Tune in to hear Joyce discuss CONSENT with Kristin Walker of the Mental Health News Radio Network. Here’s the link.
On June 19th, just short of a month after my TEDx Talk at TEDxYouth@UrsulineAcademy, a sexual assault victim filed civil charges that underscore why Delaware needs to define consent in their laws. The victim alleges that Psychotherapist Sachin J. Karnik deceived her into sexual conduct. Continue reading Delaware Fails to Prosecute Alleged Sex Offender
We need new laws to prevent sexual assault!
The simple task of posting a few flyers in conspicuous spots can go a long way toward spreading the word about the TEDx Talk that can make CONSENT matter throughout the US and beyond.
YOU can help!
- Fill out the form below to request your copy
- Post the flyer everywhere you think will help!
- Watch the TEDx Talk. Here’s the link.
- Like it
- Comment on it
- Call your legislators and demand change!
Complete the form that follows to speed the flyer your way!
NO cost – NO strings – Just a meaningful way YOU can help to bring about change!
Thanks for pitching in!
In her very first question for our radio interview, Kaity Kline, Public Affairs Director for Rowan Radio On Demand, 89.7 WGLS FM, wanted to know; Why is it sexual assault even when the victim doesn’t expressly say “no” – like in the case of accused sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein?
Yes, President Bill Clinton was likely to have been a sex addict when he cavorted with Monica Lewinsky in the oval office some 20 years ago. He seemed to have had a voracious sexual appetite and no boundaries about what and where sexual conduct was appropriate. But according to Maureen Dowd in this weekend’s OpEd for the NY Times, he belongs in the #MeToo mix of sexual predators.
Yes, he should be thrown under the bus for failing to reject Monica Lewinsky’s advances, but not because their sex was nonconsensual Continue reading Enough #PowerDifferential Mud Slinging at Bill Clinton!
On May 30th, at the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye Wales, an annual literature and arts festival, Germaine Greer made some devastatingly damaging claims about rape including that rape is just ”bad sex” and calling for lower penalties for sexual assault. Greer is an author and academic born in Australia and residing in the UK.
Her comments not only fly in the face of #MeToo and #TimesUp, but also my TEDxYouth@UrsulineAcademy talk (#TEDxUA and #TEDxUrsulineAcademy) that’s soon to be released.
Here’s how the NY Times quoted her:
“Most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever,” she said. “Centuries of writing and thinking about rape — as inflicted by men on women — have got us nowhere.” Rape, she said, should be viewed as a “lazy, careless and insensitive” act.
“Every time a man rolls over on his exhausted wife and insists on enjoying his conjugal rights, he is raping her,” she said. “It will never end up in a court of law.” She added, “Instead of thinking of rape as a spectacularly violent crime — and some rapes are — think about it as nonconsensual, that is, bad sex.”
She said the penalty should be 200 hours of community service: “If we are going to say trust us, believe us, if we do say that our accusation should stand as evidence, then we have to reduce the tariff for rape.” (In England, the maximum sentence for rape can be life in prison.)
At one point, Ms. Greer said the punishment could be an “r” tattooed to the rapist’s hand, arm or cheek.
While Greer is correct that not all sexual assaults are violent rapes, she fails to recognize the destruction of a victim’s self worth in all sexual assaults. So while not all sexual assaults are violent, and therefore punishable as an “aggravated” crime, they should still be punished, and a tatoo doesn’t cut it!
Every human being deserves the right to freely give knowledgeable and informed agreement #FGKIA every time they engage in sexual conduct. Without that willingness to engage, – whether undermined by force, duress or ripped from them by deception – they are being assaulted, not seduced. Force, otherwise known as violence, is only one of several ways a victim is deprived of consent (#FGKIA.) But all nonconsensual sex harms the victim. And everyone engaging in sex is entitled to consent to both the action itself and the actor.
How do we fix rape?
Our laws must reflect the proper definition of consent…. #FGKIA! in order to properly deal with sexual assaults of all kinds. Properly defining consent as freely given knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, is the solution….. not decriminalizing this egregious and life altering crime!
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 Continue reading Harvey Weinstein clearly lacked “consent!”
