Regarding Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court, sexual assault, and false accusations

Like many of you, I have been watching the coverage of the Brett Kavanaugh nomination-turned-fiasco. I have read the particular accusations against him and the many, varied responses to them. I read this coverage with a slight partisan perspective as someone who believes in Constitutional originalism and as someone who has concerns about a society that permits the killing of its young, and yet…I’m troubled.

I am concerned by the very serious accusations against Kavanaugh, and I am distressed by the responses to them.

I believe that there is more at stake in this moment than the nomination of an individual to the Supreme Court, no matter how important that is. How we handle sexual assault allegations, how we speak about women, what we expect of young men, and how we handle investigations into accusations of years-ago crimes that by their nature delay reporting of them—all of these questions are in play. We would do well to slow down, listen closely, and think deeply.

Toward that end, I commend this article: Between Brock Turner and Brett Kavanaugh, When do Girls Matter? Two warnings before you click on it, though. To all my readers who have been sexually assaulted or abused, this article may  trigger renewed trauma in you. Please click carefully, if at all.

To everyone else: I find the author’s logic to be very sound…and deeply painful. This is not an easy read. It is worth our contemplation, nonetheless.

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I have noticed that some of my friends with sons have a different reaction to the Kavanaugh allegations than I do, as a mom of daughters. Several times in the last week, I have heard the issue of false accusations raised. This may seem easy for me to say, but I think our societal fear of false accusations may be a red herring.

Yes, if your son were to be falsely accused of a sexual crime, it would be devastating and life-altering. I get that. The incidence of false accusations, though, is quite small.  Regarding that question, I found this article well-researched and helpfully detailed: What Kind of Person Makes False Rape Accusations.

Please do not allow the bogey-man of false accusations to stand in the way of you supporting investigation of sexual crimes and caring for victims. In my personal friend circle, I see a prevalence of sexual assault that matches or even exceeds the reported percentages. The numbers are real and shockingly high. In contrast, I do not believe a single one of my friends has ever been falsely accused of sexual assault.

The numbers of false accusations do not remotely compare to the number of actual sexual assaults. We must not put off grappling with something that happens often by an overblown fear of something that does not.

 

©Laura Goetsch and Thinking about Such Things, 2018.

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Evangelicals, we have a major blind spot

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I have become convinced that white, American evangelical Christians have a major blind spot. I say this as a member of this community, reflecting on my own people.

Very often, we evangelicals do not see power. We are blind to power dynamics in the world and blind to them in the Scriptures. We cannot assess whether power is being used ethically and justly because we do not notice it is being used at all.

Here’s one way to test the teaching you’ve received and the lenses you’ve been given: were you taught that David’s sin with Bathsheba was primarily sexual? Or were you taught that his sin was the way he abused his power?

Continue reading “Evangelicals, we have a major blind spot”

On MSU and leadership

The President of Michigan State University, Lou Anna Simon, resigned from her position yesterday. She was pressured to do so by those who have watched Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse victims give statements on what they suffered at MSU and other gymnastic facilities. The leadership of USA Gymnastics is under similar pressure, as it should be.

Simon submitted a six paragraph letter of resignation to the MSU Board of Trustees. After stating that “[t]he survivors’ accounts are horrific….tragic, heartbreaking, and personally gut-wrenching,” she goes on to say,

As Nassar’s legal journey to prison was drawing to a close, more and more negative attention was focused on Michigan State University, and on me.  I am pleased that statements have been made by Mr. Fitzgerald and Board members about my integrity and the fact that there is no cover-up….As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable.  As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger.  I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements.   Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first.  Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU.  I have tried to make it not about me.

You know what this ain’t?

LEADERSHIP.

Continue reading “On MSU and leadership”

What in the world happened to Laura Goetsch?

Is she still thinking about such things? Has she given up veering wildly from the weighty to the frivolous?

My faithful readers may be wondering this since it has been 42 days since I published a post. And that was a short, frothy one.

Rest calmly, dear ones. I am still frolicking in the frivolous and seeking wisdom for the weighty. Truthfully, my days are bulging with both laughter and lament. As I imagine yours are, too.

I have needed to devote most of my words, imagination, and hours to church leading and to parenting this fall.  That’s where my best wisdom and deepest prayers are most needed right now. It has been hard but satisfying work.

So, for the foreseeable future, this blog will remain a bit quieter, though not entirely silent, I hope.

If you find yourself craving my quips, tales of imaginative children, or lackluster fair-to-middling dazzling photos, your best bet is to follow me on Instagram. I post photos and short paragraphs there several times a week. I realize that many of you, dear readers, are not on Instagram, but I’d like to gently whisper that perhaps it’s time to join the cool kids.

For now, I’d like to leave you with proof of one of my personal convictions, namely: Orange cats are the best cats. Meet Max, the cat who lost the library but won the internet.

And a few pics from life in Goetschland:

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Current favorite “sport”
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When we tried to decorate for Christmas
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My life in one picture

©Laura Goetsch and Thinking About Such Things, 2017.

Things I’ve learned in 15 years of marriage

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Rick and I celebrated our 15th anniversary last week.

Here’s what it looked like: the dog and I were driving home from dropping the kids off at school when I spotted a familiar figure walking down the street. Remembering the date, I pulled over and wished him a Happy Anniversary. He came over to the driver-side window and gave me a kiss. Then I went home and re-financed the mortgage.

Fifteen years is a long time in a life and in the world. When we were married in 2002, wedding invitations were always white or cream, George W. Bush was president, and no one had ever heard the terms “social media” or ISIS. Half the country still had landlines. Everyone else had flip phones.

We ourselves have changed, too, in these years. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • Goetsch is not, in fact, a lateral move from Carlson.

Continue reading “Things I’ve learned in 15 years of marriage”

The insufficiency of “consent”

IMG_2291I had just turned 22 when the Monica Lewinsky story broke. I remember a phone conversation with my dad at that time in which we disagreed on the relative guilt of the parties—he argued, if I remember correctly, that the preponderance belonged to President Clinton. I argued that Lewinsky and Clinton shared near equal culpability. After a bit, my dad concluded the conversation by saying, “Laura, I think you may be too young to understand.”

He was right.

I was too young, too inexperienced in the world. Here’s what I did not understand: power.

Continue reading “The insufficiency of “consent””

Two questions and three articles on #takeaknee and President Trump

Controversy erupted over the weekend as NFL players joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. The President tweeted repeatedly in response and railed against these actions at a rally in Alabama.

I have written many times on this blog about justice and the Black experience in America. At this moment, I only want to ask a few questions and point you to a couple articles.

Continue reading “Two questions and three articles on #takeaknee and President Trump”