Keith Ellison Abuse Allegations: #BelieveAllWomen . . . When it's Convenient

"If men are held accountable for their actions if and only if it is politically convenient to do so, then is it safe to say that the #MeToo movement has failed?"

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Whether it's a liberal Muslim politician or an evangelical pastor or an ACLU atheist, in matters of justice the hashtag ought to be #BelieveOnlyEvidence

Jay's picture

And we're right back where we always start with this discussion:

When Rachael Denhollander reported that Larry Nassar had sexually abused her when she was a teenage gymnast, she came armed with information that sealed Nassar’s fate.

It was the fall of 2016 when Denhollander reported Nassar, then a world-renowned physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, to the MSU Police Department. She also filed a Title IX report with the school.

Other girls had sounded the alarm about Nassar over the previous two decades — yet no one discovered his criminal behavior.

Denhollander arrived at MSU years after Nassar assaulted her. She was an attorney, ready for a battle with a thick folder of documents.

Among them: her medical records, journals, the names of four pelvic floor specialists, a USA Gymnastics-certified coach she had told about Nassar’s conduct, an index of medical journal articles on legitimate pelvic floor techniques, a character letter reference and a memo that outlined how her complaint met every element of Michigan law defining first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

If Denhollander hadn't been an attorney, and hadn't carefully prepared to go to war with not just Nassar and USOG, would she have been believed? 

Or would she have been swept under the giant green rug and remained just another voiceless victim?  What about all the other women who reported, and gave evidence, and were summarily silenced or ignored?  Would Nassar still be practicing medicine and watching child porn?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Whether it's a liberal Muslim politician or an evangelical pastor or an ACLU atheist, in matters of justice the hashtag ought to be #BelieveOnlyEvidence

The testimony of the ex-girlfriend and her son is evidence.  Criminals are convicted on this kind of testimony all the time--a recent example being Larry Nassar.  Two others who are likely to go to jail in the same debacle on the same kind of evidence are John Strampel and Kathee Klages.

Now certainly the testimony would be stronger if the ex-girlfriend released the tape she's talking about, but let's not claim there's no evidence here.  

Update: the reason Denhollander went in with all the medical journal articles and such was that she knew that medical offenders will try to characterize abuse as therapy.  In fact, although she didn't know it at the time, previous investigations of abuse to Larissa Boyce and Amanda Thomashow had come to precisely that conclusion on the basis of testimony of colleagues/friends of Nassar.  At the core of what put Nassar in jail, however, was witness testimony by Rachael Denhollander, Larissa Boyce, Amanda Thomashow, and over 300 others.  #Heroes.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

If he's not pushed out, has #MeToo failed?  Um, just ask Larry Nassar, Al Franken, Porky Weinstein, John Strampel, Kathee Klages, Baylor U., USC, OSU, the Vatican, and a bunch of others.  Just read an article today about how the NEA and AFT appear to have prevented meaningful reform of statutes of limitations because their problem dwarfs that of even the Vatican.

It's my hope and prayer that #MeToo compiles the evidence we need to take things seriously and get people the help they need.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

In a court situation, the word of the accuser is not the evidence that counts. What counts is the evidence that the word of the accuser is true.  ... which I thought was too widely understood to be worth saying, but I guess not.

My point is that in all this public venting and emoting and other forms of non-thinking, everyone seems to assume that there are only two possible responses to an accusation: believe the accuser or believe the defense. But there is a third response, and this is the one most of us belong in: suspended judgment. I guess saying "I don't know what the truth is" just requires too much honest humility... and I shouldn't be so idealistic.

But anybody can bandy a hashtag these days: how about this one... #BelieveNobody

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

For those wearing rose colored glasses about #MeToo...  (all written by women.... #BelieveAllWomen ;-) )

There's much more, but I'm pressed for time.

My point is not that zero good has come out of #MeToo. It's obvious that some good has come out of it. My point is that like all popular uprisings, there is much bad with the good and many unintended consequences. Social Media riots are not "the answer" to anything.