For anyone thinking of undertaking a TED or TEDx Talk, let me say that it will be one of the most challenging and gratifying performances you’ll ever make.
I’m used to public speaking. I’ve been an outspoken advocate for my community for many years. But the task of coalescing approximately Continue reading #TEDxUA Was Awesome! Will it help turn the corner on Sexual Assault?
My TEDx Talk is just around the corner!
“When ‘Yes’ Means ‘No’; The truth about ‘Consent'” will air live from Ursuline Academy in Wilmington DE, on Sunday, May 20th. As I write, I have no idea what time I’m scheduled. And I’m not likely to be able to post again ’til after my talk, because I’ll be away.
You can get updated information by logging onto TEDx and signing up for news and updates which will fill you in on scheduling and all pertinent information.
As most of you who follow me or read this blog are aware, I’ve long advocated for laws to change the legal landscape on the derisive and covert acts of sexual assault that many of us experienced at the hands of narcissists or other sexual predators. My talk will lay the groundwork for a law that we can pass to end the madness!
I hope you’ll watch and call your legislators to insist they pass the law I’m proposing. If you miss the live streaming on Sunday, you can log onto TEDx Youth at Ursuline Academy at any time on or after May 20th to see and support this effort. Your comments and support would be greatly appreciated!
Together, we can make our voices heard. Call your legislators! Tell them to pass the language you hear into law to make the world a safer place for everyone!
My deepest gratitude goes out to the staff of NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Hillary Barr and Esther Muller of Charles Rutenberg NYC (Realty), and the folks at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center for their feedback and support!
On May 4th, nationally syndicated Kevin Price departed from his business focused 17 years of excellence as the host of “The Price of Business” to speak about a topic he wants everyone to know about… the Bill Cosby trial and what changed.
He and I discussed how the second trial, the one that finally wiped the smug smirk off the comedian’s aging face; differed from the first and what this means going forward.
Who’s laughing now!!!
For Cosby’s countless victims, and I say “countless” because I’m sure there were far more who didn’t reveal their personal stories for a myriad of reasons, recovery just took a giant step forward!
Defilement makes you feel dirty all the way to the core of your being. Our reproductive organs are a primal part of our very existence. For sexual predators, that connection to our inner self is incidental to their interest in playing out their deviant sex acts on our bodies.
Defilement makes the victim feel violated, isolated and invisible. Validation makes us feel accepted once again. Justice provides that validation. Every victim of defilement deserves justice, no matter what device or manipulation was used to violate them, whether by force, duress, or deception.
Hopefully, Cosby’s conviction will serve as an awakening to law enforcement that “acquaintance rapes,” which they’ve long turned a deaf ear to, are every bit as devastating to the victim as being raped by a stranger. In fact, the reality that someone you trust can be so utterly cruel adds an entire dimension to your pain.
Far from an isolated incident
Two weeks ago, I testified to a joint committee of NYC’s City Council who were addressing the New York Police Dept. (NYPD,) over their systemic lack of responsiveness to acquaintance rapes. Councilman Donovan Richards, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee said,
“It’s no wonder that victims don’t report more often. And it seems that NYPD is just fine with victims of sex crimes being ignored.”
The stories told by victims were inspiring, but only two lower level police employees remained to hear them. ALL the top brass, including Chief Monahan, had left the building. “Seriously??” C’mon!!
So what’s next for Cosby?
Certainly not a comeback for his comedy career, unless it’s entertaining other inmates!
Prosecutor Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O’Neill to revoke the million dollar bail that keeps Cosby free. But Judge O’Neill sent him home under house arrest to his Cheltenham, PA, sprawling estate. The maximum penalty for his offenses is 30 years behind bars, but his attorney, Tom Mesereau has pledged to file an appeal.
DA Steele laid legal groundwork to admit the testimony of additional victims, beyond Andrea Constand, who Cosby assaulted. Although Steele had asked for nineteen victims, O’Neill agreed to five. Mesereau will likely say their testimony was prejudicial. Steele will respond that the state has the right to establish a pattern of conduct when similar methods of operation exist. Using the DOCTRINE OF CHANCES, is allowed in evidence. It’s role is to demonstrate that the accused is unlikely to be innocent when their criminal behavior is consistent time and time again.
