Tag Archives: rape

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement Book Review

Throughout history, there has been an obvious power imbalance between men and women. Especially when it came to sex.

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, it forever changed the way that rape and sexual assault are viewed. But bringing that story to the front page was not easy. In the new book, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount the months long and difficult process of bringing this story to the public.

For decades, there were whispers within Hollywood about producer Harvey Weinstein. But as soon as reports surfaced of allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they were put down as mere rumor. That is until Kantor and Twohey started digging. That digging opened a Pandora’s box of truth, lies and the people who would do almost anything to close that box again.

This book reads like a fictional thriller instead of a real story. It is a heart pounding roller coaster ride until the very end of the book. We know how the story ends, but there were so many blockages for Kantor and Twohey that I started to wonder if justice would finally prevail. When I finally finished the book, I was relieved that Weinstein was finally getting what was coming to him.

The thing that strikes me about this book and this story is that it is universal among women. The women who come forward in this book tell the same story, with minor details changed for their specific narrative. They range from Hollywood A-listers to fast food workers to teenage girls assaulted by their drunk male classmates. If nothing else, I think that this book and others of this nature are a starting point for a conversation that is more than overdue.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Know My Name Book Review

It takes a bold person to step forward in the face of injustice. Especially when the injustice is accepted as part of the culture.

In January of 2015, Chanel Miller attended a frat party at Stanford University. What started out as an average college fraternity party turned into a life changing event for Ms. Miller. She was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, who received a notoriously light sentence for the crime he was accused of.

In her new book, Know My Name, Ms. Miller tells her life story up to the that night and the aftermath that followed. In the book, she tells her story from the night of the party to the agonizing process of being examined at the hospital for the rape kit, identifying her rapist and finally, going through the trial.

I loved this book. If I was to compile a list of top ten books of 2019, Know My Name would be on it. The pain of whole experience is honest, brutal and at moments, hard to read. But it is well worth it, especially when Ms. Miller comes out on the other side not as a victim, but as a woman whose strength outpaces her pain.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment Book Review

Since the beginning of human history, men have used sex to gain power over women. But thanks the hard work of generations of women, the power imbalance is starting to even out.

In the new book, Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment, by Linda Hirshman, explores how women have fought back against sexual harassment and have slowly began to win the war.

Ms. Hirshman starts her book in the 1970’s, when women began to talk to each other and organize against men who took advantage of their female subordinates. She then moves forward in time highlighting a number of accusations of rape and/or sexual harassment against prominent men and the women who were brave enough to go public with the accusations. The list includes the 1991 Clarence Thomas Hearings and the accusations by Anita Hill, the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton Scandal, and the multiple women claimed that Harvey Weinstein took advantage of them sexually.

Reckoning is a perfect title for this book. While telling the story of these brave and bold women, Ms. Hirshman inspires the reader to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. She also pulls no punches, calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle, women who stay silent and men who continue to perpetuate this heinous act.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Coming From a Good Family Does Not Excuse Rape

Rape is an unfortunate part of human history and the human experience.

Recently, a young man was brought to trial, accused of raping a young lady. The judge overseeing the case, Judge James Troiano, initially denied the prosecutors case and released the boy. The judge stated the following as his reason for his ruling.

“This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well…He is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college.”

Thankfully, an appeals court overturned Judge Troiano’s ruling and denounced the judge for his decision.

This boy may come from a good family and may have a bright future, but it does not excuse his actions. If the accusations are in fact correct, he is a predator and a criminal and should be treated as such.

In ruling in the boy’s favor because he came from a “good family”, the judge also ruled against the girl and her family. She may also come from a “good family”, but we don’t know that. For all we know, according to Judge Troiano, her family is not worth the same time and effort as the boy’s family.

It’s time to stop the excuses for rape and call them what they are: a crime to prosecuted to the fullest extend that the law can provide. Until that day, we will continue to disbelieve and devalue victim and let criminals get away with murder because they come from a “good family”.

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Shame On You, Susan Collins

There is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women, especially when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

Senator Susan Collins voted to proceed with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to join the Supreme Court. The result is that her opponent has received a tidy sum from voters in donations.

The message coming from the Senate is clear. The voice of the American woman does not matter. Her experience does not matter, especially when it comes to rape and/or sexual assault. While the woman has to live for the rest of her life with the emotional trauma that comes with sexual assault, the man is free and clear to move on with his life as if nothing happened.

The law of the land is innocent until proven guilty, as Mitch McConnell pointed out. However, the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh are severe enough to create questions of his ability to be impartial and non-partisan.

I started writing this post yesterday. As of this morning, Judge Kavanaugh is the newest member of the Supreme Court.

What is done cannot be undone. However, the midterms are coming. American voters will have their say when it comes to who will representing them in Washington.  While only time will tell how the makeup of the Senate will change, I have a feeling that some Senators may find themselves out of a job.

 

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This Is Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault

There are numerous reasons as to why women do not go to the police after being raped or experiencing sexual assault.

