Sexually assaulting someone should be unforgivable and inexcusable. However, a slew of prominent cisgender men recently accused of sexual misconduct have denied the allegations by making excuses, including Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein. By doing this, they are saying that their actions are excusable and that sexual misconduct is no big deal.
For those who also fail to see just how bad sexual violence really is, Kate Harding, co-editor of the book Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America, started a Twitter thread commenting on the topic. In the thread, Harding compares sexual predators to those who have stabbed people.
“I am sorry for all the times I stabbed men, just a little, in my previous workplace. After years of counseling, I stopped stabbing men,” she tweeted, in quotation marks. Harding's tweet is a clear analogy for when sexual predators make excuses for their misconduct. The statement is a ridiculous way for a person who has stabbed someone to defend their actions–so why, when assaulters say the same thing about mistreating women and other victims, does society forgive them and allow them to continue to work? (For example, Woody Allen's career has not suffered despite allegations of sexually abusing his adoptive daughter 25 years ago.)
Harding tweeted a few other quotes, using the language of cis men who apologize for sexual misconduct, but she continued to make it about stabbing.
Thousands of others responded, chiming in with other language sexual predators use to make excuses for their behavior, but framing it as if it were about stabbing.
We should look at those who've committed sexual assault the same way we look at those who've stabbed someone, plain and simple. Let's hold sexual predators accountable the same way we hold murderers accountable.