A year after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’” prompted a flood of replies across social media, America faces a retrograde movement- the white male-washing of the “HimToo” hashtag.
Following Brett Kavanaugh’s recent trial and confirmation as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, conservatives flooded social media with support, and talk of false accusations became a hot topic.
After a mom posted a picture of her son saying he “won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations” and used the “HimToo” hashtag, the internet community began making memes, and a new movement was born.
The #HimToo movement was initially created to eradicate the silence around male sexual assault victims.
Well, good job Twitter.
You’ve empowered conservatives, primarily white males, to start complaining about problems they don’t even face.
But we need to discuss and stop this before it gets out of hand. White men need to chill and stop feeling threatened.
Claiming the “HimToo” hashtag to fit a virtually nonexistent niche is a slap in the face to black men, who actually have to worry about being accused, and male sexual assault victims, who were using the hashtag as a support system.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only 2-10% of rape accusations have been fake over the past 20 years.
To put this into perspective, realize that every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
This means that roughly 882 people experience sexual violence in this country every day, but only one out of every three cases are reported according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
So ultimately, only about six to 30 or of almost 300 reported cases a day are false accusations. When it comes to black men, there is a rich history of us being falsely accused. Take the stories of the Scottsboro Boys and Emmett Till for instance.
The Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenagers who were falsely accused of raping two white women aboard a train near Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931.
Initially, eight of them were sentenced to death. There were many trials and mistrials, but evidence has shown that the men were innocent.
As for Till, he was falsely accused of flirting with a white woman at the age of 14 and brutally murdered four days later. The woman has since said her allegations were false.
This was in 1955, 63 years ago, but I remember black boys at my predominantly white middle school getting accused of touching or messing around with white girls- this was in 2011.
While black people represent 13% of the U.S. population, they represent 47% of the 1,900 case exonerations, or official absolving from blame, in the National Registry of Exonerations.
When it comes to sexual assault crimes that have been exonerated, the innocent were 59% black and 34% white.
Taking all this into account, it’s clear that white men need to chill and not wish an actual problem for others onto themselves.
Also, the people who are scared to get accused should have left the the hashtag to male sexual assault victims which amounts to one in every 33 men in America, according to RAINN.
When it comes to college campuses, the frequency increases to one in 16 men, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
These victims found solace in the mounting #HimToo movement, until the white men decided to take it and twist its meaning.
Hopefully, these victims can still find solace in the “MeToo” hashtag, as it encompasses all sexual assault survivors.
And after all, the hashtag was never meant to exclude, but include everyone into the ongoing discussion about sexual assault in America.
Ultitmately, it isn’t too late to solve this problem and it seems pretty easy to do so.
White men who fear false accusations need to realize that this isn’t your problem.
Stop worrying about losing your job or getting arrested, because as evidenced by all high-profile cases involving a white male, the law is always on your side, false or not.
Stop making jokes like, “I was going to say I like her shirt, but I didn’t want to get in trouble for looking at her boobs or something.”
It’s not cool, and you thinking that way shows that you don’t even understand what the #MeToo movement is about.
Finally, as the late great Aretha Franklin said, “Respect, just a little bit.” That’s the key to fixing most problems.
Just listening and respecting whomever you’re reacting with will more often than not prevent false accusations, if you’re white that is.