Lee's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

In a court situation, the word of the accuser is not the evidence that counts. What counts is the evidence that the word of the accuser is true.  ... which I thought was too widely understood to be worth saying, but I guess not.

...

Deut. 19:16FF gives the prescription for handling possibly false accusation--"...the judges shall make diligent inquisition...".  Not only is what you are saying good law/practice but it is according to scripture.

I would have a lot more confidence in movements like #metoo if they were a bit more grounded in the reality of law, proof, etc. , and especially if they were much more concerned with doing right in a right way instead of making shrill, thoughtless internet appeals randomly destroying peoples reputations whether they deserve it or not.

 

Lee

Bert Perry's picture

I would wager my house that Rachael Denhollander, licensed to practice law in California, knows a heck of a lot more about the law than most people commenting here.  So what is this nonsense about #MeToo not being grounded in the reality of law?   I would also wager that John Manly, who's won over a billion dollars in settlements for the victims of sexual abuse, knows a wee bit more as well.  Both agree (as one who sees my links will observe) that social media have an important role in outing sexual assault.  Poke around a bit and you'll find a lot more, including most of the primary investigators of Larry Nassar and the judge who put him in the pokey for a century.

Belittle social media if you like, but the simple fact is that a lot of people who know a lot more about the law than anyone here are (a) supporters of #MeToo and (b) enthusiastic users of social media to communicate that message.  Social media is just a tool that can be used well or poorly, with or without valuable attributions.  It is not inherently better or worse than other means of communication.

Regarding the claim of people's lives being unjustly impacted, please.   The closest you come is Andy Puzder, and the simple fact is that his nomination was DOA because he ticked off both sides of the aisle and the middle by failing to pay taxes on behalf of an illegal immigrant servant, and because he was against both the minimum wage and overtime regulations.  The accusations of his ex-wife, which are probably at least partially true, were just icing on the cake.

And yes, they were retracted, but given that she'd made them twice under oath, as well as on Oprah, with evidence that would be traceable, suggests some reality to them.  Domestic violence and sexual abuse testimony is sometimes hard to follow because of issues like shame, time, and quite frankly the fact that domestic violence victims (like my mom) often wanted out of the relationship, but not to destroy the lives of their exes.  I'm guessing that's what's going on with Puzder's ex, as well as Ellison's.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

instead of making shrill, thoughtless internet appeals randomly destroying peoples reputations whether they deserve it or not.

Lee,

As someone who has read quite a few of those 'shrill, thoughtless' appeals, and as someone who has provided counsel to the families of multiple rape and abuse victims and the victims themselves, let me encourage you to take a deep breath and think about what you just said.

According to RAINN, 690 cases out of 1,000 cases will never even be reported.  57 of a thousand will result in an arrest, and only 11 perpetrators will ever be criminally prosecuted.  Of those 11, 6 will be incarcerated.

There is a middle ground between writing off the allegations wholesale and supporting every one who claims to be a victim.  I'd suggest that you think about how to straddle that divide if you want to have any kind of audience with people who are badly broken in this way.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Lee's picture

"...the judges shall make diligent inquisition..."

Unless I missed something there are properly ordained authorities to judge such matters--civil and/or church--that are scripturally tasked for confirming or negating allegations, and social media is not one of them.  

We practice what we believe.  I happen to believe the scriptural prescription even though I am well aware that human nature and sinful injustice may play a part in this fallen world.  

If there were perfect scenarios Naboth would have kept his vineyard, but sin has seen to it that there are not. That does not change my mind about the rightness of scripture in how to judge matters.  What it does do is make me long for the day when Jesus will reign in perfect righteousness, justice, and mercy.   

Lee

Bert Perry's picture

....if the judges do not, Lee?  Let's keep in mind that no less than eight reports were made to MSU by victims of Larry Nassar, and they screwed up every one.  ABWE had even more, as did BJU.  The supposed authorities also screwed up in the cases of sexual assault Paige Patterson dealt with at SEBTS and SWBTS.  Are the victims supposed to suffer in silence while corrupt authorities protect the institution?

