With so many predators tumbling out of the distant past, #MeToo could well be a hereditary thing. The most illustrious of men, even those dead, are dodging allegations of pawing or rape. With both victim and perpetrator no more, these reveals trace back the sport of groping to ancient times. Making a pass was always in their blood, in their DNA; when in doubt pinch-a-bottom would seem the general edict. But the new anti-rape cry, ‘Wanted dead or alive’, hopes to stop those hands from straying in a posthumous whodunit of sorts.
After we gasped over the revelations about Martin Luther King Jr, there are new and entirely libidinous disclosures about sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov. Even the freshly deceased are not spared; a reporter mentioned the sexual assault case against basketball player Kobe Bryant as soon as he died, despite suspension by her newspaper.
Bill Cosby, Hollywood’s darling dad, looked increasingly bewildered with every court appearance. The monotony of his modus operandi—a cut-paste job of drug-rape-repeat—seemed to stun even him.
When famous figures down the line, and up the line, decide to venerate their own sexual needs, an automatic wall of discretion is put into place around them. Prince Andrew’s silence, indeed his mocking repartee to Virginia Roberts’ claim of one-sided intimacy with him, adds to the mystery of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s death in custody. Did he kill himself or did someone kill him for his own good? The bro code may be superior to sisterhood after all.
Women have been wiped out for not cooking, not cleaning, not simpering, not keeping their mouth shut. Even historical seductresses like Marilyn Monroe bid goodbye by unglamorous means, leaving behind the powerful men they partied with to continue. The novel Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll goes into a casual but well-orchestrated gang-rape by a set of posh boys. The victim is a desperately ‘cool’ girl who wants to take it in her stride because rape is a dirty word, right? Rape is what happens to others; not to educated and smart women like us. It took Knoll some time to own up to that incident as a real-life one, saying, ‘I was so conditioned to not talk about it.’
Women who may not work it out in the moment do tend to figure it out later. Indeed, when an accusation pops up against their own abuser, by habit they may even rush over to defend, having misunderstood the abuse as romantic or consensual. Though molesters operate purely on a ‘first come first abused’ basis, women plunge into self-doubt, thinking themselves provocateurs, even if they were two years old when the incident occurred. But later or sooner, they pop out of the woodwork with a ‘boo’. Boys will be boys—a saying coined by a doting mom or an embarrassed wife—but when will they become men? Adult, responsible and grown-up enough to say, yes, I did that, guilty as charged. Look the victim in the eye and apologise. Not stammer and stumble, like Harvey Weinstein. If sex crimes are a man thing, then suing is a girl thing. Even post-dated suing. Women like to chase too, you know.
Versa Vice Shinie Antony Author