All posts by Joyce M. Short

I'm a TEDx Talk Presenter.... "When YES Means No- The Truth about CONSENT!" And I've authored three books on Sexual Assault. My third, "Your Consent - The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault" is currently available on my webpage ConsentAwareness.net, and will soon be released on Amazon. It is changing what our nation's laws say about sexual assault. I grew up all along the East coast, from Massachusetts to Georgia, and settled in NYC more than fifty years ago. I worked on Wall Street as a Corporate Bond Trader and a real estate broker. I'm a PTR Certified Tennis Professional for Adult and 10 & Under Development. I run a free tennis program for the children in my community. I've done so for over 30 years. I was awarded a "Woman of Distinction" honor by the NY State Assembly. Information about my blog, was used by a Federal Prosecutor to indict a sexual predator with 30+ victims. I advocate for sexual assault survivors and I'm available to speak on the true meaning of consent to any interested organization or group. I'm strong, I'm resilient....I'm a survivor!

CAN Stands with Black Lives Matter

Haven’t we grown up yet?

Abolition ended slavery but failed to end the tragedy of bigotry against an entire portion of the world population. The ironic concept that because of the color of a person’s skin, they are “less than” and therefore, not entitled to dignity and respect, remains a hideous part of our society today, in the 21st century. Continue reading CAN Stands with Black Lives Matter

Battling the Enemy Within – Military Sexual Assault

Soldiers should not need to battle their own colleagues to prevent sexual trauma!

It’s heartbreaking when women who risk their lives to defend our nation become victims of sexual assault by those with whom they serve….  and even their senior officers!  One such survivor, Teresa Crossman, intends to change that! Continue reading Battling the Enemy Within – Military Sexual Assault

“Consent” Interview- Tracy Malone Interviews Consent Crusader, Joyce Short

Available now on YouTube! 

Just in time for Sexual Violence Prevention Month!

I had the recent pleasure of interviewing with Tracy Malone, the creator of Narcissist Abuse Support  which provides meaningful information on recovery, as well as support, for hundreds of abuse sufferers.

Tracy Malone, Coach, Organizer, YouTube Guru on Recovery for Narcissist Abuse

Our discussion ran the gamut between the actual definition for “consent” to the concrete steps people can take to make the world a safer place.

I think you’ll find it enlightening!

Sexual Assault will not stop ’til we #CodifyConsent!

Our laws are failing us!

Provisions and definitions make up all of our penal codes.

  • Definitions explain the terms that are used.
  • Provisions tell us about illegal behavior, but they only make sense if their words are well-defined.

The problem…..

NO STATE OR TERRITORY DEFINES CONSENT IN OUR SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWS!

The end result is a set of provisions that are out of sync with what CONSENT actually is! And sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein say:

“It’s just – I’m confused- and men are confused about all these issues!”

Take the #CodifyConsent Challenge!

We need to elect lawmakers who can and will tackle sexual assault! Shortly, we’ll decide who will govern our states, territories and this nation. They’ll be creating new laws over the next few years. Continue reading Sexual Assault will not stop ’til we #CodifyConsent!

#CodifyConsent – Did you hear what Harvey Weinstein said?

Weinstein finally opened his mouth at his sentencing and showed the world why we desperately need to #CodifyConsent in our laws!

When the jury asked his judge, Hon. James Burke, “What’s the legal definition for consent?’ all he could say was:

“Use your commonsense!”

Continue reading #CodifyConsent – Did you hear what Harvey Weinstein said?

Consent’s Vital Role in the Dance World

Dancer- Olivia Tarchick, Phtoto by Dafid Hofmann on Unsplash

Today’s post is written by Nicole Perry, CAN’s latest Consent Outreach Ambassador. Nicole is based in South Florida and her unique, professional background in the dance world ties right in with our mission to clearly define consent for society and in penal codes across the US and around the world! 

Nicole is an intimacy director/choreographer, dance choreographer, and movement director. She is also a director, actor, dancer, and the founder of Momentum Stage, a non-profit organization providing resources for performing artists. Her credits are listed below her post.

Here’s what she has to say…….

I believe this time of physical distancing is going to make us more aware of contact and proximity when we are able to reenter the “real world.” Because of that, being able to ask for, as well as affirm or deny consent, is going to be a really applicable skill, in a different way than before.

Photo by Jonathan Ballistella on Unsplash

In the world of performing arts, where I work, consent has only recently become a topic of consideration. I am an Intimacy Director/Choreographer. I create the movement for intimate moments on stage, many of which require physical contact.

Recent beginnings

The term used for my job was created in 2004 by Tonia Sina, the founder of Intimacy Directors International. My role centers around consent. The theatre, film, and opera worlds have been adding this role to their creative teams since about 2017. Even though the #MeToo Movement thrust the need for consent into the spotlight, the concert dance world is still behind. But, as last year’s scandal at the New York City Ballet shows us, it really needs to catch up.

Agreeing under pressure

Photo by Nihal Demici on Unspash

Being a performer conditions us to say “yes”, even if we don’t really mean it. The myth of the Hard to Work with Actor, conveys that when the performer does not say “yes” to everything asked of them, they’ll be labelled “hard to work with,” “difficult,” or “a diva,” and will find it very challenging to get work in the future. “Yes, and…” is encouraged as the only response when conducting improv work.

In dance, a teacher models the combination, and students work to look as much like the teacher as possible. Dance pedagogy, while being very teacher-centric and allowing only one voice of power in the room, is also very touch-centric. It allows the person in power to have “at will” access to the bodies of those not in power. This creates quite the paradox:

While dancers are working to have complete control over their bodies, they are also expected to immediately surrender that control to the teacher or choreographer.

The power-differential effect

Beyond a dancer’s conditioning to say “yes”, we are also conditioned to see and respect power. The performing arts are incredibly hierarchical. The director is in charge of the actors, but answers to an artistic director and/or producers. Among the actors there are leads as well as supporting, and ensemble company members. In dance, the choreographer is in charge of the piece, but the artistic director is in charge of the company.

Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

There are the corps or company members, but there are also soloists who rank higher up the ladder because of their opportunities, physical capabilities, and often – their paychecks. These power dynamics are part of a performer’s culture from the very first show they are in; which for many is at a very young age. All of this reinforces “yes” as the only option.

Enter CONSENT.……

In my work, as an Intimacy Director/Choreographer, I tell everyone that the work is based on CONSENT, and “consent” is truly only “consent” if “no” is a valid answer. I assure the directors that I can make a story work and fit their artistic vision, while still respecting a performer’s boundaries. I try to ask open-ended questions to my performers, with no implied “yes,” such as, “Does it work for you if so-and-so puts her hand in such-and-such place?” or, “How do you feel about so-and-so placing her hand in such-and-such place?” in order to encourage them to answer honestly.

We are very pleased to be partnering with CAN to promote Consent Culture in the Performing Arts.

######

Tap this link if, like NIcole, you’d like to help raise awareness and make the world a safer place by becoming a CAN Consent Outreach Ambassador.

About Momentum Stage

Momentum Stage, offers resources for artists and teachers of the performing arts. We have a whole category of such resources that revolve around Touch and Consent. We offer 3 online courses:

In addition, we offer consulting services for studios, departments, and companies to help create policies that honor the agency of, and protect, their performers and creators.

Recent Credits for Nicole Perry include: 

  • Imagine: a Journey in Dance at the Kravis Center,
  • Choreography and intimacy direction for the US premiere of The Glass Piano at Theatre Lab
  • Intimacy choreography for In the Heights with Measure for Measure Theatre, where she is the resident intimacy choreographer
  • Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst through Integrated Movement Studies
  • Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
  • Apprentice at Intimacy Directors International.
  • Founder of Momentum Stage, a non-profit providing resources for performing artists

 

#SAAM Day of Action Challenge

Today is a very special day. Today, we wear the color teal because it’s the day we devote to taking action to prevent sexual assault. And even though we’ve all been put on pause, there is still much we can do to bring the scourge of sexual assault to its knees!