Another issue the defense is likely to raise is that the judge’s wife is an advocate for sexual assault victims at the University of Pennsylvania. Having a spouse with a view consistent with the findings of the court; however, does not automatically rule out the judge.
Their may be additional rulings made by the judge that the defense will seize on.
Absurdities in this case
I find it astonishing that Cosby insisted he had the consent of a gay woman. How on earth did he possibly feel anyone could believe she willingly agreed?
In his civil deposition, he admitted he didn’t know if he had Constand’s consent. Pennsylvania’s legislators need to seriously address the fact that its penal code fails to clearly define what consent is….. Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement! #FGKIA. This fact is what made it impossible to lock up Cosby the first time around, and it was necessary to torment additional accusers by subjecting them to “slut shaming” in order to get Cosby put away.
Sentencing must take place within ninety days. Because he’s legally blind, and an advanced age, options for incarceration could include a minimum security prison or even an institution for assisted living.
Cosby claimed he’s not a flight risk because he doesn’t own a private plane…. as if he doesn’t have the money to purchase that service. While the saga for Cosby is ongoing, at least the victims have the satisfaction that their tireless, painful efforts were finally rewarded and that they’ve inspired drastically needed change!
In the state of Delaware, their penal code defines what “consent” is NOT- but fails to correctly define what consent actually IS, #FGKIA– Freely Given Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement.
By providing a laundry list of recognized bad behaviors that can be prosecuted, rather than simply holding everyone accountable for securing consent in ALL sexual conduct, Delaware’s laws give a free pass to sexual predators who prey on victims in ways that don’t appear on their list.
Continue reading Delaware- “Non-Consent,” but not “Consent,” Muddies Their Laws
Here’s where we left off from Part 2 in Lauren’s struggle for justice against a man who misused her romantic brain chemistry to con her for sex and money….
The man that scammed me has a flashy web presence that appears impressive to the untrained or trusting eye, but actually reveals the profile of a typical con man. To a trusting person, he would seem to have a clean record with no criminal history.
I got nowhere with the police!
It is nearly impossible to pursue this as a crime, so I filed a civil suit; first as a pro se case, and then I obtained a lawyer. The legal complaint was for “Fraud, Breach of Contract, and Unjust Enrichment.”
Going through the legal process deeply affected me. First of all, it was a gamble pursuing this as it could result in more good money lost if I did not collect. In addition, there’s the risk of retaliation from the scammer. That part was quite unsettling and I lost my sense of safety in this world.
I crossed paths with a dark individual who exploited my kindness and my compassionate heart. I clearly showed that I cared more about people than about money or material things as I was willing to help someone I loved. I helped him financially because I feared he would die of an untreated heart condition without medical care. I was also concerned about his financial situation and that he would be overwhelmed to the point of suicide.
I felt strongly about holding the scammer accountable and was quite troubled that there was an element of organized crime to this. I never wanted to look back on my life and regret not going after him. What he did was so wrong. I also wanted to prevent others from getting scammed by him.
I wished that someone before me had legally pursued justice. If they had, maybe this wouldn’t have happened to me. And, I was determined to get my money back!
Seeking justice inspired a sea change
I had a good case against him and I knew it. The risk was worth it. I had him backed into a corner now.
Instead of my initial feelings of violation and shame that haunted me for many months, once I began taking action, I felt strong, and that I could continue to feel empowered, no matter the outcome.
In June of 2017, my case was settled through mediation and I received a financial settlement for the amount of money he conned from me! I was not compensated for legal costs, however, which were substantial. His scam cost me in many other ways which the courts failed to recognize, particularly, my emotional well-being.
It was exciting knowing that I was making him squirm. When the settlement agreement came through, I felt on top of the world. I felt euphoric. In the days that followed, I discovered a new sense of power and confidence. The entire experience transformed me into a stronger and more confident woman.
A sense of peacefulness and satisfaction are other emotions that come to mind. I also have knowledge about a dark side of humanity and have seen the workings of the “con man” world. Knowledge is quite empowering.
