Cosby Walks

Rafia Zakaria in The Baffler:

BILL COSBY IS FREE. He has been freed from the Pennsylvania prison where he was being held for the past three years and he has gone home, where undoubtedly he will be celebrating tonight. The story of how his conviction for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand was summarily overturned is also an argument for why #MeToo has been so centered on wielding cultural power: shaming and naming rather than the exhausting and unpromising pursuit of legal justice. The legal system as it currently exists is failing women who have been harassed and assaulted by powerful men, and Cosby’s overturned conviction tells a story of these failures.

If there was ever an indictment of the legal system’s inability to provide women who are raped, harassed, and abused by men a clear roadmap to justice, here it is. If there ever was an argument to be made for “canceling” abusive, assaulting, raping men, shamed by society and ostracized by all, here it is. When the precise tools offered by the legal system, its collations of proof, its rules of verification and of admissibility, prove so horrifically ineffectual to meet the needs of women who seek punishment for the men who have sexually assaulted them, then the blunt instruments of cultural upheaval are necessary.

Negative publicity and organized ostracism are blunt tools; there is no independent judge, there are no trained lawyers, there is no hermetic courtroom where what is said and what is presented is strictly controlled. Instead, there is only rage and outrage, the frustrations of half the population that is just fed up with feeling constantly hunted, constantly preyed upon by the other half. Yes, not all men belong to this category, but because all men are not sufficiently interested in speaking up against some men or pointing out how systems of proof and prosecution are not pliant enough to meet the needs of prosecuting sexual crimes, they will have to confront the inexact revenge of cultural revolt.

More here.