Today is the 19th Day of Action for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Even though we’re sheltering in place, or perhaps because Continue reading #SAAM Day of Action Challenge

What an Unmasked Trump Teaches Us About Consent

By his refusal to wear a mask, Trump is flaunting morality. If wearing a mask were required by law, he’d have to comply. Instead he can flaunt moral reasoning and science to maintain his outward appearance because, let’s face it….  the only reason he’s not wearing a mask is because he doesn’t like how he’d look. To Trump, personal vanity trumps concern for his fellow man.

A true leader would understand the moral imperative behind his wearing that mask, not only to protect those around him, but to set an example for the world.

When you insist that your children wear a mask, and they say, “But the President doesn’t wear one, why should I?” there is only one answer you can give them; “Because he just doesn’t give a damn about who he harms. We do.”

Trump and Consent

Trump’s example reveals why we so desperately need to #CodifyConsent in our laws. There are people who walk among us that will only abide by decency and morality when laws establish accountability. They will skirt around penal codes that fail to cast a wide and incontrovertible net. They will rape, assault, and even murder if they are not reigned-in by established law.

Our sexual assault laws are fraught with legal loopholes that immoral people slip through. For background on a few, read the posts on Donald Ward, Kim McMorries, Roger Hardy, Justin Schneider and more.

The vast expanse of the legal loopholes in sexual assault laws can only be plugged up by codifying consent into law.

The Pandemic’s Interference

COVID-19 has paused the train that is moving the bill we’ve been working on in PA down the tracks. But we have wonderful legislators who have pledged to go forward as quickly as humanly possible.

Meanwhile- here’s a little song to hum while we wait – to the tune of:

“You’re so Vain”

by Carly Simon and revised by moi……

 

You walked up to the platform,

Like all those times you’d  done so before.

And you stumbled over all your printed text,

While you pointed out your ratings that soar.

 

You had one eye on the camera,

As you shift and avoid press with ease.

And half the world, when they listen, they get sucked-in

‘Til your bald spot’s revealed by the breeze.

 

You’re so vain,

You won’t wear a mask ‘cuz it’s not cool.

You’re so vain,

The safety of others, not for this fool.

This fool,

This fool!

 

Oh… Pandemics are not a “real big threat,”

North Korea is not our foe.

And we all should be dying in a painful death,

So the wealthy can keep all their dough.

 

But, how will they actually spend it, once you’ve destroyed our democracy,

We had our choices but they’ve all been dismantled,

All been dismantled, cuz,

 

You’re so vain,

You won’t wear a mask ‘cuz it’s not cool.

You’re so vain,

The safety of others, not for this fool.

This fool,

This fool!

 

Yes…

 

You’re so vain,

You won’t wear a mask ‘cuz it’s not cool.

You’re so vain,

The safety of others, not for this fool.

This fool,

This fool!

Feel free to record your version of this song on YouTube. And don’t forget to post it here!

Happy Sunday! (Due to sheltering in place, I  actually had to look at my phone to make sure I had the day right!)  I hope everyone reading this, and also those who don’t, are safe, healthy, and secure!

And, before I forget, only 2 more days before “Your Consent-The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault” is free for everyone until 4/12. Share this information with your friends. Get your copy. Call your legislators, and demand change! #CodifyConsent

Your Consent - The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault
Free from 4/7 to 4/12 http://bit.ly/YourconsentE

 

 

 

Do You Have 30 Minutes to Cure Sexual Assault?

#CodifyConsent! Help cure #SexualAssault by spreading the word!

In honor of #SAAM…. It’s FREE! Thirty minutes is all it takes to read Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault. It is changing the laws on Sexual Assault and Rape! Can you take 30 minutes to be part of this transformational cure?

In order to lock up offenders, we need new laws that #CodifyConsent! Without the definition for consent in our laws, we’re unable to guide behavior and hold sexual predators accountable. Can you help us make this change? Continue reading Do You Have 30 Minutes to Cure Sexual Assault?

#SAAM Starts Today!

#CAN Celebrates #SAAM
Teal is the official color for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

For many people- Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) begins today. But for those who have been sexually assaulted, #SAAM is an everyday occurrence. While we all find ways to put the past behind us, and make the most of our lives, the defilement of rape is character changing. It lives within us forever.