Justice can come in many forms. I obtained some measure of justice. My personal journey transformed me from feeling defeated to feeling validated and vindicated. The restitution of money is also very powerful. For me, it is a symbol of good overcoming evil and I feel really happy when I make those monthly settlement check deposits into my bank account!
What goes around, comes around, and it did in my case!
Justice helped restore my sense of self.
I now know that my caring does not make me a “gullible” person. It does not make me a “stupid” person. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am a good person. The person who scammed me is the bad person. He is calculating and evil. My experience gave me insight into the warning signs of dangerous individuals like him.
It is a very personal decision to proceed with a legal case in a situation like mine. It’s extremely stressful, and there is no guarantee of any good outcome. For me, it was absolutely the right decision. I do not suffer from any ongoing depression effects from this experience; in fact, just the opposite.
I had the option of just chalking it up to a bad experience in life for which I paid very expensive tuition, but going through the justice system allowed me to fully process what happened and to move on in a very positive way. I must give credit to Joyce Short, the author of this site, for her insights and encouragement throughout my journey.
I’m pleased to report that Lauren has indeed moved on and has a deeply fulfilling life. She recently enjoyed a wonderful trip to Europe and has made significant additional changes. For anyone who is struggling with the aftermath of a romance scam, I truly encourage you to use whatever legal measures are available to restore your power, and to fight for new laws that will help shut down the rape mentality that makes these crimes possible.
Society tends to fault the victim in sexual assault cases:
- “They were where they shouldn’t be.”
- “They dressed inappropriately.”
- “They didn’t fight the offender off.”
When we think about the word “rape,” often the image of being dragged into a dark alley by a stranger, and violently overwhelmed, comes to mind. And for some, nothing less constitutes a sexual assault. Continue reading Why it’s tough for sexual assault victims to admit they were sexually assaulted
If you missed Lauren’s first installment, you can find it here. This true story demonstrates the value of being able to seek justice…..
Finding Closure After Exploitation-
Several months later, in 2014, he came to visit me in Florida, and I was astounded when he made a plea for $65,000 to help with a series of desperate situations. When I told him I did not have the money, he asked me to get it from my retirement funds. Continue reading Finding Closure After Exploitation- Lauren’s Story – Part 2
I’m often asked why having the ability to seek justice is so important for victims of sexual fraud. I’ve seen that the pursuit of justice, regardless of the outcome, can bring a sense of closure and empowerment that turns victims into survivors. Continue reading Finding Closure After Exploitation- Lauren’s Story- Part 1
A federal bill to stop “Sex Trafficking” comes up for a vote on the House floor today! You can help by contacting your federal legislators to insist they enact this important bill into law!
Kids aged 12 to 16 are typically the targets of traffickers, but anyone can be lured or abducted into this sordid cycle of violence, drug abuse and defilement.
Here’s all you need to say when you call…..
I’m your constituent and I request you pass the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) today! And please be sure to pass the Mini Walters Amendment that holds internet companies responsible when third parties post information that enables sex trafficking on their sites!
A state with a brain!
Virginia’s Penal Code addresses rape by fraud in a clear manner. Using “ruse” to undermine a victim’s consent is considered Sexual Battery, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Crimes like the one committed by Donald Ward in Indiana, should qualify as Sexual Battery by Ruse in Virginia. Ward crept into the bed of a sleeping co-ed at Purdue University and engaged her in sex. The victim was asleep in her boyfriend’s bed and believed Ward was him.
Virginia’s treatment of sexual assaults is sensible. Their penal code divides misconduct by forcible and aggravated cases and lessor crimes. Initial violent convictions result in felony charges, but repeat misdemeanor offenses will raise the level of the charge to a felony.
Most sexual battery offenses, whether violent or not, will result in mandatory registration on the sex offender list.
Additionally, Virginia will prosecute offenders who transmit Aids, HIV, Hepatitis B or Syphillis.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted through a ruse in Virginia, please notify me at StopRomanceScams@ymail.com.
Code of Virginia § 18.2-67.4 – Sexual battery
18.2-67.4. Sexual battery.
A. An accused is guilty of sexual battery if he sexually abuses, as definedin 18.2-67.10, (i) the complaining witness against the will of the complaining witness, by force, threat, intimidation, or ruse.
B. Sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor.