This is definitely a weird story.
While it’s always fun to glory in the hypocrisy of a high-level Democrat–or at least, Democrat apointee–in this case, it seems that an outspoken #MeToo advocate might have overreacted just a tad.
But isn’t that one of the failures of #MeToo, anyway? The lines have been blurred between violent sexual assault and inappropriate touching or comments. The latter, while immoral and inappropriate, are very dangerous to conflate with actual assault, for the very serious concern that one might be used to minimize the other.
If victims are to believed, and advocated for, and allowed to create a culture in which sexual harassment is no longer acceptable, shouldn’t we be allowed to distinguish between slightly creepy behavior towards women and downright violation?
Here’s the deal: the Obama-appointed former director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, was arrested and charged with “forcible touching, third-degree sexual abuse and harassment” of a long-time acquaintance at an event at his apartment in NYC.
The Daily Wire explains:
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, former head of the CDC under President Barack Obama, allegedly squeezed the posterior of a 55-year-old female friend whom he had known for 30 years while she was leaving an event at his apartment in Brooklyn Heights back in October 2017. By the woman’s own account, Frieden did this while their spouses weren’t looking and apologized later, blaming the alleged incident on personal problems. Yet nearly six months later, the woman – described by the New York Times as “a vocal #MeToo activist” prior to the incident – decided to write an article about how she was no longer merely an activist but now a “victim.”
She didn’t name her “abuser,” as the Times described Frieden, but three months after she wrote her article, she went to police and told them about the butt-grabbing nine months earlier.
Some believe that while Frieden was certainly deserving of a good telling-off, going to the police may not have necessarily been warranted.
“The Factual Feminist” Christina Hoff Sommers took to Twitter to raise this question, using the appropriate hashtag #SexPanic:
What? Former Head of C.D.C. arrested for allegedly grabbing behind of longtime female friend at family party—a year ago. Isn’t proper response to tell him to buzz off. Call cops—a year later? And he gets arrested? #SexPanic https://t.co/PNxevBmjFi
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) August 25, 2018
This is a valid question. In the era of #MeToo, in many ways, women are weaker than ever, perhaps deprived of the necessary attitudes and tools to appropriately react to unwanted sexual attention after decades of “sexual liberation.”
If our society still had the black-and-white lines between what kind of interactions between to married people–or unmarried, for that matter–most women wouldn’t think twice slapping a man across the face for grabbing her rear, rather than wring her hands and write angsty op-eds for a year before going to the police.
Victimizing women, or anyone, sexually is a serious matter, but the real way to empower victims is to resurrect the lamentably dead social standards that once kept women safe, and to hold both men and women to the high standard of sexual virtue once again.