"Sexual harassment should be treated as a hate crime"

Article here. Excerpt:

'We have to stop seeing sexual harassment and sexual assault as some sort of flattery of women gone awry. In truth, sexual assault has nothing to do with sex, or sexuality, or flirting, or courtship, or love. Rather, sexual assault is a kind of hate. The men who gratify themselves by abusing women aren’t getting off on those women, but on power. These men don’t sexually assault women because they like women but because they despise them as subordinate creatures. We should call it misogynistic harassment and misogynistic assault, not sexual assault. These are hate crimes.

I don’t mean this in the formal, legal sense. Hate crimes are already problematic: How can you ask a deeply imbalanced and systemically biased criminal justice system to hold crimes of bias special? Black men are more likely to be given harsher sentences than white men for the same crimes. Relying further on a warped criminal justice system suggests that it is a solution to injustice against marginalized communities rather than, often, its source.

But if we understand that these crimes are the result of targeted hate, rather than misguided lust, we can devise better solutions than the kind of “treatment” Harvey Weinstein is supposedly receiving for his “problem.” The way to combat hate is not (only) through enforcement against individual perpetrators. We need to fight the misogyny, sexism and the systemic marginalization of women and disproportionate empowerment of men. That’s what creates the society-wide dynamic in which men think they’re better than women. This dynamic is evident in gender pay gaps; in the unequal burden of domestic chores; in the election of overt misogynists to the presidency; and in the subjection of women to harassment, assault and rape. The truth is that none of these are aberrant behaviors by aberrant men, or even aberrant forms of affection. They’re the predictable dynamics of a society that hates women.

If rapists aren’t just brutes who somehow slipped from the back alley to the boardroom — and, clearly, they are not — then we need to see about how our boardrooms and stockrooms and classrooms and family dining rooms teach, incentivize and perpetuate misogynistic hate. And then rather than focusing on the tawdry details of each scandal like some romance novel with a dark twist, the media and all of us should talk about the structural power imbalance within each company or the culture of misogyny in a given industry. Specifically, employers shouldn’t focus only on accountability — as the Weinstein Corp. did by firing Weinstein, or only fixing the reporting of future acts, as the chain Massage Envy is now said to be doing. Employers also need to address misogynistic hate deep within corporate culture and rooted in business policies — in stingy parental leave rules, in recruiting and promotions, and even in male-oriented staff rituals at golf clubs or steak houses. In this context, companies would recognize the issue isn’t just how women are discouraged from coming forward but how men in the company are encouraged to minimize and marginalize women, which fans misogyny and hate.'

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... let's treat robbery from an elderly person as a hate crime too and do everything she suggests get done when it happens. Indeed, if women are targeted by particular men for harassment because of "power over" kicks versus just being rude, abusive jerks, primarily *because* these are women and perceived by them as vulnerable and assailable w/out much risk to them, then does not the same logic apply to one who targets a frail elderly person for robbery? After all, a frail elderly person is an easy target to a victimizer. As in nature, predators usually target the weaker of a group of prey animals because it's less risky and easier. Humans who predate on other humans make the same calculation. Rarely does the captain of the football team get targeted by the school bully. It's the weaker nerd kids he goes after.

There are laws already meant to punish the people among us who single out the weaker and less defensible among us to predate upon them. That the criminal tends to pick weaker, easier targets is a pattern of human behavior that extends back to our pre-human days, as this is a general tendency in nature. Lions go after the older gazelles, or the smaller, etc. If a lion bags a larger, healthier gazelle, it is a rare prize. But they usually go after the easiest ones to bag. So it is with humans.

There are already a myriad of laws passed that allow people to press charges against those among us who harass and abuse us and our wards (eg, our children). Most of us it seems are unaware they exist. Perhaps less passing of yet more laws or creating more categories of "especially nasty crimes" isn't what is needed, but people's awareness of the laws that already exist needs to be increased and these laws taken more seriously.

Or... and I think it's time the US adopted this tradition... we need to make private prosecutions part of US legal tradition in cases where the state prosecutor declines to prosecute but the would-be plaintiff still thinks they have a shot at getting a conviction. It is found in UK law and US law is based on English Common Law. If the US has taken on the ludicrous in rem proceeding as part of its legal tradition, then why not the private prosecution? Courts would have the option of hearing or refusing to hear the case still, so ludicrous or frivolous cases would get tossed. Just an idea.

Or do we just start labeling every crime we are especially annoyed with as a "hate crime"?

I'd like to point out that the sentencing disparity mentioned by the author is true. But another sentencing disparity exists: women are sentenced to about 1/3 the time men are for the same crimes. Or doesn't she care to mention that fact?

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It used to be that the notion of "hate crime" had very limited application in jurisprudence, and was used only in certain cases for investigative purposes in order to link incidents of crime. I think it was with the Matthew Shepherd case when it began to be applied to add an element of social opprobrium to something that was already a crime. Some people talk as if, before the Shepherd case, it was okay to tie a man to a fence and beat him to death. But that was always a crime, and it always carried a stiff penalty. It was a wave of public sympathy for Shepherd because the beating was allegedly due to his sexual orientation, so there was a clamoring for it to carry an even stiffer penalty than it would have otherwise. And if you questioned that, you were somehow anti-gay. But if someone is going to kill me, what difference does it make whether he hates me, loves me, or is indifferent? How does his affective stance toward me make any difference as far as jurisprudence is concerned? It's as if we want to make the "thought crime" worse than the crime itself. And now, the feminists want this already indiscriminately applied label to be attached to offenses directed at them--and in many cases they'll get to decide subjectively whether or not the action in question is actually an offense. The law is already tilted heavily toward protecting women and punishing men (just look at comparative stats for sentencing for identical crimes), and if feminists are allowed to slap a "hate crime" label on anything they chose, it will only get worse.

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