OPINION: Nobody Wins When Sexual Assault Gets Political

John Conyers (D-MI), Roy Moore (R-AL), and Al Franken (D-MN) have all recently been accused of sexual assault of women in some fashion. (photos: Getty Images)

Two months after the Weinstein accusations, we are learning that our highest ranking elected officials are not as clean as the virtues they preach.

Three of the most prominent men in D.C. that have been accused of sexual assault are senatorial candidate Roy Moore (R-AL), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).  As the highest degree of lawmaking in this country, the entire country should treat these men with the same animosity that the country has treated the accused men in Hollywood, right? Seems pretty obvious.

Well, that’s not the route our politicians have taken. Sexual assault has become a political issue, and no one is going to benefit from this. And, it has already backfired on both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was asked about the allegations on Conyers on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and she quickly defended him.

“We are strengthened by due process,” said Pelosi.  “Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women.”

Nancy Pelosi during a press conference earlier this year (JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS).

Here’s the thing. Pelosi is right about due process. No one should be deemed guilty of anything as grave as sexual assault until there is strong, conclusive evidence to prove the victim’s account. I think almost everyone can agree on that.

But Pelosi is being a massive hypocrite here. Once the allegations against Moore, who is actively campaigning for a senate spot for Alabama, shocked voters and politicians everywhere, Pelosi slammed him and his Republican colleagues. Pelosi, and her fellow democrats on Capitol Hill, did not allow for any form of “due process” for the allegations against Moore. Political analysts are all in agreement that her comments defending Conyers helped Moore’s chances in winning a senate spot.

Pelosi later went on to publicly request Conyers’ resignation from the House of Representatives, only after she received harsh backlash from both Democrats and Republicans for defending Conyers.

Republican and Democrat senators showed massive support for the resignation of Franken earlier this week, which led to his immediate resignation on Thursday, Dec. 7. In his resignation speech, Franken, had this to say about President Donald Trump:

“I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”

If these allegations against Moore and Trump are factual, then yes, it is ironic. But with all due respect, Mr. Franken, you have absolutely no right on this earth to bring up any other alleged cases of sexual assault on the day of your resignation. Your resignation has nothing to do with anyone else but you and your mistreatment of women. Period. And it is quite “ironic” for someone who was photographed sexually handling a sleeping female reporter to try and tell us how we handle other sexual assault cases.

Now that the Democrats have called out Conyers and Franken to resign, even though it was terribly handled by Pelosi and many other congressmen, the next move is to be made by the Republicans. It is time for them to stop defending Roy Moore.

This whole ordeal on Capitol Hill over these sexual assault cases has done absolutely nothing but hurt both parties and the women involved. The focus on these cases, especially the Franken and Moore cases, is no longer standing with victims of sexual assault. It is now a contest to see which party “does the right thing more often.”

Because sexual assault has become such a politically-charged issue, we simply lose the ability to sort out fact from fiction. That, therefore, makes it easier to lie about sexual assault for political gain. Unless one of these many women coming fourth about being assaulted by President Trump has conclusive and hard evidence to prove their story, nothing will happen to his presidency. The political power of sexual assault accusations has become a powerful tool, and unfortunately, it is not easy to tell if someone is misusing it.

TIME magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year is “Silence Breakers” in the wake of many women coming forward about sexual assault.

Yes, these allegations against our politicians shine a light on the consequences of sexual assault, but as for the victims themselves, what is politicizing them accomplishing? The women here are either being called heroes or liars. Do you really think that is going to heal their scars?

Bottom line: we are putting politics ahead of the victims, and that should shame politicians everywhere.

You would hope that something as serious as sexual assault would finally be the topic where politicians and the everyday citizen would drop their party lines, but it seems as if we are incapable of doing that. Hopefully, our elected officials will be more wise when it comes to how a civilized society handles sexual assault.


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