Not Victim Shaming; An Intellectual Exercise

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by goofyfish, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    By not coming forward and bringing his predatory nature to light, do the women assaulted by Harvey Weinstein share any responsibility for those assaulted afterwards?
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    No. Pressure not to come forward was part of their victimization.
    pjdude1219 likes this.
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  5. Bells Staff Member

    Hey, you're back! How have you been?

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    Anywho, to answer your question..

    The answer is no. These women are victims and were placed under enormous pressure and threats against their careers, for example, to remain silent.

    And women had been coming forward and reporting him for decades. It is why his company settled out of court and forced those women to sign non-disclosure agreements. Not to mention his staff had to sign similar agreements as well.

    That question should be aimed at his brother and the board members of his company, who would have known what had been happening, not to mention all the others in the industry and the media who knew and actively protected him.
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  7. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    Hey, Spider. I am not arguing whether they were victims themselves.
    Hiya, Bells! Just slumming a bit.

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    The women were absolutely victims. No argument. There are plenty of recriminations to go around as well: family, company, government attorneys. And, yes. he was reported and companies settled, but the women were not forced to settle. They signed non-disclosures in exchange for money. In choosing a financial boon over the threat to women in future assaults, did they help to facilitate his predations?
  8. Bells Staff Member

    Recriminations doesn't actually cover it.

    Who says they weren't?

    What do you think would have happened to these women if they had come forward say, 20 years ago? He was in a position of power over them, he controlled their careers and had the capacity to ruin their careers for good. These women had very little options left. The studios supported him, his company, the man had immense power and control. The only reason he is currently in the position he is in now is because once this story finally broke (after so many years of media and news organisations trying to shelve it), and more and more women came forward, he could no longer deny and his company's board realised that it was out in the open and they were tarnishing themselves, resigned and they finally sacked him.

    But did you notice how the big players in the industry, media and film, pretty much said nothing until he was fired? It was only after that that they started laying the condemnation down so thickly. And you question why those women settled as they did?

    No they did not. I think his brother and the company, not to mention movie studios, agents, directors, the media were the ones who facilitated him and protected him to ensure he could keep sexually harassing and sexually assaulting women.

    More importantly, why is it down to the victims to somehow or other control his behaviour to ensure he does not do it again when his own brother, family, company, not to mention the industry, afforded him the protection and literally ensured he could keep doing it without recrimination or punishment?

    It was not the victims and those who received compensation who enabled him. It was everyone else who not only enabled him, but also forced those women to remain silent or lose everything.

    And who would they have reported him to? The man wielded so much power and influence that the industry and the media helped to cover it up.
  9. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Well then, victims of a crime can't be responsible for that crime.
  10. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    Not the crime of assault on themselves. The crimes committed on later women.
  11. Bells Staff Member

    How are the victims responsible for those?

    I find it astonishing that this question is being asked about his victims, who were effectively silenced by a man of immense power over them, by an industry that protected that man, by a company who did the same..

    His earlier victims did speak out about it, they told people, because everyone knew what he was doing. And those who knew did absolutely nothing.

    And the question being asked is whether his victims bear some responsibility because they received compensation and were forced into silence by a powerful man in a powerful industry who fully supported him, despite their knowing what he was doing?

    His sexually harassing and assaulting women was treated as a joke in the industry, something to be laughed at.. Now consider this, this is an example of sexual harassment:

    One woman described this situation: she was in a circle of colleagues at a work Christmas party, and her boss reached across the circle and grabbed her breast. The thing that she focused on the most was not that, but the fact that everyone in the circle laughed. And the impact that had on her, of realising: ‘These are my colleagues, that was their response, how could I possibly report it?’ was greater than [that of] the act itself.”

    Weinstein's victims not only reported it, they tried to sue him. They were literally forced into silence by a man, an organisation and an industry that demanded their silence. All knew about what he was doing and instead of their doing something, his sexually harassing and sexually assaulting women became a joke in the industry.

    I mean, I need to ask, who else were his earlier victims meant to report his sexual harassment to? The industry, studio's, actors, media who knew and did nothing about it and enabled it? The police? Sexual harassment was not a crime back then. And who would have believed these young unknown women against a Hollywood heavweight who wielded so much influence that the entire industry did nothing to try to stop his actions?

    Everyone knew, everyone enabled it. And we are questioning whether his earlier victims share some responsibility because they accepted a compensation payout and were forced into silence, after which he kept abusing other women?

    What about the industry who made millions, actors who made millions, off the man they knew was sexually harassing and assaulting women in his employ and those who were contracted to his company as actresses, all of whom had to sign non-disclosure agreement? What about those who knew and did what they could to try to silence journalists who tried to break this story years ago?

    What about organisations like the NBC and the NYT's who essentially shelved stories about Weinstein's deviancy, and forced journalists and those who knew to remain silent years ago?

    Why are the victims expected to have stopped him when they were in no position to have done so, but those who were in a position to have stopped him enabled him, protected him and made jokes out of his behaviour, not to mention made billions from dealing with his company?

    As the writer, feminist and human rights activist Joan Smith reminds us: “The men who do this, do it because they have the power and wealth to get away with it. They deliberately pick on women who are less powerful than themselves.” If you had a lot of professional or cultural capital yourself, it is less likely that you would be sexually harassed; when you chastise victims for not speaking out sooner, you’re asking women to suffer the double punishment of being harassed in the first place, and then having to kill the green shoots of a nascent career for some higher altruistic purpose. Practically if not explicitly, it’s not much different from saying it’s their fault.

