Ob-fus-cate: verb, to obscure, confuse, complicate, muddy, cloud
A 15 year old girl from a middle class family, who loved to swim and dive at Columbia Country Club, was sexually assaulted. I know this for a 100% absolute fact because….. I’m that girl. And I know who the offender was with 100% absolute accuracy, because he was my father.
The irony of the similarities between Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and I made yesterday’s proceeding particularly difficult for me to watch. At one point I distracted myself by pondering whether she or I would score higher on a full twisting, forward, one and a half in pike position, the signature dive that earned me the city championship in Columbia, South Carolina.
As I held up my trophy, I wondered whether onlookers could peer through the thin veneer of my accomplishment and sense my awful, haunting shame that lay beneath. And I was sure that both Dr. Ford and I had shared that same struggle for many years.
Like Dr. Ford, I was groped. Unlike Dr. Ford, I didn’t wait 30+ years to reveal what happened to me. It took me nearly 50 years to publicly disclose this information.
Dr. Ford proved a number of things yesterday….. the first being that truth doesn’t need to shout. In steep contrast to Brett Kavanaugh’s overly righteous indignation, her facts sang out with the resonance only truth can provide.
It was blatantly apparent that she’d made every effort possible to bring her facts to light in a way that would not hinder the SCOTUS appointment schedule. It was never her intent to cause the delay that preoccupies the GOP side of the isle and closes their eyes to the overwhelming significance of her claim. She’d hoped to inform the public before Kavanaugh became Trump’s recommendation. But she was stymied along the way.
Enter Chuck Grassley…
Senator Chuck Grassley who Chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee turned his position into a bully pulpit to dominate the proceedings with attacks on Democrats for allegedly slowing the process. He consistently and continuously misused Ford’s allegations as a cudgel to wage tribal warfare against the other side of the isle. His intent to win completely obscured what should have been paramount in his decision making process…… What would truly be in the best interest of our nation AND the world?
Grassley attempted to detour the seriousness of Ford’s accusations down the rocky road of political blame. Rather than inquiring about the nature of Ford’s experience, his only inquiries were attempts to fault Democrats for inappropriate handling of her message; as if the world would be fooled into ignoring how totally disturbed his priorities were. He seemed to believe we are all too dumb to see that he is attempting to suppress the horror Kavanaugh exacted on the sanctity of Dr. Ford’s body to rush approval through before the mid-term elections.
Grassley and other Republicans, the majority of his committee, are intent on securing a conservative replacement for Justice Kennedy’s available seat. They are acting out of fear that they may lose their majority advantage with the November vote. Despite that the world easily sees through his smoke screen, he continuously claimed his grandstanding was merely an explanation of the “process.”
In the absolute height of irony he said, “I’m not going to reward people for playing a political game,” as if we couldn’t recognize his con. And he’s attempting to con us in the most transparent way…. by refusing to subpoena witnesses or have the FBI conduct an appropriate investigation. At the very least, Kavanaugh should be required to submit to a polygraph. It could have been administered yesterday evening, immediately after the hearing and prior to this morning’s judiciary meeting.
If Kavanaugh is approved, the American Bar Association should step in and conduct a full investigation to determine if he, indeed, should be stripped of his judicial credentials. In fact, even if he’s not approved, he should be investigated.
The perfect witness…. credible, knowledgeable and humble
Dr. Ford had no ulterior motive. She was not touting any candidate in the ring. She simply knew of the diabolical mindset of one particular candidate and thought his despicable attempt at sexually assaulting her was sufficiently heinous to counter politics. She credibly reported that he’d put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming, and she feared for her life. Her concerns rang true to both survivors and people who’d never been assaulted.
Ignoring fact to favor partisan politics
As if the credible sexual assault allegations against him were not enough to slow or stop the process of appointment, Brett Kavanaugh’s performance from yesterday, both his attitude and behavior, should have knocked him off anyone’s list for appropriate judicial conduct. His personal attempts at obfuscation through heated, sometimes angry, sometimes attacking, righteous indignation fell flat in the minds of anyone and everyone who ever dealt with a liar.