For the team of CAN’s Consent Outreach Ambassadors, who devote Continue reading #SAAM Starts Today!

What can COVID-19 teach us about CONSENT?

‘Terrified’ Healthcare Workers Fear Lack of Protection Against COVID-19

Many of us will soon be thanking God for our ability to check into a hospital. We’ll be counting on the help of courageous, medical front-liners, who put themselves at risk to heal us from COVID-19.

As we approach the reception desk for intake, we won’t give a second thought to signing the CONSENT form that hospitals require. We’ll happily jot down our signature and scribble our initials where required. Some of us won’t even bother reading the form. Even less will contemplate the horrific travesty and social injustice Continue reading What can COVID-19 teach us about CONSENT?

Force-Duress-Deception: Conflicts in Sexual Assault Laws

Manish Gupta- Indicted for Sex Trafficking

Force, Duress, Deception……Seems logical, right?

Friday- 3/20- According to the Associated Press- Toledo plastic surgeon, Manish Gupta, who also practiced in Michigan, was indicted for sex trafficking 20 female victims by force, fraud or coercion, and one count of illegally distributing a controlled substance. His case made front page news with the News-Herald, the Detroit Free Press, and the Sentinel Tribune.  And 24News WNWO covered the story.

Gupta is accused of drugging and assaulting escorts he hired when he traveled to medical conferences.  His medical license was revoked by the State of Ohio’s Medical Board.  Continue reading Force-Duress-Deception: Conflicts in Sexual Assault Laws

Today- Harvey’s Words Revealed It ALL!

I

I was happy to be a part of history this morning, if only to “stand and wait” at the sentencing for Harvey Weinstein. Even the few “public seats” were given to the press. Only a handful of onlookers without press passes were allowed into the crowded courtroom.

The first person who the police cut off had been waiting since 6:10 AM for proceedings that were scheduled to start at 9:30. I’d arrived around 7:20 and was the 9th person on the waiting line. But as the group stood hopefully, even Continue reading Today- Harvey’s Words Revealed It ALL!

Campus CAN Chapters – Fighting for New Laws & Helping Victims – Dream or Reality?

Joyce Short and Wagner College Professor Patricia Moynagh

Can our first “CAN” College Chapter, Consent Awareness Network,  be in the offing at Wagner College?

Yesterday, through the efforts of Wagner College Professor Patricia Moynagh, I had the honor of speaking to a group of intelligent, enthusiastic, Wagner students and faculty. Aided by my Swiss cheese umbrella, I explained the failure of a justice system fraught with legal loopholes, and why society needs our legislators to #CodifyConsent.

Their questions ran the gamut from “How does drunkenness impact fault?” to “Does tacit consent count: can consent be inferred without it being vocalized?”

Wagner is an educational gem perched at the highest geographic level of NY City. Its lofty location delivers an uplifting view of New York Harbor, the magnificent skyline of Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty.

statue of liberty face photoLady Liberty provides a noble reminder of the freedoms we all deserve here in the US, including freedom from harm and justice for all. What a magnificent backdrop from which to launch a transformational change to protect every student’s sexual sanctity and provide justice for survivors!

Here’s how you can make a difference…..

If you are a student, faculty member, part of administration, or have another educational affiliation at any school, contact me to start a CAN chapter. Your mission could include fighting for appropriate sexual assault laws, appropriate regulations for your school’s Code of Conduct, and building a base of advocates to assist sexual assault victims so they do not have to navigate the system on their own.

The Tale of the RAM and the WORM

#TheRamAndTheWorm #Worm

A ram sat on a rock looking forlorn. His eyes searched the parched earth that had yielded very little vegetation as he murmured, “Woe is me!”

“What’s wrong?” asked the little worm  who lived in a nearby tunnel.

“It’s going to be mating season soon and there are no ewes here. What’s a ram to do?” he asked.

The little worm looked up at the sky and saw a rain cloud rolling over the nearby hills. “I know,” she said. “You’re in luck!” Then she disappeared into the parched earth. Continue reading The Tale of the RAM and the WORM

Convicted Rapist – Harvey Weinstein!

