Tag Archives: sexual assault

Cry Those Crocodile Tears, Harvey Weinstein

After a millennia of women being viewed merely as sexual beings to be used for men’s pleasure, things are finally starting to change for the better.

Former Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday.

He can cry all of the crocodile tears he wants. He knows what he did. He knows that he forced himself on those women, dangling career prospects and make all sorts of threats if they did not give into him.

Cry those crocodile tears all you want, Harvey Weinstein. Your going to rot in jail.

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Justice NOT Served: Harvey Weinstein and the Houston Astros

When we are children, we are taught right from wrong. We are taught that cheating and stealing is not the way to succeed. We are also (hopefully) taught that when we get to an age in which we start dating, that we respect the romantic and sexual boundaries of our partners.

The verdict in the Harvey Weinstein trial was delivered today. Of the five counts of rape and sexual assault, he was found guilty of the lesser counts. The three higher counts, which would have put him away for the rest of his natural life, he was found not guilty of.

In my opinion, justice was not served. He may get somewhere from five to twenty five years in jail, but that is not enough. It will never be enough. Even if he gets the maximum sentence possible, it does not compare to the emotional jails that the women he forced himself on will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

When the Houston Astros when the World Series in 2017, it was a time to rejoice. After the destruction that Hurricane Harvey left in it’s wake, the city, the team and the fans needed something to put a smile on their faces. Recently, it was revealed that the team cheated by stealing signs.

Winning the World Series is not something that is done easily. I can only imagine the blood, the sweat and the tears that it takes to be within reach of the title of “World Series Champions”. It dishonors the fans, the league and every other team that worked their butts off who could have only wished to have played in World Series. It’s not enough to have fired management. The team should be forced to give back their rings, their trophy, their substantial pay raises and forfeit their win.

It has been said that justice is blind. In the cases of Harvey Weinstein and Houston Astros, she was also deaf, dumb and somewhere else.

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Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World Book Review

We all know that for most of human history, women have been at best second class citizens and at worst, property. When it comes to sexual assault and rape, the complaints, if they have been made public have not be received and responded to as they should have.

Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World is a new compilation of essays edited by Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman. In their own words, each writer answers the following question: what if we not only we believed women, we took their claims of rape and sexual assault seriously?

The best thing about this book is the variety of writers. Each writer brings his or her own experience into the essay, answering the question in a way that is both personal and profound. By attaching a human face and a unique story to these very difficult topics, these writers are helping to break down the barriers and start a conversation that should have started a long time ago.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape Book Review

In the eyes of certain people (who shall remain nameless), when a women says no to sex, it does not mean no. It means yes.

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape was originally published in 2006. Republished in 2019, the book is a compilation of essays put together by editors Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. Open, sometimes hard to read and in your face without being difficult, the book explores how women’s sexuality is treated, especially when rape and/or sexual assault occurs.

This book is brilliant and a must read for anyone, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. It throws off the old ideas of about women and the misconceptions of our sexuality. By throwing off these ideas, it forces readers to take a hard look at how women’s sexuality is viewed and what must be done so rape and sexual assault becomes a thing of the past.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Jagged Little Pill Broadway Musical Review

Family is complicated. Life is complicated. Bring those together and you have a complicated reality.

The new musical, Jagged Little Pill (based on the groundbreaking 1995 album by Alanis Morissette) takes place in suburban Connecticut. The Healy family appears to be picture perfect. Steve Healy (Sean Allan Krill) works long hours in the city, creating an emotional rift between himself and his family. His wife, Mary Jane (Elizabeth Stanley) does everything she can to be the perfect wife and mother. But an off stage car accident and a prescription for post surgery pain killers has led Mary Jane down the road to addiction.

Their son, Nick (Derek Klena) is everything a parent would wish for in a teenage son. His collegiate path seems to be headed straight to the Ivy Leagues, but Derek is not sure if this is the best option for him. Adopted daughter Frankie (Celia Rose Gooding) is unsure about her place in her mostly White community. Focused on social justice and getting into a relationship with her best friend Jo (Lauren Patten) is only the beginning of her struggles.

With a book written by Diablo Cody, Jagged Little Pill is more than the standard jukebox musical. The narrative includes thorny issues such as addiction, sexual assault, finding your sexuality, growing up, etc. But instead of being written as if standing on a soapbox, Cody naturally integrated the issues into a story of a family going through a rough patch.

Though the impression is that one needs to be a fan of Morissette and her music to enjoy the show, that is not necessarily true. It helps to know the songs, but not knowing them is not a deterrent for seeing and enjoying the show. I don’t see Broadway musicals very often, but this (for me at least) is one for the books.

I will warn that some long time Morissette fans might be a little put off by change of some lyrics. The changes were only made to match the narrative and are still the same songs that we have known and loved for 25 years.

I absolutely reccomend it.

Jagged Little Pill is playing at the Broadhurst Theater in New York City. Check the website for showtimes and ticket prices.

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Best Books of 2019

To say that I am a bookworm is an understatement. As you might expect, I’ve read quite a few books this year.

Without further adieu, my list of the best books of 2019 is below.