Do you not remember Jesus' story of the wicked judge who finally gets off his rear end because of the persistent complaints of the person given no justice?  It's in Luke 18, and it sounds a LOT like what we see today with social media.  Do you remember how the Prophets addressed corrupt priests and kings of Israel?  Again, the public speech and writings of the prophets were part of that day's social media.  Remember Acts 16, where Paul demanded the magistrate release him personally because he'd whipped Paul, a Roman citizen without a trial?  You know that news of that went through the prison and the whole town via that day's social media.

Really, what's going on here is a simple application of Luke 18 and other passages where God commends people who call corrupt magistrates corrupt.   Your prescription is anything but Biblical.   You mention Naboth's vineyard--um, ya think that maybe, just maybe, God put that story in His Word because He wanted the names of Ahab and Jezebel to live in infamy forever for that one?  Remember what the Prophet Elijah did in response--it was, again, social media of the time, and it was anything but "let's let this be handled through proper channels." 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Let's draw a picture; my mom's abuse occurred until the early 1980s, and when she talked with a veteran police officer around 2000 about such matters, that officer admitted that at the time she described, they wouldn't have known what to do with such a case--although spousal battery laws were on the books at the time.  In the same way, when my neighbors were molested by a teacher, the same basic principle was in play.   The father (and perhaps others) approached the teacher, told him what they knew, and more or less told him that he could leave town and promise never to work with kids again, or he could be the recipient of a world class thrashing.  

The police didn't know how to punish child molestation at the time, but they also wouldn't punish someone who beat the snot out of a molester, either.  And that kind of thing is why #MeToo is exploding--you simply have decades of pent up demand for justice.  God bless them. 

And again, if you think that it's getting out of hand, you've got to actually name some people who are innocent victims, and even better provide evidence that it is indeed social media that is the culprit.  Reality is that Aziz Ansari was outed in a magazine article as a guy you definitely don't want your sister or daughter dating, and Puzder came through those channels with "layers and layers of fact checkers", too.  Louis CK?  The guy who you'd want to have a several month delousing and sanitizing if he came to your house?  He's a victim?  Really?

And then you've got the hilarious notion that it's somehow unsafe to open a door for a woman.  Um, sorry, lived in Boulder for a decade, do business in the Bay Area, I've opened a lot of doors for women, many of whom I'm sure identified as feminists.  The worst I've gotten is a woman responding by opening a door for me with a smile.  I smiled back and walked through.

Now if I'd visibly dashed ahead, or taken the door handle from a woman to open it for her, or audibly objected to her opening a door, sure, because I would have proven exactly what some feminists claim; that I didn't think they were capable.  But if I just happen to, in the course of my walk, grab the door handle and gently gesture or say "after you"?  No problems, ever. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

I would just like to note that today - I just read this on Twitter - the NCAA announced that there were no violations of rules for MSU regarding Dr. Larry Nassar and that their investigation into MSU is complete.

Here's the lead from Sports Illustrated:

Michigan State received a letter from the NCAA stating no violations have been found in an inquiry into its handling of the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal or in a secondary investigation into how its football and men's basketball programs handled allegations against student athletes.

In a letter to new MSU athletic director Bill Beekman, Jonathan F. Duncan, Vice President of Enforcement for the NCAA, wrote "it does not appear there is a need for further inquiry." Duncan added that the NCAA review "has not substantiated violations of NCAA legislation."

So again I ask - who watches the watchmen?  Or do we just tell the hundreds of victims, “Sorry you are out of luck, guys!”

This isn’t hard.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

Another example; the Texas Rangers delayed investigating Karolyi Ranch until a lot of evidence had gone cold and some statutes of limitations had expired, and apart from the bit about child porn--really a slam dunk case--the FBI has been virtually invisible.  Again, do the victims get no recourse?  It's a lifelong pain a lot of these people are carrying, folks.  

On the light side, if breaking the law of the land were an NCAA rules violation, campus might get awful quiet on Saturday afternoons each fall.....

