The Senate confirmation hearings of US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh must have been hard on his accuser, Professor Dr Christine Blasey Ford. AFP

THE episode concerning the sexual assault allegations by Professor Dr Christine Blasey Ford against United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is unfortunate.

Ford suffered the memories of an unpleasant incident for 36 years and chose to speak only when her alleged tormenter was scheduled to occupy a powerful office. I am sure the Senate hearing was torturous for her.

Kavanaugh must be grieved that an unproved prank or misdeed in his teenage years is thwarting his life’s ambition. To be confronted with such an ignominious charge, more than three decades after it was supposed to have occurred, when he is married with children — imagine, the horror that his family is going through.

It is fashionable to pillory men years after they are alleged to have misbehaved with struggling stars or women.

Many of the allegations are without proof.

Most of the scandals concern men who have become famous or affluent. The alleged victim seeks vengeance or closure by spilling the beans of yesteryear.

So while we must condemn indecent behaviour from men, we should also realise that many women deploy their charms and positions to gain favour from men.

Young women entice men with good looks, power and money. A girl dresses to be admired, extolled and wooed. However, when a man compliments her, she shrieks “harassment”.

The fact is that just as there are men who exploit ambitious women, there are also women who exploit their looks and charms to get men to deal them a better hand. The #MeToo movement must take this factor into consideration.

Men or women who speak about their experiences appreciate the impact their conduct has on the lives of others.

If you speak about some misdemeanour on the part of another person 20 or 40 years after the incident, the other person is probably married and has grown children.

What about the trauma for his family members? And what about the anguish of your family members? If a person has chosen to keep quiet about an incident for decades, is it necessary to go public after decades?

In relieving one’s trauma, is it right for a person to put others, including family members of both sides, through the grind of gossip, intrigue and anguish?

If I do not speak when I must, then, as in a marriage, I must learn to hold my peace forever.

Rajendra Aneja, Mumbai, India

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