  1. The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power: This book is #1 because it represents how far American women have come and how far we need to go before we are truly equal. In celebrating the success of these female politicians, the authors are paving the way for the next generation of women to represent their country.
  2. The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught In Between: This compelling and true story of one small town and it’s Jewish residents during World War II is as compelling as any fiction novel of the Holocaust.
  3. Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II: Telling the story of Audrey Hepburn‘s childhood during World War II, this book is a must-read for both movie junkies and history nerds alike.
  4. Summer of ’69: History is not just facts in a book. It the lives and experiences of those who lived through that period. In telling the story of one specific family, the summer of 1969 comes alive.
  5. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators: The revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s actions two years ago was appalling and world-changing. In bringing his actions to the light, the authors are giving his victims what should have been theirs in the first place.
  6. Unmarriageable: A Novel: This adaptation of Pride & Prejudice set in Pakistan proves why Austen’s novels are universally loved and rebooted time and again.
  7. The Mother of the Brontes: When Maria met Patrick: The previously untold story of Maria Bronte (nee Branwell) is a fascinating story of the women who would bring Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte into the world.
  8. Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman: It takes guts to be yourself. It takes even more guts when being yourself means that you are no longer part of the community you grew up in.
  9. She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement: The reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal knew what they were up against. They also knew how important it was for the public to know the truth.
  10. The Winemaker’s Wife: Love and betrayal are enough to handle. Add in war and you have this marvelous novel set in France during World War II.

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Filed under Anne Bronte, Book Review, Books, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Movies, Pride and Prejudice

Cry Me a River, Harvey Weinstein

Sexual assault and sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is sadly nothing new.

When the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal hit the press two years ago, it was nothing short of earth-shattering. After a millennia of women not being heard about sexual misconduct by their male bosses, it was revelation.

Yesterday, Weinstein sat down with several newspapers and complained about his ruined reputation.

His childlike defense was the following:

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!” he bragged.

Cry me a river. He knew what he was doing. He knew that he was literally dangling work over their heads in return for sex. He is only crying foul because he got caught and lost everything.

I have a message for Mr. Weinstein. Grow up, grow a pair and admit what you did. An adult admits when they did something wrong. A child not only refuses to admit their error of their ways, they blame others and cast themselves as the victims. Care to guess which one Mr. Weinstein is?

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Bombshell Movie Review

Since the beginning of human history, sexual assault and sexual harassment has been the norm. Especially by powerful men who use sex as a tool against female subordinates or women who lack power. In our era, the balance is starting to tip against the men who use sex as a weapon, but not without the brave women who have come forward.

The new movie, Bombshell, tells the story of Fox News sexual harassment scandal from the perspective of the women who broke the scandal and stopped the harassment in it’s tracks. Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) are the headliners. Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) is the newbie. Rumors of sexual indiscretions against the female staff by the late Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) have been floating around for years, but have not been verified.

The women must make a choice. Do they speak up and lose their jobs? Or do they stay silent and let the toxic atmosphere remain?

This movie is incredibly timely and at times, incredibly uncomfortable. But, I suppose, that is point of this film. Lithgow, as Ailes, is creepy, but not overtly so and not in the first few minutes of the audience meeting him. It is that initial lack of creepiness that makes the audience think that maybe he is not so bad.

If there is anyone to give kudos to, it is the makeup and hair teams. At first glance, one would not know the difference between the really Megyn Kelly and Charlize Theron in character. The resemblance is uncanny.

But, if this film has one flaw, it is that the slow burn is too slow. Anyone who watches the news knows how the movie ends. But it takes a little too much time for the filmmakers to get to that point.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning towards yes.

Bombshell is presently in theaters.

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Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators Book Review

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, it did not break out of thin air. Getting the story to the public took time, effort and going against powerful people who would do almost anything to keep the story out of the news.

Ronan Farrow was one of those reporters. In his new book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Farrow walks the reader through the process of reporting the story of the Weinstein scandal and the major barriers that were in his way. Back in 2017, Farrow was working for NBC. What started out as a routine investigation blew up into a news story that revealed a dark side of our culture that few were willing and/or able to expose.

Though this book is non-fiction, it reads like a spy thriller. The scary thing about this book goes well beyond what Weinstein did. The scary thing is that he had accomplishes who actively helped to bury the story. To my eyes, it says that men like Weinstein still hold all of the cards. The women he attacked and intimidated are powerless.

However, there is a glimmer of hope. There are good people in this world, like Ronan Farrow, who despite the challenges, are willing to stand up for what is right.

If only there were more like him.

I absolutely recommend it.

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The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation Book Review

Unless one is a diehard political junkie, the confirmation process of potential Supreme Court judges is an event that can be missed. But the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh last year was must-see TV. The sexual assault allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford made viewers and those in the halls of power ask if Judge Kavanaugh was truly up to the task at hand.

The new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, by New York Times writers Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin, is more than the story of Judge Kavanaugh. It is a mirror that reveals the truth that America is a divided nation, politically, socially and culturally. While telling the story of Judge Kavanaugh’s life, Kelly and Pogrebin do a deep dive into who their subject is and the accusations that nearly stopped his career in its path.

Like many Americans, I watched this story like a hawk last fall. What I like about the book is that the writers leave the perspective up to the interpretation of the reader. Though they make clear that the allegations are serious (as they should), they do not play judge and jury.

As a feminist, I have two perspectives on this story. The first perspective is that Judge Kavanaugh acted in a way that only one who is young, immature and stupidly drunk will act. It appears that in middle age, he has matured well beyond the young man he was in the 1980’s. The second perspective is that this is a man who has no respect for women, especially when he is not sober. If he truly has no respect for women, how is able to make sound legal judgements that can potentially affect millions of American women?

I recommend it.

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