by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joanna Williams writes for the Martin Center about the impact of the #MeToo movement on college campuses.
Universities have long been concerned with an alleged rape culture and #MeToo adds further fuel to existing campaigns—but at what cost to higher education and students’ lives?
Many argue that #MeToo has provided a much-needed check on Hollywood’s sexist exploitation of women and has shone a useful light on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. The burgeoning movement has grown to encompass a wide range of behaviors from rape and sexual assault to unwanted hugs and clumsy seductions. Campaigners say offenses against women are on a continuum: the unwanted hug legitimizes men’s entitlement to women’s bodies and therefore rape. But this argument serves to trivialize the most serious crimes as equivalent moral outrage is dispensed for both misconstrued affection and serious criminal offenses.
What is more, we appear to be jettisoning long-established principles of justice as men have been found guilty in the court of social media and lost reputation and livelihood before they have had any formal opportunity to defend themselves. Casey Affleck, Kevin Spacey, Ed Westwick, and Michael Douglas are just a few from a long list of high-profile figures publicly accused and besmirched without yet having been tried in a court of law. Women, meanwhile, become seen as victims, better known for having suffered and endured than for what they have achieved.
The #MeToo movement has received less publicity on campus than in other walks of life because, here at least, it represents little that is new.