 

Convicted Rapist Harvey Weinstein

At last! Rapist Harvey Weinstein has been handcuffed and remanded into custody. He will no longer hobble down the steps of 100 Centre Street, pandering for sympathy, as he departs the courtroom. He’s in custody awaiting sentencing on March 11th.

Although his attorneys are likely to attempt to secure his release pending appeal, they are unlikely to prevail.

Will Weinstein’s conviction change anything?

Weinstein Attorney Arthur Aidala

His New York based attorney, Arthur Aidala, made several important statements to New York One reporter, Dean Meminger, just steps from the courthouse after the verdict. “If his name was Harvey Jones, he would not have been charged.”

Unfortunately, Aidala is absolutely correct… but not for the reasons he suspects…..

This case received tremendous attention by the press because of Weinstein’s notoriety and because his victims were celebrities. Far from his treatment being unfair because he was singled out, it shows the failure of the system to deal with sexual assault when the victims lack private attorneys like Gloria Allred to represent their interests and are “unknowns” with no press reach or clout.

Aidala also commented that Weinstein reacted, “I didn’t force anyone. I didn’t have to force anyone,” as if “force”is the only weapon in a rapist’s arsenal.  Aidala needs a lesson on “consent” and needs to grasp that “consent” is FREELY GIVEN, KNOWLEDGEABLE AND INFORMED AGREEMENT. #FGKIA!

Force, coercion and deception cannot be used to influence agreement in sexual conduct. Weinstein was not only convicted of forcible rape, but also of third degree rape which, in New York, does not depend on “force.” The “absence of consent” results when a sexual predator uses the threat of harm, including destruction of someone’s career, to influence their agreement.

Although Weinstein’s defense team argued that the victims continued their relationships with him after the events in question, they failed to recognize that Weinstein’s control over their careers motivated their continued involvement with him.

Gloria Allred spoke out

Attorney Gloria AllredAllred addressed reporters subsequent to the verdict. Her client list of “silence breakers,” women who came forward with complaints against Weinstein, includes Mimi Hailey, the victim of  Criminal Sexual Assault in this case.

Allred applauded the women who “sacrificed their privacy in the interest of justice,” and called them “role models in courage.”

Allred could make a tremendous contribution to society by recognizing that most victims could only dream of enlisting her aid. There will be no grand movements like #MeToo to focus on their individual struggles. Her greatest accomplishment could be helping to define the meaning of consent in our laws because the masses need to rely on the justice system to do the right thing. Without the meaning of consent defined by law, their dream of justice is a horrific and demoralizing nightmare.

Lessons learned

The news coverage on the Weinstein  case fails to acknowledge the importance of defining consent in our laws. Society desperately needs this information! Doing so is the critical key to conquering sexual assault. If the Weinstein case has shown us anything, it is how poorly CONSENT is understood by society and our laws. We need this to change!!

Read Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault! 

Watch “Your Consent for Kids” with your children

Watch “When YES Means NO – The Truth about Consent” a TEDx Talk on YouTube

Call your legislators! Demand that they #CodifyConsent in our laws!

Use your voice and your votes to make the world a safer place!

 

Weinstein Judge Comments on Consent- Ouch!


Judge James Burke charged Harvey Weinstein’s jury today.

Shortly after deliberations began, the jurors sent a number of questions to the judge. Their list included, “What’s the legal definition for consent?”

The Cosby jurors asked the same question of Judge Steven O’Neill. He responded, “You’re reasonable people; use your common sense.”

So what did Burke say?

…………………….   “Use your common sense,”

Because neither NY nor PA define consent in their laws, the judges’  responses were typical. And Weinstein’s lead attorney, Donna Rotunno, didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this question was coming.

She attempted a preemptive strike in her summation. She told the jury to “use their common sense,” to persuade them that doing so would be cause for acquittal when and if Judge Burke responded the same way.

The Consent Awareness Network (CAN) is fighting to define consent in our laws so that a clear definition guides jurors, guides society’s behavior, and holds sexual predators accountable. Leaving “consent” up to the “common sense” of sexual predators will never conquer sexual assault!

We got lucky in the Cosby case!

