Do We Really Believe Women?

When women came forward and accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, molestation of a 14 year old child, and stalking teenagers in the mall, many of us were outraged. But that was easy, wasn’t it? Most of us agree that a 14-year-old girl is not old enough to give consent, and certainly not to a 30-something year old man. Besides, Roy Moore was easy to hate because he’d already proven he does not respect the rule of law.

Some Alabama residents, including evangelical Christians, chose to continue to support Roy Moore, and a feeding frenzy ensued. Supporters questioned the timing of the accusers coming forward. They discounted the allegations as something that happened 40 years ago and in no way affecting Moore’s ability to participate in the Senate. They also stated they were looking at the big picture, and not voting for Roy Moore would negatively impact Trump’s legislative agenda. Others, including me, threw up their hands, incredulous that they would still support such a man.

But then Leeann Tweeden accused Al Franken of groping her, and everything changed.

leeann tweet
The evidence is indisputable. 


Suddenly the left was acting every bit as unhinged as those Roy Moore supporters. Why is Tweeden coming forward now? It’s politically motivated. And what she did to Robin Moore was a whole lot worse than what Franken did to her.

Funny how the rhetoric of Franken supporters sounds a lot like the rhetoric of Moore supporters. 

Bill Clinton’s behavior has also been resurrected by the media, followed by renewed attacks against his accusers, including a letter published in the New York Times in which Clinton’s attorney again trashes the victims. They had their day in court. We forget that day in court was facing high-powered lawyers. These weren’t rich pretty actors accusing Clinton; they were average women like me (and maybe you) who were in no position to defend themselves from such a powerful and well-connected man.

One big problem with the Women’s Rights Movement is that the women seem to be an afterthought. It’s all about the accused man. We talk about Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein, not Gretchen Carlson or Rose McGowan. We only talk about the women when we don’t want to believe them. We all know who Paula Jones is. 

Our public discussion is focused on what the men did wrong, but not about how it’s impacted the women, how we can help them heal, or how we can stop sexual harassment from happening.

Look, I like Senator Franken too, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Is there any story you can tell where what Franken is doing is NOT demeaning to Leeann Tweeden? Does who she voted for in the last election or what TV shows she’s appeared on change what is happening in that photo?

In my mind it’s the same thing as diminishing a rape victim because of what she wore, where she was, or what kind of work she does.

As hard as it may be for some of us, we MUST separate women’s issues from political issues. Sure, Republicans consistently support legislation that takes power from women. That does not mean that Democrats are consistently supporting women; what it means is they’re really good at taking those GOP stances and using them to win over the support of progressive women.

moore gun
Do we believe Roy Moore’s accusers, or are we just using those women to try to turn a Red seat Blue?


Personally I think it’s high time we come to terms with Bill Clinton and all men who abuse women. I want to hear more from perpetrators than just he’s sorry. I want him to discuss how his actions impacted his female victims. He should talk about how she was forced to find work elsewhere. How her earning potential was impacted. How she was viewed harshly by others, including by other women. How instead of the accuser having to prove his innocence, public opinion has forced the victim to prove hers.

Let’s quit looking at harassment in terms of how allegations impact the males accused of it and instead focus on the impact it’s had on the women who were subjected to it. And then let’s hold men- ALL men- accountable.

I believe Juanita Broaddrick.



17 thoughts on “Do We Really Believe Women?

  1. You said it!

    What’s really crazy is when women defend men who assault or harass women despite the majority of us having been victims of some kind of inappropriate, illegal, or even violent sexual behavior.

    It is such a widespread problem that most women, when it happens to us, question ourselves. “Did that just happen?” “Did I do something to encourage that?” “Is it my fault?”

    I know it won’t happen but I would like this to be a moment where we finally open our eyes to the dangers of some people having far more power than others.

    To me, the abuse of children, sexual assault of women, and the unequal treatment of people of color in criminal justice are related issues. It’s what happens when we don’t even try to live up to the ideals of “all [people] are created equal.” No one should be so powerful in a democracy that they can get away with what these men have been getting away with.

  2. We’ve all been told to be quiet, it will go away, to the point we think it ourselves and don’t do anything, we just go and hide.

    Monica Lewinski did an incredible TED talk on the subject.

    45 years after the ERA passed the Congress it has still not been ratified by the states. We’ve passed thousands of law since then, but we still can’t give women that basic protection of a specific law that says this country believes them and what has happened is wrong.

    1. On the Media’s show this week discussed the problem with backlash against women who disclose once our sense that there’s justice in the world is disrupted. At a certain point we say the accusers are lying because we don’t want to believe the problem is so prevalent. But it is.

  3. I do see differences in how the men are acting. Franken accepted total responsibility and apologized. The woman who accused him has accepted his apology and stated she does not want this to cost him his job. Franken has requested a Senate investigation into the matter. Wow. Roy Moore, Donald Trump, et. al accept no responsibility, call all women liars, never apologize. One suit against Trump was dropped due to death threats (if my memory serves me correctly).

