BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s be honest with each other – fear sells, because there are a lot of buyers. It’s true of the news media, where disaster coverage and stories about threats to our health and safety always get good ratings. And it’s certainly true in politics, where each side of the aisle regularly predicts an apocalypse if the other gets their way. So, let’s talk about another kind of fear — fear of the claims and reality of sexual misconduct.
None other than Donald Trump Jr. said the other day that he’s worried about his young sons and daughters having to contend with the sexual harassment minefield when they get older, and when asked which gender he fears more for, he said “my sons,” citing what he believes to be false accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Let’s set aside the irony of who this is coming from and Kavanaugh’s credibility or lack of it, and consider the broader issue.
First of all, the difficulty of finding the proper balance between fear of false accusations and redress of grievances about abusive behavior is nothing new. Our courts are jammed every day with what may be false charges, and lawyers are kept busy seeking justice for the legitimately aggrieved.
The fact that serial predators are being exposed and women feel more free to speak up about the abuse they suffer should be celebrated. But no one should want to live in a world where a mere allegation can ruin an innocent person’s life.
As parents, and as a culture, it’s our job to create an environment where stuff like this happens as infrequently as possible. Unless, that is, we all want to live in fear.