I'm no politician... I don't need the votes
#MeToo doesn't facilitate thoughtful discussion about sex assault, demands unthinking participationFriday, July 03, 2020
One of the advantages Prime Minister Andrew Holness has is almost a surfeit of bright, talented and experienced people in his Cabinet. But something that concerns me is how quick they are to apologise, even when it is not necessary.
Jamaica is admired the world over for its handling of COVID-19 matters. People coming from the US — a country known for is mishandling and poor leadership in this matter — are taken in at Government's expense, and some housed in luxury hotels. A few of them made frivolous demands and Health Minister Christopher Tufton rushed there to apologise.
The latest target is Justice Minister Delroy Chuck. He is accused of saying “We don't want the situation that now happens in the #MeToo movement in the US, where 30 years later you talk about 'I was harassed in the elevator'…If you don't complain in 12 months, please, cut it out.”
Why are you apologising, Minister Chuck?
In 1995 a man who wanted to work for me told me that one night, in a drunken stupor, he said “some very hot words” to a woman, most of which he was told about but could not remember. The woman made a formal report to the police that he had raped her and he ended up spending some years in prison. I dismissed this as being highly unlikely until the most senior politician in Portmore assured me that he was speaking the truth.
If there was still any doubt in my mind, a young worker on my farm had a fuss with his girlfriend. She stopped a passing police car and told them he had raped her. They threw him in the trunk of the car and drove away. He spent almost a year in jail before he was finally released when the lawyer I provided convinced the judge that this was one of the ways women successfully take revenge on men.
It seems we have a way of borrowing ideas from the United States. The #MeToo movement, by whatever name it goes by here, is one of them. Perhaps I may be permitted to give some examples of what this movement has accomplished in the US.
Andrea Constand is an impressive-looking athlete. She is tall and will be the first to tell you how fit she is. She played and coached basketball. She frequently visited Bill Cosby's house and claims that on one of these visits Cosby gave her some blue pills to “relax”. Something no experienced athlete would accept. She claims that she soon felt weak and Cosby touched her on her private parts and used her hand to touch him before she passed out. She woke up at 4:00 the following morning and found her clothes “all over the place”. She put them on and went home. A year later she made a report to the police. The matter was investigated and the detectives concluded that they found “…nothing that was credible enough to hold up in court”. So she went the civil route. A non-disclosure settlement was signed and a transfer from Cosby's account to hers made her an instant multimillionaire.
Matt Lauer was a host on the Today show. He was married with three kids and earned US$20 million a year. Brooke Nevils got a job at the station. First she was required to run errands, serve coffee, etc, before moving up to better assignments. She was a member of the station's crew to the Sochi Olympics. One night, after drinking, she went to Lauer's room, twice. About four years later she reported that he raped her on that occasion. Without a proper investigation, a statement was read on-air on the Today show. Keeping his accuser's name private, NBC News said, “Matt Lauer's conduct was appalling, horrific, and reprehensible. That's why he was fired within 24 hours of us first learning of the complaint. Our hearts break again for our colleague”. Lauer's professional life was over. And his family life too, as his wife immediately filed for divorce. Oh, the survivor — that's what #MeToo wants the women who make these charges to be called — Nevils was made an instant millionaire by NBC and was sent home on 'sick leave'.
Virginia Roberts, by her own account, came from a “troubled home” and had been molested by a relative at age seven. She told the Miami Herald that she went from being a runaway to ending up in foster homes. By the age of 13 she had been living with her 65-year-old pimp until he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. So she hooked up with her dad again. He was then working at the property of Jeffrey Epstein's buddy, Donald Trump. She claims that Epstein's girlfriend invited her to give Epstein a massage and she did not need to be trained. She agreed and the visit made an unexpected turn. She was paid and went home simply amazed at the luxury she had just witnessed. The next day, they didn't call. So she called and was told she could come again. That marked the beginning of three years of fabulous living; mansions and money, private jets and jewellery, celebrities and world leaders coming and going and generously posing for photos as they are wont to do. Eventually, she is given money to attend a massage course in Thailand. She meets a man however, and tells Epstein she won't be returning. She marries shortly thereafter. But word of the #MeToo movement reaches her where she is in Australia. She announces that she had been a sex slave. She names a number of prominent figures, who ignore her. She goes through her photo album and finds a picture of Prince Andrew along with her and a third party. Voila! So, she hops on a plane, makes the 16,000 km journey to the tabloids in England to declare that she was “ordered' to have sex with the prince”. She said they did it in a toilet. Prince Andrew was stripped of all his Royal duties and she headed home 160,000 pounds richer. That's more than $27 million of our money.
Andrea Constand states publicly, when she made her second, successful attempt that put Cosby in jail for three to 10 years, that after the incident, “…the sound of his voice over the phone felt like a knife going through my guts... I couldn't eat, sleep, talk, or socialise… then the nightmares started”. I would ask, how does one have these experiences when one is drugged and in an unconscious state during the event? How does Constand explain that, in the ensuing months, her visits to Cosby's house continued. She even took her parents to meet him.
Brooke Nevils returned from Sochi and continued a passionate affair with Lauer in New York, which Lauer admits, regretfully, that he “ended it poorly”. Confronted with this shocking bit of information after the settlement, she admitted that it was true, but dismissed it claiming that, “It was transactional and not romantic.”
Virginia Roberts, now a multimillionaire, spoke of the incident with Prince Andrew thus, “I could not comprehend how it had been allowed to happen. It was scary and wicked. I had just been abused by a member of the Royal family. I feel so horrified and ashamed.” After all the settlements, however, she admits to having sex with the prince on three separate occasions, including one orgy with nine other girls. Also that Epstein also gave her US$10,000 to have sex with the prince on one occasion.
I have been in the company of mature business leaders and have on occasion been appalled at the claims they openly made about how they have used their staff members. Women have told me of the occasions they were required to perform all sorts of sex acts for their bosses and sometimes their friends. They continue, they say, because they have been trapped into thinking that if they continue their job is secure. Some did not have a problem with it. Others did, but they had children and commitments to furniture stores.
The abuse of women, particularly at the workplace, is rampant in Jamaica, and creative ways have to be found to protect our women without them suffering in the process. In the words of one employer who allegedly took his employee to a cottage to do some extra work, raped her before giving her to two of his friends, “Job hard fi find.”
Despite our best efforts, children are being abused, many of them by individuals in the home, particularly 'stepfathers' who seem to change on a quarterly basis. This is our greatest challenge. But a Jamaican version of the #MeToo movement in the US is definitely not the answer. That organisation does not allow sexual assault allegations to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It does not acknowledge the possibility that women lie. It equates very unequal kinds of sexual misdeeds. The movement does not facilitate a thoughtful discussion about sexual assault. It impedes the discussion; promoting, in the process, mass hysteria, demanding our unthinking participation. It refuses to answer questions or entertain rational critiques.
Delroy Chuck is a politician, so he is not allowed to speak the truth. It is unlikely that anybody will vote for me so I can afford to be truthful. #MeToo is about vengeance. Egged on by feminists, every failed actress, everyone who did not get that job or that loan can even the score with some spurious, “..He tried to kiss me in his office 15 years ago. I haven't been able to sleep since.” Or , “He tried to molest me in the 70s, I am still having thoughts of... “ Then they leave with a cheque and someone's marriage and lifelong career in tatters. This is not every case, but the doors can't be so wide open they accommodate it.
Glenn Tucker, MBA, is an educator and a sociologist. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or email@example.com.
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