    As to your topic, what I would like to see is a sea change in how society sees women and girls. And boys, for that matter, because little boys who are predated on by adult women get a “sowing his wild oats” treatment far too often. I don’t have much faith that will happen, but it is what I’d like to see.

    I survived an attempted rape/murder. It took me 10 years to come out the other side and I was a social worker and got a lot of intervention. It wasn’t until a program through STAR (Standing Together Against Rape) that I got the monkey off my back. In my case, my SO and my father were the two least supportive people who blamed me. My SO became a non-SO and my father got the 10-foot-pole treatment for years. I never “got my day in court” because my attacker was a mental patient on the loose and as far as I know he spent the rest of his days in a locked ward because he was a violent sexual psychopath.

    All that said, I believe that people can change. If I didn’t I’d simply say that anyone who committed a serious offense simply be shot on the spot. In social work school, I knew a former cop who had done serious time for the murder of his wife during an alcohol-fueled rage (they were both drunk out of their minds). He had served 15 years in the prison outside of Boise for a crime he could not remember due to a blackout. He was in a half-way house when I met him, working and getting his BSW at the same time I was in the program. He talked to anyone who would listen (all sorts of groups of all ages and genders) about the problems with booze, anger management, disrespect towards women, etc. His kids (who were adopted by their maternal grandparents) forgave him and he walked his daughter down the aisle for her wedding, stunned she would do that. If he said it once, he said it a hundred thousand times that if he had it to do over again and someone had to die it should have been him. He spent the rest of his life serving others.

    I have to believe it is possible for people to change. I think Franken has changed. I don’t believe 45 or Moore will ever change. I also think women have gone flaccid on this issues of feminism. I certainly see that among younger women.

    1. I also see a difference in the perp’s reaction. What I don’t see is a difference in the supporters of either man. And as long as we dismiss Franken or Clinton because they’re Democrats we do ourselves no favors, and actually hurt our cause by politicizing it.

      1. In the “for what it is worth department,” I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I formerly was a Republican, but I left. What I see is that behaviors almost expected (by men) for the past 40-60 years are no longer acceptable and now people are coming out of the woodwork about it. I hope this is a sea change, but I am not holding my breath. I hope that my grandson doesn’t grow up with the same distorted sense of entitlement, but I have a feeling that he will because of his father. 😦

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more! I posted this article { “It’s still clear the common denominator for having your story believed is you’re male, and the common denominator for being denounced as a liar or a slut (or both) is you’re female.”} on Facebook last week with this comment:

    It makes me not only angry, but truly sad that this is how society widely views women. We need to CHANGE THE DIALOGUE for the sake of our children.

    We need to continue to stand strong for women. For our mothers, sisters, friends, daughters and every girl who treads this earth after us. Equality is still so far away.

  5. There’s a big difference between rape or near rape of a child and squeezing someone’s butt — the someone being an adult in a perfect good position to whack the hand away and say “Quit that, you asshole.” I have been raped, groped and propositioned. There’s a huge difference between the three — and an even bigger one between when I was a child and when I was an adult. I think there needs to be a clearer differentiation made between what is essentially rude and probably inappropriate behavior, but non-violent — and rape. If an insult or a really bad joke is the same as rape, no one is going to know what’s supposed to be going on. And after a while, it will ALL be meaningless.

  6. Not to defend Bill Clinton but I believe there was some mutual consent with his tail chasing. Even young Monica foolishly thought there was something exciting making it with the pres. That said, his behavior was deplorable and the trashing his staff and über supporters did on all the women he had affairs with was despicable. With the whole #MeToo exposure after Harvey Weinstein, a lot of us finally found the support that was lacking before. No more (or at least not as much) shaming the victim because she was out too late or dressed to provocatively. When men sexually harass women, it’s about power and a patriarchal attitude. Whatever cause these men to think this was ok makes me wonder if we all don’t have some culpability. If my son ever did anything like what’s been in the news lately, he’d get more than just the what for from his mama. As mothers, aunts, sisters, etc. we owe these children the proper education about how to treat people, be they men or women. To allow it to continue reflects badly on us and compounds it.

  7. We had a similar situation here in Canada. A man Jian Ghomeshi who used to be in a band & then was a CBC radio personality was reported for sexual assaults. 9 women came forward but only 1 revealed her identity. Lucy Decoutere is an actress who played a pretty wild woman on “Trailer Park Boys”… is a very gritty trashy show…a mockumentary….crude rude & very funny. So did anyone believe Lucy?? Not on your life! And so the charges against Jian were dropped. CBC radio DID drop him like a hot potato. He maintains he never did anything wrong despite evidence.
    It really P*ssed me off I can tell you. People dissing Lucy because of a role she played on TV. Makes one wonder doesn’t it????

What would you like to add to the conversation? Bark at me in a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s