Last night, you know who publicly mocked Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both in high school. This is after he stated that he believed Dr. Ford to be a credible witness.

Am I surprised? No. This type of speech from him has unfortunately become part and parcel of his Presidency.

The problem is that his speech only reinforces why victims of rape/sexual assault, especially women, are afraid to come forward. At best, they are mocked. At worst, they are accused of lying and ruining the life of the man or men they have accused.

While it is true that there are some accusations of rape/sexual assault are false, the majority are not. When some say that the man’s life is ruined by the accusation, what about the woman’s life? What about the life long emotional trauma, the PTSD, the shame, the anger, etc?

When someone says that as a child, they were sexually abused by a member of the clergy, I would hope that they are believed. It is the same thing with women who are brave enough to go to the police when they are raped or sexually assaulted.

The only way to end the stigma is to report rape and/or sexual assault. The problem is that the shame of the act permeates our culture, especially on the part of the female accuser. His speech last night helped to make the problem worse.

P.S. Did anyone else find Judge Kavanaugh’s emotional reaction during his hearing to be bothersome? A judge, especially a member of SCOTUS, must the calm, mature and most of all, above partisan politics. His accusations, to me at least, felt like a ten-year old who was caught doing something and took a temper tantrum instead of admitting what he did wrong.

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Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire: A Third Woman Comes Forward

In the latest news regarding the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, a third woman has come forward.

Julie Swetnick stated that when Judge Kavanaugh was in high school, he and several others boys purposefully spiked the drinks of girls attending local parties to ensure that they would be sexually compliant.

With the previous two accusers, one could have argued that this was the act of an underage boy who drank too much and acted stupidly because he drank too much.

The argument is out the window, especially with the new turn of events.

If the accusations are true and Judge Kavanaugh acted maliciously with the intent of gang rape, he should not be confirmed. If the Republicans still push Judge Kavanaugh through, in spite of the new allegations, then they had better pray that they can keep their majority come November. There are too many women in this country who have been raped or sexually assaulted who have the power to vote and have the power to send a men to those in Washington who think that they hold the cards.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

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Bill Cosby Has Been Found Guilty

For multiple generations of television viewers, Bill Cosby is like an old friend. Whether you watched The Cosby Show, eat Jello because of him or adored the Fat Albert cartoon, there is no doubt that he is a giant of American culture.

As of today, he is now a convicted felon and will potentially spend the next three to ten years in jail after drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.

This is a victory not just for the women who were brave enough to speak up against Dr. Cosby. This is a victory for all women who have been raped, sexually assaulted or spoken to in an unwanted sexual manner by a male. If you do this, you will be punished in one form or another. No one is above the law and neither money or fame can hide the truth forever.

While the guilty verdict cannot take away what Dr. Cosby did to these women, at least they have peace of mind that he will never do this again.

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Reasons Why Christine Blasey Ford Should Be Believed

Throughout much of human history, women have been second class. Seen only as submissive help meets to the men in their lives, they had no rights and were often viewed as property. Part of being viewed as property or second class was being forced into an unwanted sexual act that very often left the woman in an emotionally and physically traumatized state.

Thankfully, things are starting to change. One of the women who is helping with this change is Christine Blasey Ford, a high school acquaintance of Judge Brett Kavanaugh who accused him of forcing himself on her when they were teenagers.

Below are the reasons why Dr. Ford should be believed:

  1. Her testimony will have a way in determining if Judge Kavanaugh is ultimately confirmed to join SCOTUS and possibly change the course of American history for the better.
  2. Her testimony will undo the damage that was done to Anita Hill testified about her own sexual assault experience at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing 27 years ago.
  3. Her testimony will prove once and for all that the time doesn’t matter. Those who force themselves sexually on another person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of whether it is 36 hours or 36 years since the attack.
  4. It will encourage past and future victims of rape, sexual violence and sexual assault to come forward and be public in their accusations.
  5. It will make those who are thinking of committing such acts think twice, knowing the repercussions of this kind of offense.

As of today, Dr. Ford is scheduled to testify on Thursday. Until then, we can only wait and maybe speculate as to what Dr. Ford may or may not say.

I believe her.

 

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Christine Blasey Ford Should Testify, But Only After The FBI Investigation Is Complete

In today’s news, Christine Blasey Ford, the Professor who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault while they were in high school, agreed to testify.

However, she has conditions before she takes the stand.

A condition that I would add to the list is a thorough investigation of the incident by the FBI before she testifies.  Unfortunately, this will not likely be done.

In addition to the fuel that has already been added to the fire, you know who put in his unwanted two cents today. He asked if there was a police report and if there is no police report, why it wasn’t reported.

The reasons for not reporting sexual assault and rape are many: fear of retribution, fear of not being believed, shock, disbelief, protecting a loved one who might take revenge on their own terms, etc.

You know who does not get it and never will.  However, I do hope that the Senate Judiciary committee will and not confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will likely set this country back twenty years in ways I do not want to imagine.

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