#MeToo era shows there's almost never only one accuser, says Hill.TV's Krystal Ball

By Krystal Ball
Opinion Contributor

Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves, Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGOP lawmaker once belittled sexual harassment: 'How traumatizing was it?' Meet the man poised to battle Dems from the White House Minnesota GOP Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimp in Facebook post MORE, Charlie RoseCharles Peete RoseProsecutor drops some charges against Harvey Weinstein ACLU's M in anti-Kavanaugh ads won't target Flake, Collins Conway to CNN's Cuomo in heated debate: 'I'll walk away' if you continue to interrupt me MORE, Roger Ailes, Matt LauerMatthew (Matt) Todd LauerProsecutor drops some charges against Harvey Weinstein Time's Up anti-harassment group names first CEO ACLU's M in anti-Kavanaugh ads won't target Flake, Collins MORE, Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreFormer campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer Mellman: When questions don’t mean what they say CNN's Toobin: It's Trump's ‘nature’ to not believe accusations of sexual assault MORE, Jian Ghomeshi – just a small sample of the long list of powerful men felled by the Me Too movement.

Now these individuals vary widely in the gravity of the actions with which they’ve been accused, but after watching the #MeToo movement unfold for a while now, a typical pattern has emerged. First a woman or two comes forward. Think Gretchen Carlson’s accusations against Roger Ailes at Fox News.

The men try to survive this initial onslaught maybe by denials or attacking the woman’s credibility or questioning the timing of the allegations or saying it was a different era and they would do things differently now and they’re sorry if they hurt anyone. But it’s the next phase that seals their fate. That’s when the dam breaks and other women who have been victimized begin to come forward.

Now we are at the very beginning of the story with Judge Brett Kavanaugh but there are only a few possibilities here.

Possibility number one: Perhaps his accuser really is making something up out of whole cloth although she does have some backup from her husband and therapist and has passed a lie detector test and also why in god’s name would anyone want to subject themselves to what Christine Ford is now going through. But maybe she’s got an ideological ax to grind and just loves being scrutinized and trashed on cable news all day so she made up a lie, got her shrink and her husband in on the deal and went for it.

Possibility number two: Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser is telling the truth but this was really a one time horrible youthful mistake never to be repeated again. Maybe.

I’ve got to tell you though, this would be a very unusual set of circumstances. First of all, what bad luck that you get found out for the one time you behaved badly in your entire life. Statistically, this is unlikely. Think about it this way, if you catch your husband cheating odds are very good that in spite of his protestations to the contrary, this was not the one and only time. Again, think of all the men who have been brought low by the Me Too movement. Can you think of any who faced a single accuser?

Now partly this is because unfortunately, even in this era of heightened awareness, women’s stories are still too easily dismissed. One woman can be written off by a culture always looking to judge and blame women.

But also, it is the unusual predator who only preys once. On college campuses, where studies have found that 1 in 5 women will be victimized, it’s not because 1 in 5 men are predators. It’s because a small percentage of men, victimize a large number of women. 

If the story stays where it is, with one accuser and an incident in high school, well as I said before, one woman is sadly too easy to dismiss. But, if we have learned anything in the Me Too era, it’s that there is almost never only one.

Krystal Ball is the co-host of "Rising," Hill.TV's morning news show.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.