History Repeats Itself: The Salem Witch Trials in 2018

Disclaimer: In no way is this article intended to diminish the experiences of true sexual assault victims. This article’s main purpose is to expose the growing number of situations in which the #MeToo movement’s concept is manipulated and wrongfully wielded as a way to sidestep due process, and how that misuse punishes American men.

 

Jenna Spray

Three hundred and twenty six years after the Salem Witch Trials, the United States’ political landscape is watching history repeat itself. The #MeToo movement has become a scene out of The Crucible; anyone who dares question the validity of its incessant claims is forevermore branded a misogynist, ignorant, insensitive, or worse.

Although the movement began with the pure intentions of justice for victims of sexual assault, the #MeToo movement has evolved and grown out of control, as it begins to recklessly destroy reputations, careers, and families with false allegations and irresponsible targeting of men. The men — witches — are executed, instead of being crushed by boulders or hanged like in 1692, their character, livelihoods, and personal lives are destroyed, even if they are proven innocent.

Most recently, Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh was prepared to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, until a classmate from thirty-six years ago suddenly stepped forward and accused him of sexual assault. Coincidentally, the letter that she sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was withheld by the Senator for almost two months before she chose to release it in September, the month that Kavanaugh was to be voted into the highest court in the land. The alleged victim, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, did not go to authorities or alert anyone of this misconduct during Kavanaugh’s decades of public service – not when he worked on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, nor when he served on President Bush’s legal team. Dr. Ford claims she is coming forward now because it is her “civic duty,” since Judge Kavanaugh may be confirmed to the Supreme Court. However, red flags raise when you begin to wonder why she feels Kavanaugh wouldn’t have assaulted other women after her, a situation she could have had a hand in preventing if she had properly reported the incident. Civic duty requires people to report others who may be dangerous to the general population. Was the possibility of Kavanaugh going on to abuse other women not important enough for her to come forward sooner? It appears that only the possibility of another right-leaning justice joining the Supreme Court was enough to propel Dr. Ford into completing her self-proclaimed “civic duty.”

Dr. Ford alleges she was pushed into a room where Judge Kavanaugh aggressively touched her and tried to take her clothes off at a high school party. He was seventeen, she was fifteen. She does not know the time, date, or location of the party. She doesn’t know who drove her to the party or drove her home. She does not know who pushed her into that room (she later changed this statement and claimed it was Kavanaugh himself). She also doesn’t know who was at the party with her. More recently, she doesn’t know the date of or who paid for her polygraph. However, she is “100% sure” it was Brett Kavanaugh who assaulted her thirty-six years ago.

Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) outburst during the hearing on Thursday, September 27th made headlines. He addressed the Democrats in the room:

If you wanted an FBI investigation you could have come to us! What you want is to destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that, not me . . . When you see [Justices] Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello to them, because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy! This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.

Senator Graham alluded to the current political overtones of the whole confirmation process, claiming that Dr. Ford is a political pawn who is just as much a victim of the Democratic agenda as Brett Kavanaugh himself. The hearing began that morning with Democratic senators attempting to adjourn it to review new documents that were conveniently received less than fifteen hours prior. This speaks directly to Senator Lindsey Graham’s and Senator Ted Cruz’s allegations that the opposition’s priority is to distract and delay the hearing and eventual vote for the confirmation of a Republican-chosen Supreme Court justice.

Dr. Ford’s testifying under these circumstances discredits every woman who has ever been sexually assaulted and discounted. It is disrespectful and irresponsible for a party who claims to be the champion of women to orchestrate such a situation that will set sexual assault victims back yet again. They are showing that political power is more important than Dr. Ford’s experiences, if they are true.

The manner in which this situation has been handled is unfortunate for everyone involved. It will no doubt lead to consequences as the American public puts together the puzzle pieces and forms a more vibrant picture of the blatant alternative motivations of the Democratic party during this politically bifurcated time in our country.

Brett Kavanaugh is just one of many men who are being accused of sexual assault with little to no evidence against them. In America, we believe in due process and the general precedent of the accused’s innocence until proven guilty. When #MeToo activists determine that they can’t prove a so-called victim was assaulted, they turn to systematic character assassination of the alleged attacker.

Sexism can go both ways. Women used to be challenged and even frequently ignored when it came to sexual assault, but in 2018, we have the opposite issue — women are automatically assumed to be telling the truth, even when they are backed by no factual evidence. For example, protestors held up the hundreds of “I believe her” signs on Capitol Hill and created thousands of social media posts supporting Ford, even though they had little to no facts on the matter. The similarities between the illogical and purely subjective Salem Witch Trials and the increasingly questionable #MeToo movement should alarm every male in America right now, as both the political and psychological consequences of this familiar path are dark and, at this point, unavoidable.

The danger of immediately assuming guilt can harm not only the men who are being wrongfully accused, but also the entire American judicial system. Once the public realizes due process is no longer accepted as a natural procession of the court, our judicial system will crumble. If due process goes, what will be next? There is no clear answer, but we have stumbled into this tricky situation before: three hundred and twenty-six years ago, during the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. If we as Americans do not act swiftly, the movement that began with pure and noble intentions will end up right beside the Salem Witch Trials in the history books. It will be remembered as a failure that recklessly and brutally humiliated innocent husbands, sons, neighbors, and friends as we, the general public, watched in silence. We will be remembered for being paralyzed and too afraid to confront those taking advantage of a movement that was originally conceived to liberate victims, not create new victims of a different kind of assault.