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Shaffer's picture

....if the judges do not, Lee?  Let's keep in mind that no less than eight reports were made to MSU by victims of Larry Nassar, and they screwed up every one.  ABWE had even more, as did BJU.  The supposed authorities also screwed up in the cases of sexual assault Paige Patterson dealt with at SEBTS and SWBTS.  Are the victims supposed to suffer in silence while corrupt authorities protect the institution?

Sounds like Social Justice to me (dealing with corrupt institutions)!  Perhaps we should only preach the Gospel because advocating for justice in these cases will probably lead to the slippery slope of the social gospel and will become a distraction in our mission in making disciples (Sarcasm!!!!!)  

Lee's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

....if the judges do not, Lee?  Let's keep in mind that no less than eight reports were made to MSU by victims of Larry Nassar, and they screwed up every one.  ABWE had even more, as did BJU.  The supposed authorities also screwed up in the cases of sexual assault Paige Patterson dealt with at SEBTS and SWBTS.  Are the victims supposed to suffer in silence while corrupt authorities protect the institution?

Sounds like Social Justice to me (dealing with corrupt institutions)!  Perhaps we should only preach the Gospel because advocating for justice in these cases will probably lead to the slippery slope of the social gospel and will become a distraction in our mission in making disciples (Sarcasm!!!!!)  

We're playing "what if" games that scripture doesn't play. 

If my memory serves me correctly it seems Jesus Christ Himself made a point through a parable of an unjust "...judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man...".  I don't think it surprises God that there are corrupt judges, judicial systems, societies, cultures, etc.  

Yet knowing all this, Scripture, God's inspired, inerrant Word, does not grant us the liberty of by-passing that which He has ordained in church and civil authority for a verdict of mass persuasion via social media (too often) hysteria that does not meet the criteria of receiving an accusation as He has outlined.  I happen to believe the Book.  I believe it when it is convenient and the results are that which I envisioned or desired.  I also believe it when it is inconvenient and the results are not to my liking.

 

Lee

Bert Perry's picture

Lee, the entire Scripture records cases where prophets, apostles, ordinary believers, and at least one donkey specifically refused to kowtow to corrupt priests and kings.  What do you call Nathan's rebuke of David, Elijah's rebukes of Ahab and others, Paul's rebuke of corrupt magistrates, Stephen's rebuke of the Sanhedrin, Paul's rebukes of civil and synagogue officials, Jesus' description of Pilate as "that fox" and the Pharisees as "whitewashed sepulchres", John's rebuke of Pharisees as a "brood of vipers", and a hundred times more?  

The simple fact of the matter is that temporal secular or religious authority does not insulate those holding it from criticism, and those engaging in such used the popular media of the day to spread that criticism.  The Bible has a rich set of stories illustrating this principle.  If we want to prevent any possibility of ministry to those who have been grievously abused, though, the best way to start is by forgetting this reality of Scripture.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

"engaging in such used the popular media of the day" = imaginary. 

The only "popular media" were rumors, and "murmuring." Suggest looking those up in a concordance. Any kind of media as a vehicle for holding people accountable is an entirely modern concept. But there is a world of difference between responsible, professional journalism vs. social media. Now, as in ancient times, rumors and murmuring are helpful once in a great while, but always poorly informed and often damaging.

People who value truth should not highly value social media as a source of it. It takes a staggering amount of naivete to do so.

Bert Perry's picture

Aaron, when most major media outlets are using unnamed sources with glee, and when CNN is doubling down on a story where their major source has said he was wrong, please don't tell me about how good the mainstream media are.  And it's not a new phenomenon, either, as Joseph Pulitzer was anything but what we would now consider an ethical journalist.  To draw a picture, many newspapers carry the name "Democrat" or "Republican" in their name for a reason--their editors were indeed devoted to that point of view.

You're doing basic guilt by association fallacies, really.  Fact of the matter is that social media (like this site, ahem)  are not inherently "gossip" or "murmuring", but are rather simply electronic forms of the kinds of communication (letters, talking in the marketplace, newsletters, pamphleteering) that have been practiced as long as men have lived.  As people have said for over a century, "if you don't like our paper, start your own."  The computer simply makes it easier.

