A handcuffed Harvey Weinstein made his way into court today in lower Manhattan charged with rape and a criminal sex act. Whether he gets locked away or not will depend largely on whether Cy Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney, makes the case for applying the accurate definition of consent, which Weinstein did not secure.
While Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, calls Weinstein’s actions, “bad behavior,” he can claim that the women “acquiesced” – agreed under duress – but he cannot claim that they “consented” – freely gave knowledgeable and informed agreement. Consent, not acquiescence is required for sexual conduct. Problem is, many people, including prosecutors, judges, lawyers, sexual predators and the public, fail to recognize the difference.
Every human being on the planet is entitled to CONSENT to both the actor and the action in sexual conduct. NY State’s laws are clear that people in several positions of authority are rapists when they engage in sex with others they have power over, even if the victim agrees. Agreement when a person is motivated by fear is acquiescence, not consent. And this same relationship existed in the predatory acts of Harvey Weinstein who controlled the careers of the actresses he preyed on.
Thankfully, the news all across the country and in many places around the world is broadcasting tales that vividly display Weinstein’s meteoric downfall. The best result that can come out of this trial is for Vance’s people to make the true meaning of consent crystal clear for the world to understand, and lock up a sexual predator who defiled countless women by pretending they were consenting when they clearly were not.
The judge in the recent Cosby trial had no definition to point to in order to lock Cosby up, making conviction extremely tough. When asked by the jury, “what’s the meaning of consent,” all he could say was “use your common sense.” It took two trials and the slut shaming nightmare of 6 women to lock Cosby up. We need specific language in our laws to draw the line between seduction and rape!
Call your legislators and say. “We need consent clearly defined in our laws as “Freely Given Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, #FGKIA” to stop the rape madness and make the world a safer place!