This was eye-opening for many, who thought they were either alone or assumed it was a unique experience. The Harvey Weinstein case is also reminding us how power and entrapment take away a woman's true ability to consent.
When you are being held in a space you can't get out of, when your future depends on a person's decision to be merciful to you, it can become very difficult to know how to protect your interests and wishes, I.e. your consent.
I am so glad for the visibility of #metoo, but I am hopeful that we can move the conversation from acknowledging the abuse of women to working actively against it. Two events in Brooklyn seem ripe to discuss in terms of this.
Firstly, police officers Eddie Martins and Richard Hall are before a grand jury case on an accusation they kidnapped, handcuffed and raped an 18 year old girl. The girl had a rape kit done, and both of the cops DNA was found on her body.
The defense that the cops are offering is a letter that accuses the woman of posting a "provocative selfie," that she was depressed, that she was an aspiring rapper and, the piece d'resistance, that the sex was consensual.
It is my belief that there is absolutely no way that two on-duty cops, who have arrested and detained someone who is barely an adult, can have "consensual" relationships with her.
The way that the victim is being portrayed reveals how insidious our culture's beliefs are about certain women "deserving" violence. The ultimate power and authority that a police officer holds combined with physical containment results in a woman losing her true ability to make decisions.
Many of my friends who have tried to prosecute their rapists have met the same defense. That they were "deserving" of the violence bestowed on them because of an attitude they seemed to have, the clothes they were wearing, or a decision that was made that was careless. None of that should have resulted in violence or harm.
This has made a number of my friends afraid to report, or remorseful that they had. Some friends are afraid of what a trial might do to them. It is also very common that these cases are won by the rapist, meaning that the victim has to see them again and again in public.
A recent rape in Bushwick brought this to mind for me. The accused rapist, Jason Lasry, eventually turned himself in. He had 13 prior arrests, eight of which had been sealed.
This is a very dangerous man who was audacious in his crime, allegedly breaking into her apartment while she slept to rape her while.
That a man with 13 prior arrests would feel confident enough to slip right into someone's home and then into their bed just proves how little he fears the judicial system.
The fact of the matter is most rapists and sexual assailants, like Harvey Weinstein, are serial criminals. The majority of rapists will rape again.
When we don't take rape seriously or continue to thrust the onus of the rape onto the victim, it just encourages this crime. When we continuously see law enforcement professionals perpetuating this crime, it only proves the lack of respect our culture holds in terms of women's safety and protection.