The foreperson for the jury, Cheryl Carmel, was a cyber security expert. She was very familiar with the definition for consent in General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is international law and defines consent.

The GDPR definition is the same as the definition I introduced in my TEDx Talk: “Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, #FGKIA.” Coincidentally, GDPR went into effect in May of 2018. My TEDx Talk was presented in May of 2018.

We need to pray that Weinstein’s jury has researched the meaning of consent.

They could find the consent provision in Model Penal Code,  or the definitions in Nuremberg Code, GDPR, and my TEDx Talk. Without the actual definition for consent, a jury’s ability to convict is seriously hampered.

Forcing or coercing a victim is not consent because consent must be freely given, knowledgeable and informed. The use of force, threat, (such as negatively impacting a person’s career or livelihood), and trickery, are absolutely not consent.

Without clearly stating the definition for consent in our laws, locking up sexual predators is a crap-shoot. Some juries will be aware. Some will not. Let’s hope this jury is aware.

But don’t despair if they’re not aware……

I’m crossing every finger and toe…. and sending countless prayers up to the heavens….. that Weinstein gets convicted. But without a clear definition for consent and defense council insisting that he had consent…. he may not. And we need to be prepared.

In NY, coercion is a crime in and of itself. If this case ends with a hung jury, the prosecutor’s next attempt should additionally indict Weinstein for coercion. Coercion for sexual contact is a Class E Felony.  and it is specific that coercion includes making someone fearful about their career or income. The sentence for Class E Felonies is 2 to 5 years. If there are multiple victims, the sentences do not have to run concurrently. The statute of limitations is 5 years. However, if he is acquitted, double jeopardy would apply unless new complainants step forward with cases that occurred within the past five years.

The unthinkable is likely

Unfortunately, even though I’m totally convinced that Weinstein did everything he was accused of, I don’t think the case presented by the ADA, without a clear definition for consent, is strong enough to convict him. For that reason, I’m hoping that at least there will be a hung jury, which would give the ADA an opportunity to enlighten the next jury about coercion and acquiescence and bring coercion charges against him.

Important considerations for the jury

Some of the current Weinstein jurors could understand consent while others may not. Some could grasp that a victim who suffered the grotesque humiliation of defilement would not want to add the added loss of their career to their suffering by going public or reporting the incident to the police. After the fact, coming forward against a man who their industry revered, and risk being blackballed, would be an imposing obstacle.

Weinstein picked most of his victims because of their career interests. He knew how much they could lose by accusing him of his hideous deeds. They might never have worked in their craft again. They would not only have suffered the harm of defilement, but the exponential loss of their dreams.

Society and sexual assault victims deserve better!

A not guilty verdict would not be a testament to his innocence. Rather, it would be a testament to society’s confusion about consent. If he’s convicted, it’s because at least this jury got it right. But what about the next one?


 

God and the Jury Take Over the Weinstein Case

Accused rapist Harvey Weinstein flanked by his attorneys

Just before 1 PM today, Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi had the last word on locking up accused rapist and sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein. Her three hour summation was an effort to focus the jury on the important facts. She painted a picture of Weinstein as a sexual predator, not a victim of the #MeToo movement, as Donna Rotunno, his lead attorney, had claimed.

Rotunno’s summation, which took place Thursday, accused the prosecutor of creating a fictional universe in which women were stripped of “common sense, autonomy and responsibility.” She totally ignored the impacts of coercion and force.

Ironically, as my “court buddy” Adjunct Law Professor Jim Petzke of John Jay College of Criminal Justice pointed out, her summation plagiarized Atticus Finch’s closing from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” while she reamed Illuzzi for creating “theater.”

As Rotunno marched down the corridor toward the courtroom this Image result for atticus finch photosmorning, the press strained to get her comments.

“How do you think it went?” one shouted.

It went great,” she responded.

“Yeah, great if you’re Atticus Finch,” I quipped.

She laughed.

Public rebuttal

Attorney Donna Rotunno

In the press conference that followed today’s hearing, Rotunno took another run at casting Weinstein’s sexual conduct as “consensual.” She based her entire argument on what happened after, not during, his sexual contact.

