Men Respond To Kavanaugh As Brett Kavanaugh's fate on the Supreme Court hangs in the balance, many men are wondering how a national emphasis on sexual assault will affect their lives.
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Men Respond To Kavanaugh

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Men Respond To Kavanaugh

Men Respond To Kavanaugh

Men Respond To Kavanaugh

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As Brett Kavanaugh's fate on the Supreme Court hangs in the balance, many men are wondering how a national emphasis on sexual assault will affect their lives.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The Ford-Kavanaugh hearings have sparked conversations throughout the country and brought little-discussed topics to light, including among men. Many men are wary, and some are wondering what's next. NPR's Emily Sullivan reports.

EMILY SULLIVAN, BYLINE: As Brett Kavanaugh has discussed in the court of public opinion after his appearance before lawmakers, many men are thinking of themselves and their own past behaviors. John McManus (ph) says he's one of them.

JOHN MCMANUS: That could've been me. I'm certainly no Judge Kavanaugh. But what I was was a 17-year-old boy who acted like an idiot, probably did some things that I was not proud of.

SULLIVAN: He says the testimonies have made him reflect on a specific instance in his life, bullying a pair of girls in the sixth grade.

MCMANUS: It really made me feel sad for who I was. And I think for a lot of men, that's the problem with the whole process. They quite frankly see themselves in the mirror.

SULLIVAN: McManus, a bar owner living in Bethesda, Md., makes clear he does not tolerate sexual assault. He hopes the conversation around it makes life easier for the women in his family. But he wonders how many men may have done wrong in their past. He suspects it's a lot.

MCMANUS: Judge Kavanaugh was like a lot of us. He liked to have fun. He liked to drink.

SULLIVAN: Others, like Jeffrey Botang (ph) of Germantown, Md., says the more heated commentary directed toward Kavanaugh is making some men worried about being falsely accused of assault.

JEFFREY BOTANG: If a woman accuses you, you can lose everything even if you're, like - you are right.

SULLIVAN: Rates of false accusations are, in fact, very low. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center puts them between 2 and 10 percent. Botang says the possibility of encountering one still makes some anxious.

BOTANG: Some men are really concerned. They're like, oh, I can't even say hi to a woman at my workplace.

SULLIVAN: Botang says the news has inspired him and his friends to create a motto of sorts.

BOTANG: Make sure everyone's, like, feeling comfortable.

SULLIVAN: He says this way, there's less room for gray areas. And he and his friends aren't alone in talking about assault this week. McManus says his peers are thinking long and hard about accountability, too.

MCMANUS: If nothing else, we've learned a lot this week.

SULLIVAN: Emily Sullivan, NPR News, Washington.

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