Let the Rehabilitations Begin (Actually, Don't)

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

In January, I wrote:
So, I have been less optimistic about the lasting impact of the current spate of exposures of sexual predators than many other people have been — and the reason is because I have written about the rape culture for 13 years now, and among the many things I have learned is that our culture loves to rehabilitate abusive men.

Yes, some men have lost their jobs and suffered a bit of public humiliation. Men who are millionaires; men who will be just fine.

At the same time, in the middle of what is frequently called "the #MeToo moment," its very moniker suggesting an inherent transience, Mel Gibson made a comeback in a mainstream holiday franchise, despite infamously having sexually harassed a police officer, having been recorded verbally abusing his girlfriend, and having pleaded "no contest" to domestic violence charges.

Roman Polanski is still making movies. Woody Allen is still making movies. Johnny Depp is still making movies. Michael Fassbender, Christian Bale, the Affleck brothers, Terrence Howard, Gary Oldman, Jared Leto, and dozens of other men are still A-level celebrities after being accused of domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

Some of them have never even faced much public scrutiny for their abuse. Some of them have been vociferously defended and their accusers vilified.

Plenty of men, from Charlie Sheen to Mike Tyson, have benefited from second and third and fourth chances, even after they have confessed to or been convicted of violent crimes against women.

I am not remotely convinced that this dynamic has changed. Regretfully, I expect that following these recent disclosures, after some "reasonable" period of time, then the rehabilitations will begin.
About three months, as it turns out.

Every time I write about this, I get pushback along the lines of: Doesn't everyone deserve a second chance? And, honestly, I don't even know what that is supposed to mean, when Louis CK, for example, was not arrested, not tried, not convicted, not jailed, not held civilly liable, not forced to pay restitution, not compelled to abide by anything resembling a meting out of justice after confessing to what are criminal acts of sexual abuse.

He is a multimillionaire who has maybe lost some opportunity to make even more money.

So, really, all we're talking about is a "second chance" to be famous. To have power and influence. To have access to women whom he may harm by leveraging his fame, power, and influence.

If there is any chance for a man like Louis CK to be truly rehabilitated, restoring his power, and the attendant entitlement and privilege, isn't part of that equation.

It's his humanity that needs rehabilitation, not his career.

And we have plenty of evidence that abusive men handed more power and additional chances will exploit it all to do more harm.

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