Judge Kavanaugh’s Nomination Raises Difficult Truths about How We Socialize Men and Boys

Greg Loughlin

Men Stopping Violence

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior – and the behavior of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby and so many men with power – holds a disturbing mirror up to our society and how we socialize men and boys. Specifically, too many boys are prepared and trained to expect access to women and girls’ bodies at will, and to use tactics to get their way. And too many men with privilege are allowed to violate women because they have that privilege.

As Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh decide whether to testify next week, the Senate and the public prepare to evaluate how loyal Kavanaugh has been to that pervasive script of male entitlement. In doing so, let’s keep the following principles Men Stopping Violence has learned over 35 years of working with men:

• Accountability is necessary for justice for survivors. It is an essential part of the community saying, “We believe you; this should not have happened, and we want to do what we can to repair the damage and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else in the future.” As a community, we owe it to survivors to hold perpetrators accountable;

• Accountability for men who violate women leads to more safety for women and girls. If men who abuse women know they can get away with it, they probably will;

• It is also critically important to understand that accountability is in men’s interests if we want to have meaningful and respectful relationships with women. In the long term, it is in men’s interests to be accountable for our actions and choices; and,

• Community accountability is critical to ending male violence against women and girls. We need to demand accountability for systems and institutions—including our representatives in the US House and Senate—when they obfuscate and delay to maintain a status quo that supports male sexual violence.

Despite his well-documented violation and disrespect of women, Donald Trump was elected president. As facts emerge about Brett Kavanaugh, we may well have the opportunity to make a different choice and to send a different message to women, girls, boys and men. Are we willing to make a different choice?