The fact that he could honestly say “I was not there” when he has no idea when or where the actions took place, is absurd. To Dr. Ford, his behavior would be indelibly etched into her memory as a result of the neurological response to the trauma she experienced. But to Kavanaugh, it was just one of many rowdy, drunken, irresponsible acts, with no specific impact to carve it into his memory.
Business as usual for sexual assault
Yesterday’s events clearly showed why we have so much sexual assault in the US. While it sickens me, it doesn’t surprise me.
I have long known that our law makers refuse to enact the cure for sexual assault because men like Kavanaugh would go to jail if they did. And many of our law makers think exactly like Kavanaugh, including Grassley, Lindsey Graham and Sen. Hatch, minimizing the relevance of sex crimes.
If our laws clearly stated, “Nonconsensual sex is sexual assault, and consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA,” Brett Kavanaugh could have, and possibly would have, been arrested for what they excuse as just “boys being boys.”
Until our legislators enact what sexual assault really means and define consent in our laws, survivors will continue to choke on the grotesque invalidation we experience with the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. No matter what the Judiciary Committee does today, there is still hope that the larger body of the Senate can steer our nation back to a moral and appropriate path with their ultimate vote.
Please contact your legislators and let them know you will not elect them again if they vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. And personally, I hope you’ll join me in prayers to whatever God you chose, in order to stop this train wreck from continuing.
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona just stepped forward in an attempt to bring the nation together. He has suggested a one week delay in the Senate’s vote on Kavanaugh while the FBI conducts an investigation into the allegations that have been made against him.
While this means that Kavanaugh’s name will be reported to the Senate for a vote, it indicates that without such an investigation, the ultimate vote may go against his approval.
Unfortunately, there are issues regarding Kavanaugh’s candidacy that surfaced yesterday that won’t necessarily come up in the investigation. Kavanaugh was found to be untruthful in much of his statement. He repeatedly mis-characterized his drinking and stated that witnesses named by Dr. Ford had “denied” her claims when they did not. He made provable comments to objectify a female classmate that he denies as well as other glaring inconsistencies with truth. Kavanaugh seems to have the same disconnect to truth that Donald Trump has…. a characteristic that is untenable in a judge.
What Senator Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump will do regarding Senator Flake’s request for an investigation remains to be seen. It’s my belief; however, that Trump holds the cards, and even he can see that the uproar for moving forward without an appropriate investigation would wreak havoc on his political agenda.
He would if he could. He and his minions tried mightily and failed due to the bravery, courage and truth of one woman; Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Please, help pass new legislation on sexual assault. Watch this TEDx Talk! today!It’s free…. doesn’t cost you a dime, just a few moments of your time that could help change the world! It’s not political! It’s not sexist! But it’s crucial in the war to conquer sexual assault!
Women have no monopoly when it comes to sexual assault. The US Justice Department tells us that approximately 20% of sexual assault victims are male.
Dr. Paul wrote to me about a year ago. He was searching for answers for his wife who’d been badly deceived by her ex husband. She suffered terrible trauma and he wanted to help her recover…. or so he thought at the time. But over that year, their relationship became less bearable as he learned that emotional pain can wound so deeply, it can change a person’s character and turn them into an ogre…… even women. Continue reading Sex Crimes- Women Aren’t the Only Victims→
July 30- Today’s court date for Harvey Weinstein has been postponed ’til September 20th.
What will happen then?
Superior Court Justice Jame Burke will deliver his decisions on motions that have been filed “off-calendar” by the prosecution and the defense. Those motions could include a decision to admit evidence of “prior bad acts” into testimony.
New York judges are held to narrower constraints than in Pennsylvania, where admitting testimony from prior victims turned the tide against Bill Cosby.
