Social media recently featured the creation of the #HimToo movement, a group supporting and spreading the idea that men are commonly falsely accused of sexual assault. This faction is meant to counteract the #MeToo movement, a group that advocates for sexual assault victims.
#HimToo originated in early October when a mother took to Twitter to discuss how her son, Pieter Hanson, developed a fear of dating due to the “risk” of being falsely accused of sexual assault. Hanson was made into a viral meme on social media because of the embarrassing tweet. He has since refuted it, saying it doesn’t represent him, as he does not support the movement, and considers himself an ally of the #MeToo movement.
One of the social media posts supporting the #HimToo movement read “As long as women who accuse men of sexual attacks are believed without evidence or due process, no man is safe. I’m not safe. Your husband isn’t safe. Your father isn’t safe. Your son isn’t safe. Your grandson isn’t safe. Your male friends aren’t safe. #HIMTOO #IStandWithBrett #ConfirmKavanaughNow.”
While I found the memes and countless tweets started by Hanson’s mom on Twitter funny, I also found it utterly disappointing that the hashtag ended up being taken seriously enough to gain momentum. The group is defending Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford prior to his nomination.
Some people argue that men have been wrongly tried for false sexual assault allegations, even though there is little evidence to support this. Only two to 10 percent of rape accusations are false, according to a 2010 study in Sage Journals. On a similar note, only 40 percent of rapes are ever reported to the police due to fear of being shamed for their sexual history.
The hashtag was also a way to counter the “#IBelieveFord” campaign, which was meant to voice support for Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings.
President Donald Trump also strengthened the movement at a press conference.
“It’s a very scary time for young men in America, when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of,” Trump said at a rally. “Think of your son. Think of your husband.”
While not actually having used the #HimToo hashtag, Trump went against the #MeToo movement by suggesting that people should be concerned about allegations of sexual propriety against their sons and husbands, while offering no sympathy for sexual assault victims.
While I do understand the concern that people have for the few who are falsely accused and tried of a crime, these cases are the exceptions, not the norm.
Given its rarity, it doesn’t warrant enough credibility to create a movement, and distracts from an actual problem we have in our country.
This movement is also insensitive to the fact that men are also more likely to be sexually assaulted than falsely accused. One out of six men has experienced sexual violence, according to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control.
Not only does the hashtag disregard accusations made against someone in a position of power, it’s also used to support and defend a person who might have sexually assaulted someone and is getting away with it.
How somebody can start a movement to support a man accused of sexual assault or defend claims with very little data is beyond me. We can only hope that society will take victims of sexual violence into consideration before posting on Twitter.