COLUMNS: Better late than never

The #Me Too movement and the BC Liberal leadership race were in the news last week.

The #Me Too movement and the BC Liberal leadership race were in the news last week.

#Me Too encourages victims of sexual misconduct to go public with their complaints, naming their abusers.

The movement started in the U.S. and millions of women from all over the world responded. In Canada complaints have toppled the careers of some notable men, including politicians. Women and girls have always been targets for male lechery, #Me Too emboldened them to come forward, even if the offence happened years ago. Better late than never.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among the men who say women must be heard. Some prominent women are saying wait a minute. It’s certainly time women spoke out and were listened to, but allegations are allegations, not proof. Men can be victims too, sometimes women make false accusations and there is a big difference in the nature of the crimes. A friendly pat on the backside can’t be compared to a violent rape.

And, even when a man is cleared in court, the sex offender label sticks. Guilty guys should get their just desserts with the punishment fitting the crime, but it’s hardly justice if an innocent man is stigmatized.

Not as titillating as #Me Too, but Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been accused of a different kind of harassment — bullying her staff. Who and what next?

Then there is the BC Liberal leadership race. I didn’t see the televised debate but according to those who did, a couple of male contenders ganged up on Dianne Watts. Harassing her? Do they fear she might win because, unlike them, she doesn’t carry any baggage from the former government?

It’s interesting that many Liberals, including Ms. Watts, favour the present FPTP for provincial elections but use the preferential vote to choose their leader.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian and book author.

Editor’s note: Elizabeth May’s name has been corrected from the original version of this column.

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