And as I demonstrated with examples, there are numerous cases in Scripture where those early "social media" were used by God to convey His messages to people, and there are numerous cases where people did not use "proper channels" because those channels were corrupt.  Maybe we should take note and learn a lesson here.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Lee's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Lee, the entire Scripture records cases where prophets, apostles, ordinary believers, and at least one donkey specifically refused to kowtow to corrupt priests and kings.  What do you call Nathan's rebuke of David, Elijah's rebukes of Ahab and others, Paul's rebuke of corrupt magistrates, Stephen's rebuke of the Sanhedrin, Paul's rebukes of civil and synagogue officials, Jesus' description of Pilate as "that fox" and the Pharisees as "whitewashed sepulchres", John's rebuke of Pharisees as a "brood of vipers", and a hundred times more?  

The simple fact of the matter is that temporal secular or religious authority does not insulate those holding it from criticism, and those engaging in such used the popular media of the day to spread that criticism.  The Bible has a rich set of stories illustrating this principle.  If we want to prevent any possibility of ministry to those who have been grievously abused, though, the best way to start is by forgetting this reality of Scripture.

Me thinks your agenda is clouding the reality of this discussion.  The OP was about an ex-girlfriend outing her former boyfriend for perceived abuse (undefined as best I could make from the article) with ZERO evidence and no other corroboration other than something very similar to "my son posted on Facebook that he thinks it happened, too, but has since changed his mind". The writer of the article seems to be in a tizzy as to why this report has not sunk the boyfriend's political career, leading to the obvious conclusion that some unjust political chicanery is afoot.  My point, along with others, is that Scripture and American law has established an authoritative hierarchy with protocol (evidence confirmed through multiple sources) to determine if such accusations have merit or not, and a shrill social media outcry was not a part of that hierarchy/protocol.  How that morphed into perceived callousness toward the abused and support for corrupt authority is beyond me. 

Clarity is your friend.  Dt. 19:15 FF “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. 16 If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. 18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst." 

If there is no corroborating witness/evidence, the "seriousness of the charges (e.g., Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill)" are completely irrelevant, whether it is for speeding, abuse, or murder.  If the civil/church judges refuse to make "diligent inquiry" is a whole different matter. We, as Bible believers and/or Americans, do not have the right to circumvent law or scripture to obtain the "justice" we perceive is due, especially through unsubstantiated hearsay aimed to elicit a de facto verdict from the masses.  

 

 

Lee

Bert Perry's picture

Lee, maybe deal with the examples I gave as a response to your claim that you've got to go through proper channels?  Maybe tell me how many people confronted David about Bathsheba, how many people confronted Ahab about Naboth's vineyard, etc..?

Regarding the original motivation of this thread, yes, what we have here is he said/she said until someone comes up with that video.  I am fine with "we can't move on this particular allegation, but it does fit with other things noted about Ellison", but I am emphatically not fine with "well, doesn't fit our predetermined modes of action precisely, so we're going to default to inaction and assume that one means of communication is inherently faulty."  

One other thought regarding social media; as someone who graduated from MSU and is very interested in what comes out of the Larry Nassar debacle, I've learned that today's journalists are increasingly keeping in touch with their sources via social media.  Again, they're not inherently different worlds.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

Fact of the matter is that social media (like this site, ahem)  are not inherently "gossip" or "murmuring", but are rather simply electronic forms of the kinds of communication (letters, talking in the marketplace, newsletters, pamphleteering) that have been practiced as long as men have lived.

I can't speak for you, and no slam on Aaron, but even SI is something I don't treat as a hard source.  I use it for discussion, argument, etc., but NOT for a source of hard news.  And most other social media I read is much less disciplined than the participants on this site, even those I personally consider less reliable when they post.  At most, I use social media to confirm truth, because it's so rarely the source of it.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

I know I'm resurrecting a dead thread, but I wanted to point out this list of reasons why people generally do not report their abuse/assault stories.  There are twelve reasons listed, and I'd encourage everyone here to read it.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells