Russel Brand’s #MenToo Moment
By: Sam Vaknin, Brussels Morning
Russel Brand and Andrew Tate are among the vulgar and obnoxious personalities that came to define the online bedlam. Typically, their content is equal parts abhorrent and demented. As you must have gathered by now, I am not a fan of either non-gentleman.
Yet, what is being done to the former threatens to undermine the very rule of law and its underpinnings of fairness and due process.
4 anonymous accusers claimed in a documentary that Brand has sexually abused them 10–15 years ago. The Metropolitan police logged a few complaints about “non recent” alleged incidents. No one got arrested, charged, or even questioned.
Yet, the media have already found Brand to be a guilty “predator” and his accusers are branded (pun intended) “victims” and “survivors”.
Moreover, in an egregious violation of every tenet of democracy, a committee of the British parliament, no less, has contacted online video platforms such as Rumble and “inquired” whether they are going to remove Brand’s content and demonetize it the way YouTube has done, thus denying him the income he needs to defend himself. It was nothing short of a thinly veiled threat.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of the United Kingdom (UK) has recently criminalized “lovebombing”: overzealous flirting in the first phase of a relationship.
There is no debate that rape and other forms of sexual assault should be penalized with the utmost severety.
But we are criminalizing and stigmatizing sex itself as well as most forms of flirting and courting.
Large swathes of romance and inter-dyadic dynamics are now promulgated as delinquent as is the majority of inter-gender interactions.
We have sterilized lovemaking and rendered it transactional with the novel requirement for “enthusiastic consent”.
The law in many countries is heavily biased in favor of women: shockingly, rape is defined in the UK as the misuse of a penis only!
The justice system and “rape shield laws” have all but eradicated due process and the ability to defend oneself — if one is a man that is.
Nine out of ten conceivable and indispensable defense strategies are inadmissible and impermissible in cases involving intimate relationships. This is unprecedented and has no equivalent in any other type of criminal offense.
The laudable idea is to accord women some protection from public shaming and retraumatization. But victims of all crimes feel humiliated and are traumatized. There is no reason whatsoever to single out rape, let alone sexual assault.
Literally every sex act is now construed as sexual assault. More than half of all men (and women) report being wary of each other in the workplace (Pew Center).
Memory is highly unreliable: it degrades and is reframed with time (cf. studies by E. Loftus). Therefore, sexual offenses should be time debarred (there should be a statute of limitations) akin to other forms of bodily harm and assault.
Yet, in some countries in the West, rape is equated with murder: a complaint can be filed — and often is — decades after the alleged events have taken place. Witnesses have died or moved away, evidence has all but evaporated. Defense is thus rendered utterly impossible.
The cyclical argument is: only 2–10% of sex crimes allegations are false. The proof? The conviction rate in such cases is high. But the conviction rate is high because of the maxim that women who come forward should be automatically and unreservedly trusted to be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Why this unprecedented assumption? Because sex crimes are under-reported (which they, indeed, are): women are unlikely to lie, knowing what is in store for them during the grueling and often humiliating investigation and judicial process ahead.
Yet, the true number of false allegation is probably much higher, according to multiple studies. Women lie about sexual encounters for many reasons. False sexual assault allegations — sometimes in the form of a collusion among several accusers — have been levied and weaponized for political purposes (Assange), to take prominent men down (franken), and as a form of extreme defamation (Trump).
Moreover: lying is much more common among certain psychopathological profiles, such as personality disorders. As the incidence and prevalence of Borderline, Narcissistic, Antisocial, Paranoid, and Histrionic personality disorders increases among women, the likelihood of mendacity among complainants skyrockets.
Liars should be punished as harshly as the penalties are for the offenses that they allege. Yet, very few of them are even prosecuted for fear of exerting a chilling effect on real victims.
Women are weaponizing these newfound indiscriminate juridical powers and are colluding in groups to ruin men’s lives. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, celebrities have become the preferred targets — and lucrative settlements are all the rage among their victims, real and alleged.
Enthusiastic consent is an impractical, stultifying constraint: no two individuals maintain the same level of passion for any specific sex act. Good sex involves compromise and the wish to please one another — not selfish gratification. We are reducing sex to mutual masturbation.
The entire debate feeds off toxic versions of both feminism and masculinity. Misandrist sentiments equate the unraveling of the patriarchy with retribution for millennia of female subjugation. The woke, politically correct ideal is to eliminate gender altogether (unigender and the stalled revolution, cf. Lisa Wade work).
The pendulum has swung too far against men: young men are terrified to approach young women; every signaling behavior, however innocuous, amounts to sexual harassment; flirting and courting in the real world (IRL) are widely considered creepy and are even criminalized
Women are dissonant. They are caught between the still dominant sexual double standard (hypervigilant virtue) and invulnerability signaling: “I am the helpless victim, but I am also empowered, agentic, unaffected, and untouchable.”
Throughout post-modern societies, entitled grandiose victimhood has replaced dignity and reputational social control.
Current laws and their interpretation by the courts incentivize hyperbole or counterfactual reframing in a spiral of ever more fantastic accusations and allegations.
The aforementioned rise of narcissism, borderline (which is now being reconceived as a form of secondary psychopathy), and primary psychopathy among women leads to extreme fantasies, emotional dysregulation, acting out, psychotic microepisodes, dissociation, infantilism, and alloplastic defenses (blaming others for the predictable consequences and outcomes of your own regretted choices and decisions, never taking responsibility, never apologizing, never feeling guilty or blameworthy).
We must transition from the nebulous construct of enthusiastic consent towards behavioral or transactional consent. Behaviors before and after the fact provide an indispensable and often indisputable context. Post-facto remorse should not transform the acts performed into unwitting crimes. We should definitely do not apply norms and laws anachronistically and retroactively.
Transactional sex should never be criminalized, regardless of the identities of the willing participants: power asymmetries are inherent in every give and take, sexual or not. Moreover: women have always been the sexual gatekeepers and have been trading sex for favors since the dawn of Mankind.
Additionally, we should define far more narrowly and rigorously criminal offenses such as coercive control.
Finally: the playing field should be levelled. Many women are primary breadwinners, more educated than men, and have been known to be abusive, too — yet there are almost no persecutions of women for such offenses despite these clear power asymmetries.
Marital rape is criminalized as it should be. But the withholding of sex, affection, and intimacy should also be criminalized: it amounts to mental cruelty and is a manipulative control technique (a form of Machiavellianism).
Women should be prosecuted for harassment (including of the sexual sort), stalking, defamation, coercion, rape, and a host of other offenses currently enforced exclusively against men.
Equal power confers equal responsibility and equal liabilities. Women are having it both ways nowadays. It is time to end this malpractice.
The alternative is a reactionary male backlash against the hard-earned rights of women. We are witnessing the harbingers of this disturbing trend all over the globe, from rescinded abortion rights in the USA to Russia and Afghanistan where domestic violence has been decriminalized and access to the public sphere is being denied, respectively.
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. is a former economic advisor to governments (Nigeria, Sierra Leone, North Macedonia), served as the editor in chief of “Global Politician” and as a columnist in various print and international media including “Central Europe Review” and United Press International (UPI). He taught psychology and finance in various academic institutions in several countries (http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/cv.html )