The Dark Side Of #MeToo [Opinion]

The #MeToo movement has become a force to be reckoned with, as allegation after allegation of sexual misconduct topples one high-profile male figure after another.

From big names in Hollywood, Congressmen in Washington, corporate executives, and even a former and a current president, #MeToo has cast an ever-widening net that has ensnared a considerable number of powerful men.

The revival of #MeToo has brought much-needed attention to a problem that has often been marginalized and mostly ignored. The undertaking also sent a clear message to those who would use their power and position for abuse, that such behavior will no longer be tolerated.

As powerful men continue to fall like dominoes aligned in a row, the influence of #MeToo and its far-reaching consequences have become very clear. However, for all its empowerment and good intent, the crusade also harbors a potential dark side.

While the outpouring of support surrounding #MeToo helps the movement spread, it is also fertile ground for false and career-ending allegations to be leveled against innocents as well. Just as many movements start with good intentions, there are always some who lurk in the shadows, waiting to manipulate them for nefarious purposes.

The very nature of a sexual harassment allegation can sometimes be as subjective as it can be serious. Something as seemingly harmless as a compliment can possibly be viewed as sexual harassment, depending on how someone perceives it.

This is in no way implying anything disparaging, but simply to underscore the subtleties and nuances that can make the difference between a well-meaning statement and an inappropriate remark.

heather unruh at press conference
Heather Unruh gives a tearful account of the alleged sexual assault of her teen son. [Image by Bill Sikes/AP Images]

While any kind sexual assault is indefensible, in all fairness, there is the distinct possibility that untrue allegations could be leveled against someone for several reasons. Whether used as means to eliminate a rival co-worker, for financial or political gain, or just plain malice, the possibility of this potent theme being used to do harm does exist.

As #MeToo continues to bring better awareness to the plights of many who are targeted by predatory bosses and others in power, it also brings cause for wariness as well. It is this growing concern that makes #MeToo a blessing and a curse.

But how can we discern the truths from the lies? The fact that all of these accused men are of considerable power and wealth is a double-edged sword because they are in positions to secretly do such things, but they could also conceivably have been targets. However, the sheer number of allegations leveled against some of these men makes it unlikely that all of their accusers are not being truthful.

Conversely, when alleged victims come forward with accusations from many years past with no clear motive to falsely accuse their assailants, the truth does weigh heavily in favor of the alleged victims.

When listening to someone like Leigh Corfman recount her alleged inappropriate sexual contact with U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore, at 14, it tugs at the heartstrings. Hearing former journalist Heather Unruh tearfully describing her teen son’s alleged ordeal at the hands of Kevin Spacey, begs the question of how widespread is this kind of conduct within circles of influence and power.

Perhaps the most disturbing facet of this literal mountain of claims aimed at so many powerful men is the possibility that all of them could be true.

If this is the case, does it prove that great power truly is a corrupter of souls, or just a vehicle for use by the already-wicked, or both?

[Featured Image by AP Images, File]