 

Previously, Illuzzi had produced compelling testimony from highly regarded forensic psychologist Dr. Barbara Zif. She pointed out common rape myths about how people behave when they’ve been raped. She included that it was common for victims to  continue relationships with the accused.  Let’s hope the jury was listening!

The jury will receive their marching orders from Judge James Burke on Tuesday morning after the long, holiday weekend. For sure, the jury will ask what consent means. His response could make or break this case.

Illuzzi mentioned Weinstein’s use of “trickery” in her closing.  She claimed the victims were tricked by “luring.” Luring is neither a fraud in the factum nor a fraud in the inducement. It’s not a “fraud in fact” that would make sexual contact a crime. Luring his victims got him, or them, through the door. Coercing vitiated their consent.

Coercion is a crime. And Weinstein continuously used coercion to induce sexual contact. Coercion is the threat of harm. In fact, threatening someone regarding their career is considered a crime in New York, even without sexual contact. It’s a class A misdemeanor.

Coercing someone for sex is a Class E Felony punishable by 2-5 years of incarceration. Yet the prosecutor did not identify coercion as the weapon that Weinstein used to demand sex. Nor did she prosecute for the crime of 2nd degree coercion.

Weinstein Defense Takes Ill-fated Run at Impugning Memory

Related image

Friday, 2/7/2020- In an effort to impugn the memories of terror and  outrageous attack, sworn to by Harvey Weinstein’s victims, his defense trotted out a highly established expert on memory and cognitive perception.  Distinguished UC Irvine Professor and Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, testified to how memory can become “distorted.”

Image result for elizabeth loftus photos
Distinguished Professor and Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus

Even before her testimony began, a battle ensued between the defense and prosecution without the presence of the jury. Judge James Burke set ground rules for the testimony he’d allow.  The concept of “gist memory” and specifics of memory related directly to the sexual assault of victims in this case were ruled off limits.

Loftus supplied the typical perceptions of memory fading with time.  The prosecution reminded the jury that Loftus was  not a medical doctor. In fact, when shown a diagram of brain sectors, she declined knowledge of how memory was stored, and the diagram was  removed.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illusi=Osborn

Countless times, she used the word “can,” not “shall,” or “will,” to describe possible impacts of Post Event Information (PEI) . She could not supply data on the likelihood of memory becoming tainted by any specific circumstance except the use of Valium. Her statement drew Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Osborn’s intense ire.

While “expert witness” testimony was allowed in order to provide overall knowledge of how memory works, inclusion of “Valium” seemed coached and specific to a victim who had testified.  Loftus acknowledged she was aware of the use of Valium by one of the victims and that she shaped her remark because of that knowledge. She also readily admitted she was being paid $600 per hour for her expert testimony.

When Loftus referred to military testing on soldiers who were being trained to endure the harshness of captivity, and how the researchers conducting the experiment were able to distort their memories, Illuzi-Osborn was able to secure her admission that these subjects knew their lives and their safety were not actually in eminent danger. She pointed to the difference between real trauma and staged events in which the actual danger did not exist.

Ultimately, Loftus had to admit that core memory for trauma could be stronger than for other types of non-traumatic events.

If weighed on the scales of courtroom justice, it seemed that the prosecution made the stronger argument.

 

Consent Accountability Ryhme

I was honored to be a speaker at this year’s Women’s March NYC, and was overwhelmed by the audience support for the Consent Accountability Rhyme.

Anyone, at any age, can learn and understand what “consent” means. This poem makes the definition for consent crystal clear. It is part of the Your Consent for Kids YouTube cartoon that every parent should watch with their children to grow a Consent Aware generation! As well, sex education classes can include it in their programs. It’s free!

We’ve had Generation X, Y and Z. Let’s create Generation “Consent Aware” for our developing kids!

Consent Accountability Rhyme

 

The words, “You Can,” mean “I consent.”

You say so with your voice.

But it’s not consent when you’re forced, or tricked,

Or scared into your choice!

CONSENT means “Freely Given,”

When you know the facts and agree.

So don’t force or trick, or try to scare,

When you want consent from me!

Watch the Your Consent for Kids cartoon and share it with everyone you know!