I recently watched a fascinating TED talk on my iPad. There’s a lot to learn at TED.com (which stands for Technology, Engineering and Design), where their taped live presentations cover a variety of fields — medicine, music, history, communication, education and much more.
The short talk I viewed had a long, descriptive title: “What happened when we tested thousands of abandoned rape kits in Detroit.”
The speaker was Prosecutor Kym Worthy of Wayne County, Michigan (bit.ly/RapeKitsDetroit), who shared the shocking information that, in Detroit, more than 11,000 women and girls who were violently raped had received no justice, because their rape kits had simply been shelved in a police warehouse for 25 years.
Regardless of your political leanings, I want to encourage you to watch this riveting story. It is NOT a partisan issue. I was angered and frustrated,but heartened by the innovative approach that Worthy employed to tackle Detroit’s bureaucratic nightmare and solve the underlying crimes.
I also learned that Detroit’s situation is not unique. Hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested in police departments and crime lab storage facilities across the country. And, yes, we’re no paradigm of virtue here in California (read “Efforts to clear California’s rape kit testing backlog fall short” at bit.ly/CA-RapeKitBacklog).
So why this topic in this column?
The Left likes to bellow about #MeToo. And while there is some truth in what they say, I contend that the focus needs to be on real victims and real criminals, rather than politically motivated, unreported, uncorroborated, decades-old stories.
It’s time for women’s rights advocates to learn from prosecutor Worthy and put serious effort toward eradicating forcible sexual assault and the government malfeasance surrounding it, instead of flipping their wigs over crude remarks and unwanted advances.
“We believe survivors,” the mobs chant, ejecting legislators from restaurants and clawing at the doors of government offices. But who, exactly, do they believe? All survivors? To this day, no one on the Left wants to believe Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, survivors of one William Jefferson Clinton.
And yet they were quick to believe Crystal Gail Mangum. In 2006, she leveled charges of sexual assault in North Carolina against members of the Duke University lacrosse team. Her narrative “fit” preconceived notions of race and class, and she was proudly heralded as a black victim of a “gang of white males.” Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the media were quick to support her story.
Only one problem” It was all a lie. The young men were innocent. And this wasn’t the first time Mangum had leveled such false charges.
Jump forward to 2018, and we find Julie Swetnick. With support from ill-famed attorney Michael Avenatti, she told the nation that Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh had drugged and gang-raped women in the 1980s. So outrageous were these claims that Swetnick and Avenatti have been referred to the FBI for criminal investigation.
Again, I ask, are women to be believed always? To say yes is a denial of history. And to equate accusation with guilt means that half the population has no constitutional right to presumption of innocence. (Anyone read “To Kill a Mockingbird”?) No, not all women tell the truth. To believe otherwise is to ignore reality and to willfully stand in opposition to our historical and legal principles of justice. And while the majority of female accusers DO tell the truth, those who level false charges cast a pall of doubt on all sexual assault claims.
The #MeToo movement has called attention to an important issue. We want women who have been physically and/or emotionally injured to come forward without fear of reprisal. They should be taken seriously. But can we please focus on justice for genuine victims? Like making sure that rape kits don’t sit on shelves for 10 to 20 years!
So here we sit in beautiful Santa Clarita, population around 200,000. And we know our hometown consistently ranks among the safest cities in the nation. Crime statistics from a recent L.A. County sheriff’s report reveal that there were 57 rapes in our community in 2017, up a tiny percentage from the prior year. Were rape kits for those victims prepared? Processed? Were arrests made?
For any #MeToo’ers out there in SCV, perhaps our local sheriff can provide those answers. And maybe you want to move the ball even further forward, by giving your attention to www.endthebacklog.org.
Patricia Suzanne is a professional writer, retired small business owner, and conservative Republican activist. She lives in a modest Newhall home, where the money required for annual property taxes could pay a full year’s rent on a two-bedroom house in Arkansas. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays, and rotates among local Republicans.