For many people- Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) begins today. But for those who have been sexually assaulted, #SAAM is an everyday occurrence. While we all find ways to put the past behind us, and make the most of our lives, the defilement of rape is character changing. It lives within us forever.
Friday- 3/20- According to the Associated Press- Toledo plastic surgeon, Manish Gupta, who also practiced in Michigan, was indicted for sex trafficking 20 female victims by force, fraud or coercion, and one count of illegally distributing a controlled substance. His case made front page news with the News-Herald, the Detroit Free Press, and the Sentinel Tribune. And 24News WNWO covered the story.
Just before 1 PM today, Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi had the last word on locking up accused rapist and sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein. Her three hour summation was an effort to focus the jury on the important facts. She painted a picture of Weinstein as a sexual predator, not a victim of the #MeToo movement, as Donna Rotunno, his lead attorney, had claimed.
Rotunno’s summation, which took place Thursday, accused the prosecutor of creating a fictional universe in which women were stripped of “common sense, autonomy and responsibility.” She totally ignored the impacts of coercion and force.
Ironically, as my “court buddy” Adjunct Law Professor Jim Petzke of John Jay College of Criminal Justice pointed out, her summation plagiarized Atticus Finch’s closing from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” while she reamed Illuzzi for creating “theater.”
As Rotunno marched down the corridor toward the courtroom this morning, the press strained to get her comments.
“How do you think it went?” one shouted.
It went great,” she responded.
“Yeah, great if you’re Atticus Finch,” I quipped.
In the press conference that followed today’s hearing, Rotunno took another run at casting Weinstein’s sexual conduct as “consensual.” She based her entire argument on what happened after, not during, his sexual contact.
Previously, Illuzzi had produced compelling testimony from highly regarded forensic psychologist Dr. Barbara Zif. She pointed out common rape myths about how people behave when they’ve been raped. She included that it was common for victims to continue relationships with the accused. Let’s hope the jury was listening!
The jury will receive their marching orders from Judge James Burke on Tuesday morning after the long, holiday weekend. For sure, the jury will ask what consent means. His response could make or break this case.
Illuzzi mentioned Weinstein’s use of “trickery” in her closing. She claimed the victims were tricked by “luring.” Luring is neither a fraud in the factum nor a fraud in the inducement. It’s not a “fraud in fact” that would make sexual contact a crime. Luring his victims got him, or them, through the door. Coercing vitiated their consent.
Coercion is a crime. And Weinstein continuously used coercion to induce sexual contact. Coercion is the threat of harm. In fact, threatening someone regarding their career is considered a crime in New York, even without sexual contact. It’s a class A misdemeanor.
Coercing someone for sex is a Class E Felony punishable by 2-5 years of incarceration. Yet the prosecutor did not identify coercion as the weapon that Weinstein used to demand sex. Nor did she prosecute for the crime of 2nd degree coercion.
Burdened by helplessness, hopelessness and defilement, scores of #MeToo sufferers exposed offenders who destroyed their lives. Their efforts were aimed at restoring their self-worth and protecting others. But they were hit with the ultimate wallop…… an offender who manipulates the justice system to drown them in a whirlpool of defamation and cyber-stalking charges, destroying the little bit of equilibrium they have left. Continue reading How to Prevent Your #MeToo Truth from Drowning You→
It’s little wonder that Alaska State Representative Geran Tarr is focused on defining CONSENT for her state’s Penal Code. Alaska has the highest ratio of rape from coast to coast; close to 3 times the national average!
Joyce Short powerfully enlightened the ATIXA audience by demonstrating that penal code on sexual assault is a “Swiss cheese umbrella full of legal loopholes.” ATIXA is the Association for Title IX Administrators from schools around the US. Ms. Short addressed them at their national conference on October 1 in Philadelphia. Attendees included Title IX Administrators, attorneys, and creators of products and services geared toward protecting students. Continue reading ConsentAwareness.net Defines #Consent for #ATIXA!→
The American Bar Association (ABA) recently attempted to provide recommended wording for “consent” in order to get the states and territories across the US on the same page. You’d think I’d be jumping for joy, but unfortunately, I’m not. And the reason is not because their attempt failed, but because their attempt so woefully missed the mark!
Per today’s NY Times article…It was unusually thoughtful for the judge to give Epstein’s victims the opportunity to voice their truth, however, doing so is nothing like the opportunity to face the horrible man who defiled them. But at least, they were able to publicly voice their pain.
Eve’s mother sought the help of fertility doctor Kim McMorries and was impregnated by his sperm instead of the sperm of the donor she’d selected. The truth only surfaced long after she’d established a bond with the man she thought was her father,
We Need More!
The hideous loophole of deception in reproductive rights by a fertility doctor; however, chips only one ice cube off the gigantic iceberg called rape by fraud. There are countless ways that someone’s reproductive organs can be negatively impacted by fraud or deception. No one has the right to engage another person in a sexual act without their freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA!
The NY Times should be covering ConsentAwareness.net’s effort to protect all types of sexual assault by clearly defining CONSENT in the laws of every state. #MeToo made society notice the problem. But they are overlooking the solution. Defining CONSENT in our laws is the critical key to conquering sexual assaults of all kinds!
Please link to the article and make it clear that the NY TIMES should be focusing on #FGKIA Consent = Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement as stated by ConsentAwareness.Net.
What makes the difference between a rape by fraud bill that soars through legislation to become law, and one that fails? ……Creative, responsible, caring leadership like VI Senate Majority Leader Marvin Blyden and VI Senate President Novelle Francis Lewis.
As David Mack aptly described in his BuzzFeed article, Justin Schneider was not convicted of sexual assault in Alaska. Ejaculating on a victim’s face while they’re out cold was not a crime…. not even when he admitted that he’d choked her to knock her out.
Little by little, the concept that deceiving someone about conduct involving their reproductive organs is a crime is seeping into society’s consciousness. This past Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Wiley took a giant step forward that brings this critical issue to light by signing Senate Bill #1259 into law. It becomes effective on September 1.
In the US, states often attempt to define the word “consent” by what it’s not instead of what it is. And our system of justice ironically changes “consent” depending on what you’re consenting to.
Regardless what antiquated, inaccurate penal code tells you, whether consent is applied to cyber security, theft, medical treatment, research experiments, sexual assault, etc., consent is always the same….. #FGKIA, Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement.
In contrast to last year’s Hay Festival… the annual literature and arts festival conducted each year in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, comedian Jo Brand gave rousing support to the #MeToo movement. As reported by The Guardian, she stated: “I feel it is something we need to keep pushing at. It was going in the right direction until certain people said, ‘Oh they’ve had their say, can they not be quiet now?’” She blamed most of Continue reading Hay Festival- What a difference a year makes for #MeToo!→