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.
The judge in New York is held to narrower constraints than in Pennsylvania, where bringing in testimony from prior victims turned the tide toward conviction against Bill Cosby. We’ll need to wait two months for his decision.
The impact of “consent.”
If we had a NY law defining “consent as “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA,” convicting Harvey Weinstein would be a slam dunk! Unfortunately, in NY, just like all other states, prosecutors are held to convincing the jury that the offender’s conduct meets specific language of a particular act that legislators have deemed “without consent” in penal code. This absurdly narrow way to determine when a sexual assault takes place must be ditched so that coercing a person into acquiescence is never seen as “consent.”
Another similar case currently being tried in Manhattan may provide a clue 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 how she felt helpless to resist his attacks because she suffered from chronic pain and he was the only doctor who helped manage her pain for several years. Eleven additional patients at his practices in PA and NJ have made similar claims against him. Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer will announce his decisions on the motions Thursday, August 2nd.
July 25, 2018- NYC- A major milestone to define CONSENT took place today! Subsequent to my TEDx Talk, “When YES Means NO, the Truth About Consent,” two legislators, Indiana State Representative, Sally Siegrist (R) and NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright (D) pledged their bipartisan support to establish a clear definition for consent in the laws of their respectively red and blue states. This meeting of the minds shows that no matter what your politics, we can all unite against sexual assault!
Rep. Siegrist, who successfully fought for legislation to curb human trafficking in Indiana in last year’s legislative session, is determined to conquer sexual assault for her state. Here’s the link to her newsletter. Together with Assembly Member Seawright, a long time champion for women’s rights and the former Chair of the Board of the Feminist Press, they make a powerful pair!
Clearly defining consent will enable the police, prosecutors, judges and jurors to hold sexual predators accountable under the law and prevent the confusion between what constitutes “bad sex” or an actual sexual assault.
“Confusion over what consent actually is makes it difficult for society to comprehend. Our laws don’t tell us the definition. They only tell us what “consent” is not. We need laws to express the real meaning of consent…. Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, #FGKIA,” says Short.
Both Indiana and NY will have legislative efforts to drive the issue of consent forward, and YOU can help! If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault in either Indiana or NY and would like to speak out at a legislative hearing on this issue, please complete the totally private form below.
Also, if you are interested in helping to get other states to focus on this issue, please complete the form that follows.
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.
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!
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!”→
“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.
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.”
NYPD Chief of Department, Terence Monahan, said,
“I take umbrage that you don’t think we take this seriously,”
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!
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!
Until #MeToo, rape mentality was far more widespread than society recognized. The fact that so many celebrities, politicians, successful businessmen and more were recently exposed for abhorrent sexual acts, shows how well-hidden rape mentality has been. Even the President of the United States thinks that forcing his wife into sex is acceptable behavior – a recognition that Continue reading What is Rape Mentality and How Can We Stop It?→
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!
Like a magnet, yesterday’s senate vote in Alabama glued sexual assault victims to their news sources to watch the count unfold! I too rode the peaks and valleys with mixed joy and bewilderment as the results seesawed back and forth. Jones’s ultimate victory restored my faith in mankind.
It’s hard to fathom how voters could fail to recognize the horror of Roy Moore’s behavior and put their selfish interests above morality! It shows how little concern and recognition they have for the sexual sanctity of others. What we can see in the results, a narrow margin – 49.9% vs. 48.4% – is the completely self-serving narcissism with which a large swath of society conducts itself.
The message behind the vote
Looking at those figures, it’s not difficult to understand why sexual assault is so rampant in our nation. The problem is exponentially worse than the numbers indicate because sexual predators don’t simply harm one person. They commit serial acts of defilement. Someone who is blind to the harm of sexual assault is capable of sexual assault. The Alabama vote shows us just how pervasive the problem actually is.
Donald Trump gave us an important glimpse into his soul, or lack thereof. Even though he initially supported Moore’s rival, Luther Strange, for the Republican nomination, he shifted his support to Moore despite the horrid allegations of sexual assault against minors. His behavior clearly demonstrated how people who support sexual predators can be sexual predators themselves. Just as Roy Moore should be investigated, so should Donald Trump. He’s proved, over and over again, that he is unfit for the office of the Presidency. His support behind Moore reveals the sinister underpinnings of his soul, and his ruthless ability to cast morality aside for his personal agenda.
We have a bigger enemy than ISIS in our midst. It’s the grotesque immorality of Trump and his supporters who are imploding our society’s values from the inside without firing a single shot or hurling a single bomb.
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!”