When Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party when he was 17, it was no surprise that Republicans were quick to deny it ever happened. What was surprising, however, was how many insisted that, if it happened, it didn’t matter.

Minnesota state Sen. Scott Newman breezily tweeted: “Even if true, teenagers!” In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Lance Morrow said, “No clothes were removed, and no sexual penetration occurred. The sin, if there was one, was not one of those that Catholic theology calls peccata clamantia — sins that cry to heaven for vengeance.” On MSNBC, Bari Weiss mused: “Let’s say [Kavanaugh] did this exactly as she said. Should the fact that a 17-year-old, presumably very drunk kid, did this, should this be disqualifying?”

It’s a question that can only be answered affirmatively. And not just because what Kavanaugh allegedly did is so terrible. It’s also because making a show of just how terrible it is on the world stage might help stop other men from perpetrating similar abuses.