Accused of Predatory Sexual Assault, like disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Dr. Ricardo Cruciani, is back in court in Manhattan on Thursday, October 25th. He’s been charged with misusing his power differential to sexually exploit his patients. The Continue reading Is Cruciani a Bellwether for Harvey Weinstein?
Kavanaugh’s appointment illustrates a deep divide in our culture between the male and female sense of sexual assault, sexual entitlement and accountability.
Although not all women and not all men have the same opinion, by and large, when it comes to adopting laws to define CONSENT the Continue reading Lysistrata Anyone? Withholding Sex to Stop #FGKIA Conflict
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!
There are soooo many lessons to be learned by Bill Cosby’s trial and conviction! Today, as he was led to prison in handcuffs, the wry smugness that had punctuated his features had finally vanished. The downward cast of his eyes in his mugshot mimicked the steep decline of his fall from grace.
Here’s my take on the three biggest lessons we can learn from his conviction…..
Andrea Constand’s Impact Statement underscores that violence is far from the only way victims of sexual predators can be harmed. Instead of using violent force to overwhelm her, Cosby used drugs. Constand’s brains were muddled and it was impossible for her to freely give knowledgeable and informed agreement. #FGKIA
Just like Constand was denied consent by Bill Cosby, any victim who is denied consent is sexually assaulted, not seduced.
It’s high time for our law makers to get it right and protect society!
Our present system of testimony in sexual assault trials is appalling. Constand admirably described her ordeal at her deposition for her civil case:
I had to relive every moment of the sexual assault in horrifying detail in front of Mr. Cosby and his lawyers. I felt traumatized all over again and was often in tears. I had to watch Cosby make jokes and attempt to degrade and diminish me, while his lawyers belittled and sneered at me. It deepened my sense of shame and helplessness, and at the end of each day, I left emotionally drained and exhausted.
There is no reason why the offender and the victim must actually sit in the same room. With our present state of technology, this method of questioning is outdated and unnecessary. By its very nature, it’s intimidating and one of the reasons sexual assault victims refrain from speaking up. It forces the victim to relive their trauma in front of the very person who traumatized them.
Murder victims are not alive to testify in person about their murder, yet justice proceeds. Victims whose soul has been murdered should not have to be in the same room as the person who murdered their soul. It’s cruel, and thanks to technology, it’s unnecessary.
One person’s testimony meant nothing to law enforcement. Constand’s case only succeeded in generating action once scores of victims came forward. Her story is the same for countless victims that report the horrific crimes they suffered. Instead of securing the support, help, and justice they sorely need, they’re met with disdain, disbelief and dismissal from the authorities. Had Cosby not been a public figure, it’s unlikely he would have been arrested on sexual assault charges.
In another less high-profile case, Mario Anioine, in Kansas City Missouri, harmed 30+ women. A Federal Prosecutor called him a “serial rapist.” Yet the SVU Prosecutor failed to file charges for rape against him. Fortunately, he was ultimately found guilty of federal cyber crimes.
Each victim of sexual assault deserves to secure the unequivocal support of law enforcement. Their attitude toward non-violent rape or rape by acquaintances is appalling. NYPD Commander Peter Rose of the 94th Precinct disclosed the horrid underbelly of police mentality toward acquaintance rapes when he stated that violent rapes by strangers was a real crime and ignored 10 out of 13 acquaintance rape cases in his precinct.
Enough Is Enough!
How long must we tolerate our lawmakers’ uncanny blindness toward the sexual sanctity of a person’s body and the life-altering, deeply painful, and shameful pall it casts over the victim for the rest of their entire life?
We CAN make a difference! We CAN get the laws changed across the US! Please watch this TEDx Talk! Share it with everyone you know! Call your legislator and say #FGKIA, Sign it into law Today! Don’t vote for them if they won’t give you a new law that protects yourself, your children and your children’s children!
Anita Hill struck the nail on the head today in her opinion piece in the NY Times, A special investigation is called for in order to truly determine the merits of the case against Kavanaugh.
A special investigator can look at the polygraph results and interview Continue reading How Anita Hill and #FGKIA go hand in hand!
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.
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.
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
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!”
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
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?