The impact of consent
If NY’s laws defined consent as “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA,” convicting Harvey Weinstein would be a slam dunk! But in NY, like many other states, prosecutors are held to convincing the jury that the offender’s conduct meets specific language for a particular act that has been legislated as “without consent” in penal code. This narrow approach makes it difficult to prove whether a sexual assault took place…. not because the case lacks evidence, but because the law simply fails to define the specific type of sexual assault that occurred. Coercing a person into acquiescence should never be seen as “consent” in our laws.
A similar current case in Manhattan could provide clues to Harvey Weinstein’s fate
Neurologist Ricardo Cruciani is scheduled for a decision on motions on August 2nd. He, like Weinstein, is charged with Predatory Sexual Assault, which carries harsh penalties under NY State law.
Cruciani stands accused by six patients of molesting and sexually assaulting them at his office at Beth Israel Hospital in NYC. One patient described that she felt helpless to resist his attacks because she suffered from chronic pain. He was the only doctor who’d helped manage her pain for several years. Eleven other patients at his practices in PA and NJ made similar claims against him. Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer will announce his decisions on the Cruciani motions on Thursday, August 2nd.
For more information on how consent impacts sexual assault…. watch this TEDx Talk.
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.
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.
“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!
Amid shouts of “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Donald Trump has gotta go!” and “Trump is not my President, You’re fired White House resident!” throngs of women, men and children wound our way through the streets of midtown Manhattan yesterday. The sea of hopeful faces marched forward in solidarity with hope for renewed political integrity and equality for all mankind.
While I try to refrain from comparing anyone’s pain to the harm experienced by others, recent political impacts have helped me recognize how struggling through injustice with no possible relief makes people feel invisible. Hearing hate speech and seeing sexual dysfunction from institutions we relied on as the source of decency, cuts deeply into our collective self esteem. It was uplifting to travel together, surrounded by those who embraced morality and humanity, even if only for four hours.
The sight of the Trump Hotel inspired my sense of irony as I invited my favorite New York State Assembly Member, Rebecca Seawright, to join me in holding up my poster: CONSENT = #FGKIA, Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement. I pray we can see these words indelibly inscribed into the penal code of NY and every state before we march again in 2019!
You can help by calling your legislators to demand that they make it happen! #FGKIA can be the solution for #MeToo, #TimesUp and the gross confusion over sexual assault and sexual harassment that enables sexual predators like Weinstein, Cosby, Moore and Trump to go unpunished. It can end the invisibility that sex crimes create in a world blinded by ignorance!
Call your legislator and say, #FGKIA – Sign it into law today!
Today, Amanda Marcotte at Salon ran a valuable piece on the conservative attempt to trash the #MeToo movement. I agree; it’s coming!
Instead of being appalled at the vast quantity of complaints, and recognizing how wide-spread sexual assault and sexual harassment actually are, they are misusing “quantity” to obfuscate and diminish reality. In their convoluted interpretation, the larger and more exposed the problem gets, the less it can be believed. Nothing is further from the truth. Their rationale simply reveals how corrupted their values truly are.
I wrote a response to the Salon article. Please give it a “like” in the comment section for Salon.
There are people who, as a result of their DNA and their developmental issues, lack the brain chemistry that produces appropriate caring for their fellow man and makes them me-centric. They are unable to grasp why they have no right to impose their sexual desires on another. They look at others as objects of their desires, not human beings deserving of respect. There are a lot of them. And they carry out their assaults, victim after victim, which is why so many people have been harmed.
This objectifying of victims, mostly women, will not stop by exposure alone. There needs to be teeth in the laws that guide behavior. Without it, evil people will simply continue to harm others. There must be penal code that prevents them from doing so. We do not have it.
Although the ItsOnUs Pledge states clearly “Non-consensual sex is a sexual assault,” this language has NOT been enacted into the penal code of any state. And if it were, it would still require correctly defining the meaning of consent- freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, into law. Without doing so, sexual assault will continue. Adopting these two important statements into law will stop rape mentality!
