- - Monday, October 1, 2018

The Democratic charge against Brett Kavanaugh will trigger shudders far beyond the long arm of the U.S. law. The clashing narratives of Brett the choir boy versus Brett the serial molester will only widen the dark gulf of suspicion between men and women. Following the new FBI investigation of lurid sexual misconduct tales, the U.S. Senate will render a verdict on this chapter of he said-she said chronicles. The cultural struggles over sexual ethics will surely continue.

Christine Blasey Ford testified that a young Brett Kavanaugh discarded his Catholic School manners and cornered her behind a locked door with sexual intent at a party 36 years ago. No one has corroborated her story, but the accusation alone has persuaded half the nation that it might be true, it could be true, and therefore he has no business judging anyone from a seat on the nation’s highest court.

Judge Kavanaugh, with 12 years of service on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, regarded as the nation’s second-highest court, rebutted his accuser’s charge of attempted rape with the precision of the Yale-educated lawyer and the emotion of the father of two daughters. By his lights, Mrs. Ford’s accusation of criminal behavior was as much an affront to his personal reputation as to his professional one.

The judge has the misfortune of entering the glaring national spotlight during the #MeToo era, when the voices of women claiming sexual victimhood — many legitimately, and some not — have risen to a shattering level. The effect has been to replace long-standing presumption of innocence with a prejudgment of guilt — at least for men as a class. The viral popularity of a T-shirt modeled by a female protester on Capitol Hill Thursday, “Men are trash,” is the new feminist norm.

The popular view holds that the majority of victims of dating violence are girls. New research shows the opposite to be true. A recent study of dating violence conducted by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University of Canada, finds that while 4.2 percent of girls say they suffered physical abuse on a date during the past year, a larger proportion of boys — 5.8 percent — say they, too, were hit, slapped or pushed on a date.

The researchers surveyed 35,900 Canadian students in grades 7 through 12 over a 10-year period. “It could be that it’s still socially acceptable for girls to hit or slap boys in dating relationships,” says Catherine Shaffer, the lead author of the research.

The era of female empowerment has enabled women to emerge from the shadows and join men in the chase for achievement. At the same time, though, many women have chosen to copy the swagger of the male, and as the dating violence study demonstrates, some of the most oafish male behavior. Turning courtship into a Ultimate Fighting Championship event is nothing for either sex to brag about.

Beyond the ancient war between the sexes there’s a similarly daunting struggle over fundamental sexual identity. New York City recently joined Oregon, Washington and California to permit a designation on birth certificates of neither male or female. Convention-breaking might be good fun for those looking to flaunt their values-free lifestyle. But the baby “none of the above” will grow up subject to confusion over whether to date Eve or Steve.

Gender-bending ties language in knots, too, as individuals reject a sex identity that comports with their biological form in favor of an ambiguous one. The singular pronouns “he” and “she” are giving way to “they,” which proper grammar calls a plural pronoun. Indeed, the infatuation with “they” is prompting the phenomenon of mothers emerging from the delivery room cradling their newborn “theybies.

It should be no wonder that the current chaos over sexual norms is contributing to the rise of the sex robots. The anatomically accurate models — essentially life-sized Barbies— are selling briskly to lonely guys worldwide who can afford an expensive companion who won’t whisper tall tales to the newspapers. The human race may slow to a crawl when human relations are optional.

The truth about Christine Blasey Ford’s claims of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh has evidently vanished, but speculation nonetheless can serve as a learning moment for all of us: Behave as if every moment is high noon, when the sun leaves no shadows to hide shameful behavior.

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