Jury negotiations began for Harvey Weinstein’s multiple allegations of rape on Tuesday, February 18th. Though more than ninety women have come forward claiming they were sexually harassed or assaulted by the movie mogul, only two cases have been brought before the court. The defense claims all sexual encounters were consensual, ignoring the testimonies of multiple women who say they were taken advantage of by the famous producer. This says scores about the legitimacy of our legal system, which sends poor Black people to prison, often only for the crime of existing, but allows wealthy white men to sexually assault women repeatedly without any consequences. This case also highlights the unequal power dynamics that put young women in danger by people like Weinstein, who is an influential Hollywood player and can make or break careers.
This issue is deeper than Weinstein, though. Women in this society are often pressured by men, especially those in positions of authority, to do things they do not want to do, whether through physical force or coercion. In fact, one in five women in the U.S. alone will be raped at some point in their lives. And as we have seen, men with power and money can often just pay their way out of consequences, leaving them free to traumatize their next victim. Just take a look at the U.S. president.
In the society we want to create, decisions about what happens to your body would be based on desire and choice, not on your ability to land a job or because you are physically forced. Wealth and power would not grant entitlement to other peoples’ bodies, whether those of women, or anyone at all.
Featured image source; credit: Georges Biard, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0