Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I was reading about the Foley case, and something suddenly hit me. I finally understood something that some folks had said that was, frankly, completely nonsensical.

Some folks (including Newt Gingrich) have suggested that investigating the earlier reports of inappropriate contact involving Mark Foley would have led to accusations of gay-bashing, because Foley is gay.

And I just couldn't figure that out.

Look, what do you do if you hear about a possibility of inappropriate contact between a Representative, and a page?

You make sure that every single page (and every former page for the past few years) knows who to talk to about such things, and make sure that they know it is perfectly safe to come forward. You talk to the accused, and say there'll be an investigation, so, if there's anyone else who might complain, it's time to come clean. And then, you investigate every complaint that comes in. If there are sufficiently many (or sufficiently bad) complaints, you take action.

How could that be gay bashing?

That's when I realized that, the odds are, the thoughts of protecting the victims probably never crossed the mind of these people. They're not thinking about how to protect pages; they're thinking about how to punish Foley, and nothing else.

It explains how people like this can be so rough on the victims, always ready to suggest that the accusation is false, and the victim is a liar. They don't think about the victim, and think how horrible it is to be assaulted, molested, harassed, or abused. They just think about the accused, and whether or not they're willing to believe the accused is a horrible monster.

If not, they're perfectly willing to vilify the accuser... because if you don't want to vilify a friend or colleague, why not vilify an innocent victim?

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