 16 at the time of the alleged incident.

Harvey Weinstein has had countless women (40 at last count) come forward and accuse him of punching them in the face, revealing a decades-long pattern of enabling by his peers in Hollywood and especially the people who worked with or for him.

Bill Cosby also had a decades-long pattern of victimization and enabling, in his case, he would drug women to have the pass out so he could pummel them without resistance.

Louis CK has been accused of grabbing women by the hand and forcing their fists to touch his face.

Kevin Spacey has been accused of punching a much younger stage actor, and Spacey tried to shift attention by saying he prefers a good solid consensual boxing match with men.

US Senate candidate Roy Moore has also been accused of having boxing matches with teen girls too young to legally consent, and at least one said she was punched hard in the face when she was 14 years old.

I could go on.

This is kind of a good news/bad news situation. It is horrible that these powerful men feel entitled to punch women in the face, and equally gross that they find other ways to assault women who are strong enough to put their hands up or duck; but it is at least good that these women are now empowered to speak out, and hopefully in the coming decades a woman coming to work on a movie set with a black eye and a fat lip will incite swift and decisive action against the men responsible.

It is important that we not accept excuses for this behavior. George H.W. Bush is a prime example. Although he looks like a harmless old man, he still packs a wallop in that right hand. He and his enablers have tried to brush it off saying things like, “he’s from an earlier time,” or “he tried to give women a good-natured slap in the face to put them at ease.” I think it’s safe to say that what would put women at ease would be being treated with respect. We should not romanticize the past in this way—who can forget that famous picture of the soldier coming home after World War 22, “Knocking Out The War.” It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

We put women in an impossible position by saying, “if it were me, I’d immediately punch back!” I am sure many of us are great boxers when you’re fighting your own shadow, but when you don’t even know you’re about to get punched, the shock of it is as bad as the actual punch. The phrase “presumed innocent until proven guilty” is a legal term—if you had any idea of the pain any victim goes through accusing a powerful person of punching them in the face, you would know no one brings that on themselves without cause. For this reason, our sympathies should always be with the victim, and our anger should always be at the pugilist.


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