Op/Ed:The Fall Out From Harvey Weinstein Continues

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The Entertainment Industry is facing its second major sexual assault scandal, in  as many years, with the shocking revelations that everyone seemed to have known, or heard about, and seemed to be generally accepted as commonplace.

As horrific as these actions are, and there is no way around the facts, the actions are abhorrent, shocking. Entertainment is not the only industry where a culture of systematic rape, violence and sexual assault and harassment is prevalent. It happens in the legal industry, in finance and even in organized religion.

Not just the Catholic Church. The recent Oscar winning Picture of the Year, Spotlight, detailed hundreds of thousands of sexual assault victims. The scope of pedophile priests and the victims were unimaginable. Sexual violence is also in Christian churches and communities.

When these allegations finally make it to the surface the revelations are appalling, deplorable and traumatizing. And we read and whisper, murmuring, as one closest to the center, "it was one of our own" and it is always one of our own, in each of these professions where these horrific and egregious crimes happen, it is always someone's close friend, colleague, neighbor.


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Justice, as we have seen in the Bill Cosby case is elusive and the judicial process is geared that way especially in high profile or well-connected cases.

The victim becomes the suspect in their own crime. Victims are faced with re-victimization repeatedly. In some states like California, cases where DNA was gathered from crimes two decades ago are waiting, still, to be examined.

If victims don't have the rape test completed they lose credibility. If they are sexually liberal, they lose credibility; if they are sexually conservative, they lose credibility. Liberal or conservative, it's a double edged sword for women. In cases where the perpetrator can make or break a career, has money, power, fame, a politically connected family, the victim is suspect automatically.

If they have the test the hope is that sometime before the statues expire it will be tested. And, of course, the re-victimization starts again. If that's not enough to stop victims from pursuing justice then there is retaliation: career assassination, reputation damage, stalking, the release of personal information, the attacker repeatedly showing up because you did (or didn't) resist and therefore really wanted "it."

Are the last 100 or so women from the Bill Cosby case and Harvey Weinstein case courageous? Yes. More than most know. Will they get justice? One woman, whose case is facing re-trial, might. So 1 in 100, not such good odds. And serial predators know those odds. It is doubtful that justice will be served in either of these cases.

Victims are left facing the shambles and catastrophic damage to their own lives and have the choice to pick up the pieces and move on, skip over it, and move on as the judicial system coddles the criminal and rewards the bad and criminal behavior of the elite or wait until one arrives at a place where the past can be wrestled to the ground and dealt with from a position of power and strength. Which is what we are witnessing in the Harvey Weinstein case.

The one element most forget, especially those trying to put back the pieces of their lives, creating something new out of the shattered pieces of yesterday, is that power when knocked off the pinnacle will usually rise again.

Media Coverage

Reading The New Yorker article one can see immediately it was written by a man, even if the author, whose name is Ronan could be, in our United Nations of names and ambiguity, either male or female. The author is Ronan Farrow, Mia Farrow's and Woody Allen's, the director, son.

Farrow and Allen are estranged over pedophilia allegations made against Allen and his then step-daughter, Soon Yi Previn, who later became his wife.


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The strength in which the article was written read like Farrow was hitting the victims over the head with a sledgehammer, again revictimizing them, a tactic that is often used in high profile cases to "show" the victims what is in store for them if they continue on this course of action.

The concern should be that Mr. Farrow was using the article and the position of Mr. Weinstein was to "show" his estranged father his position and the veiled threat of "you're next."

The next violation of simple journalism ethics is the use of the victim's names. I certainly hope he had permission to use the victim's names. Assumption is not permission, assumption is litigation.

Finally, the boldness of which he describes the sexual assaults. Not stopping until he struck the core of the vile cesspool that we, the adult and discerning public, understand Mr. Weinstein called home Farrow heaped his article, his action, on the backs of the victims and rode it all the way to the ATM.

The victims, which any reporter would understand are the foundation of story, quite possibly wanted to survive the scathing recollection of the rapes, molestations and sexual assaults, so they could live free once again somewhere without the branded "V" on their forehead.

This group of women will survive this fall out and hopefully turn the horror into an Oscar winning documentary or something that rewards them for their courage and bravery.

Others, will not. The statistics on sexual assault victims state 5000 suicides each year per state can be attributed to a sexual assault somewhere in a person's past. Sexual assault, rape, and sexual violence of all kinds remains a weapon of war a tactic used to strip victims of their self-esteem, dignity and render them mute.

And those in power understand exactly how sexual assault damages the victim.  

Image from the United Nations Violence Against Women Informational Deck

 

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