This story seems so familiar to many of us in the US. Yet NOTHING happens to put creeps like this guy behind bars here!
It’s not as if the victim was violently raped…. she wasn’t. But she was dealt the crushing blow of being defrauded of sex.
The victim’s father had posted her profile on a matrimonial site. Allegedly, Sameer Anwar Khan responded, claiming to be a police officer and a suitable suitor for his daughter. He actually pretended to marry this 22 year old woman by creating faked documents! Nothing he said or did was the truth.
This predator will not be dealt with as if he committed a violent rape. But he will be dealt with for the lesser charge of rape by fraud. He will do time for his misdeeds and be fined. And that’s how rape by fraud should be treated around the world!
YOU can make that happen, and prevent sexual assaults of all types while you’re at it! Pick up the phone! Call your legislator! Insist that they sign this language into law today…..
“Non-consensual sex is a sexual assault!”
“Consent is Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement!”
Don’t just “like” this message. Pick up the phone! Make it happen!
We CAN combat all kinds of sexual assaults, today!
December 9, 2017- Not even the driving snow and freezing temps could deter dozens of sexual assault survivors from rallying in solidarity in NYC. Staging the event directly across the street from the Trump International Hotel, added a distinct backdrop of irony and inspired signs calling out Trump as “Rapist-in-Chief,” and more. Despite the cold, I was honored and proud to be among the speakers to voice support for the cause.
Sonia Ossorio, the NY State President of NOW, delivered a heartfelt plea that #MeToo will soon become #NotMeToo. Shani Harris, Elizabeth McLaughlin and other sexual assault survivors soulfully moved the crowd with their personal stories.
Organizers, Connie Vasquez and Annmarie Haubert, planned the event as a means to bring sexual assault survivors together in a shared moment of solidarity and support. Because victims are often invalidated and harshly judged, being able to relate their stories to others who shared similar nightmares, can provide tremendous relief and a welcome feeling of acceptance. With hands so cold they could no longer turn pages, they passed the microphone from one speaker to the next.
Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright contributed her message of hope:
METOO is WETOO; the movement has touched each and every one of us and has transformed society. We will NEVER go back but continue to move ahead for progress and equality in all spheres of life.
My explanation about the need for new penal code language got rousing support from the crowd. But we need to spread this message to the world:
While #MeToo exposed the problem, society desperately needs to enact the solution!
We can only hold people accountable for violating a victim’s consent, if our laws make the definition of consent crystal clear!
Instead our laws are a mish-mosh of absurdly differing language and expectations. And those laws often convey what consent is not, rather than what it is: freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA.
Combining an accurate consent doctrine together with the simple but important language endorsed by President Obama and Vice President Biden in the ItsOnUs Pledge, Non-consensual sex is sexual assault,will put teeth into the laws that protect society, and change rape mentality, now, and for generations to come.
Don’t wait. Don’t leave it up to the next person. Pick up the phone to your legislators. Tell them to adopt the consent doctrine and the definition of sexual assault from the ItsOnUs Pledge today!
Consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement!
Non-consensual sex is sexual assault!
Here’s the speech I delivered for the awesome December 9th gathering:
“What a beautiful sea of brave faces! Brave because you dared to publish your #MeToo stories that brought sexual assault out of the shadows and into the daylight. And brave for openly standing together in solidarity, in this driving snow, to add power to all the #MeToo voices that came forward.
But we’re not through being brave! And I’m going to ask you for one more act of bravery……
While the #MeToo effort shines a light on this wide spread problem, it doesn’t fix it. Only enacting new laws to fight sexual assault will do that!
Generations ago, our nation fought a bloody war that embattled brother against brother. But the Civil War is not what actually stopped slavery. Enacting new laws that made slavery a crime so overwhelmingly changed the public’s conscience, that today we wonder how slavery could ever have existed in a moral society. And that’s what we need to do with sexual assault!
I’ve researched the laws from state to state. And what I’ve found is a mish mosh of inconsistency. Even the concept of “consent” is either not defined or poorly defined in penal codes around our nation. How can we possibly expect to lock up people like Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Bill Cosby and Donald Trump when, in most states, consent is defined by what it’s not instead of what it is!
Sexual predators want us to believe that every form of agreement carries the same weight. But nothing could be further from the truth! Consent is NOT the only form of agreement. But it’s the form of agreement that’s required in ALL sexual contact!
There’s acquiescence, like when you’re 5 foot 2 and 110 pounds soaking wet, and you’re assaulted by someone 6 foot tall, 225 pounds, and you freeze like a butterball turkey because you’re afraid to anger them and make the problem worse than it already is. I know, because that’s exactly what happened to me!
There’s assent, like when you’re the sole support of 2 kids and your boss corners you by the water cooler, gropes your breasts, and you say nothing because losing your job is simply not your option!
But neither of these forms of “agreement” rise to the level of “consent, which is “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement,” FGKIA!
President Obama (and yes, he’s still my President) and Vice President Biden endorsed the ItsOnUs Pledge with very special language that together with FGK&IA, can turn the tables on rape mentality. They said, “Non-consensual sex is sexual assault.” But you won’t see those words stated anywhere in penal code, anywhere in our nation. We need to change that! We have to establish what sexual assault is, and we have to establish what consent is to bring rape mentality to an end!
So what’s the brave thing I’m going to ask you to do today?
Call your legislators! Make sure they know you want “Non-consensual sex is a sexual assault” and “Consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement,” signed into the laws in your state, right away! Light up their switchboards! Illuminate the path to stop rape mentality today!
So let me hear you! FGK&IA, sign it into law today!
FGK&IA, sign it into law today!”
Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo twitter concept is brilliant! Now lets give it a boost by describing the nightmare you survived! Here are the parameters….
If you were harmed by a sexual predator… please tell your story in the comments section! Let the world understand the pain you’ve suffered and how these dregs of society operate!
If they were charged with a crime, or if a judgement was issued against them, including a judgement for monetary damages in a civil action…. post it, AND their name, loud and clear. If there is no “public record” of their behavior, please post your story but keep their name to yourself. If you ultimately bring action against them, or find out that someone else has succeeded in doing so, come back and tell me. I will display their name and the judgement against them on this site.
We do not have criminal laws across the nation that prevent sexual assault. And we do not have a police force that even cares whether people are victimized. They only recognize sexual assaults that involve violence by a stranger. If you read my post on Commander Rose of the 94th Precinct, you’ll see those words coming directly out of his mouth. The police do not comprehend how devastating it is to be harmed by someone you trusted like a boss, a family member, your date, etc. They do not get the double-whammy that mauls your psyche when you are defiled by someone you know!
Here’s the thing…. I don’t want anyone charged with defamation. Predators do not want the world to know and will do what they can to silence you. Once a judgement is made, their information is public record and can be disclosed. They cannot prevent the public display of public information.
Until we get real and significant laws to stop sexual predators, you can still seek justice! Many of you needed to secure therapy in order to overcome the harm they committed against you. The cost of that therapy should not come out of YOUR pocket. Others were not only hoodwinked into sex, but also into monetary losses. Use small claims court or pro se court to recover your losses. Once you have that judgement, we can post it here so the world will know.
Don’t let someone who harmed you get away “Scott free.” They will keep on harming more and more victims! Exposure can put the brakes on their behavior!
And if you haven’t done so already, get your copy of “Combating Romance Scams, Why Lying to Get Laid Is a Crime!” and demand that your legislators read it and enact laws that wake up society to what consent really is, “Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement.” Anything less than that, to conduct sex, is rape!