    Laura Bates, whose Everyday Sexism project did a huge amount to change the way sexual harassment is talked about, has some stark detail on this, having done a joint research project with the TUC: “When women do report sexual harassment, the outcomes are terrible. Over two-thirds of young women are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace now, today. Eighty per cent of them felt unable to report it, but three-quarters of the ones who did said that nothing changed afterwards, and 16% said that the situation got worse.”

    Prof Liz Kelly, director of the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University, says: “I feel really uncomfortable hearing some of the statements [saying], ‘If only women had spoken out about this earlier, they might have stopped it.’ Women did speak about it. He used his position of authority to mute their voices. It is unrealistic and inaccurate to expect this to be stopped by the people it’s happening to.”

    Before we question the victims who received compensation for being victims of sexual harassment and were effectively silenced, before we question their motives for "signing non-disclosure for the money" (leaving aside the fact that these women were suing for being sexually harassed), why aren't you questioning the motives of the movie studios who were aware of it and were still willing to work with him to make billions and enable his behaviour and joked about what he did to his victims?

    The actual people who were in a position to stop it refused to do so and instead, enabled him, while getting rich in the process. Instead of questioning the victims and their 'getting money for their silence' after they sued and tried to speak out to deaf ears in the industry, you should be questioning all of those who ensured he could keep doing it with their absolute support and protection.
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Responsibility? No.

    If they came forward, might they have reduced the odds of future attacks? Yes. But there's only so much any one person can do - and after being a victim of a crime like that, most people are concentrating more on rebuilding their lives than stopping future attacks. (Which is, generally, a good decision.)
  13. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    Whoopie Goldburg says on "The View":::

    "Sunny, you have to make the decision. It's a decision. Are you gonna take it? If you have to take it, you have to tell everybody what's happening. But you cannot say no one has the choice, you do, it's hard, it's hard," Goldberg said. "At some point, we have to say to every woman out here, if somebody does this to you, you gotta scream at the top of your lungs and other sisters will help you get another job. But you don't have to take that."

    Best i can make out from what Whoopie said is... she woud report such abuse... an all other women shoud also.!!!
  14. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    there is also the fact to ask that is literally demanding people sacrifice there own wellbeing for others. the choice to come foward is a deeply personal one and one that it also not an easy choice to make.
  15. Bells Staff Member

    Women did report it.

    His actions and how he behaved would not have been so well known if his victims did not report it.

    And the industry did nothing at all for the victims, and instead pandered and enabled him further.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    "I should think it becomes clear that the question is not really 'Why do so few women report rape?,' but rather, 'Why do so many women actually report rape?'—when one considers what is likely to come of it."

    A friend once said it as clearly as I never could.
  17. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    The industry, like the victims, calculated that it had more to gain through acquiescence. Those calculations have recently been significantly revised.
  18. Bells Staff Member

    The victims had everything to lose. And I think that is what keeps being missed in this discussion.

    I have to say, I find it appalling that we are questioning whether the victims allowed it to continue for not speaking out enough. Would we say the same thing to other victims of abuse?

    Because what he did was abuse. He had everything to gain, he had a company that freely knew what he was doing, an industry that actively supported him, people within that industry who attempted to stymie others from accusing him of wrongdoing. In retelling one of Weinstein's sexual assault victims, one thing became clear. His victim did not want it to happen, but she was left with a feeling that she had no other choice. She was coerced into consenting, just to get it all over and done with. She too was a young actress, just beginning with her career.

    There are stories like theirs within every industry. But, on the rare occasions when such stories are publicly told, many crucial factors are often left out, or obscured: the complex dynamics that kick in during the incident; the deadening calculus that follows right after; the long, uneven, unpredictable aftermath. In Weinstein’s case, these factors are uniquely visible: he is a celebrity, many of his accusers are celebrities, and the business of Hollywood is partly conducted in public—the power matrix in the story is unusually clear. There are also, already, so many women accusing Weinstein, all speaking of such similar incidents, which occurred at such similar places within their respective careers, that the comet trail of each act contributes to a collective pattern. The case has illuminated the very ordinary reality of being a young woman with a desire to succeed, perform, and please others, who is sexually targeted by a powerful man in her field—a man who aims to use his position in a way that will affect her career and her selfhood whether she relents or escapes. These, too, are open secrets among women: what that moment feels like, what you think about when you consider your options, why you carry this stuff with you for so long.

    There is no good exit from a hotel room with Harvey Weinstein. I am not prone to self-doubt, or even to taking things personally, but the slightest brushes I’ve had with men who bait-and-switched their interest in my work and my body have left me feeling that I am, as Argento felt she was, a fucking fool. The sense of diminishment, even if it’s slight or temporary, which it often is not, is exacerbated by the fact that men like Weinstein do not show themselves, spiritually or literally, to women above a certain point in the hierarchy of power, and they generally hide the worst of their behavior from other men. This makes for a false but often convincing narrative—you are prey only when you are not good enough, and so you must not have been good enough if you were prey.

    This is, I think, the primary reason that some women maintain relationships with their attackers. When you are treated like an object, things about you that you cannot change are reframed. If a man interprets your youth as sexual vulnerability, he can make it seem that you have no choice but to be sexually vulnerable—after all, you have no choice but to be young. And so you might conclude that you need to redeem the encounter within a narrative that you may not like but in which you can at least actively participate. This might mean engaging in consensual sex afterward, to make you feel like you wanted it the first time, though you know you didn’t. Or staying friendly with the man in the hopes that you’ll find out that he actually did value you, and he wasn’t just hoping for access to your body. Or even trying to get something out of the transaction, whatever you can. This looks like weakness, but it’s an attempt to gain control. The Weinstein case has reminded me of how hard, maybe impossible, it is to separate yourself from all the things that have been forced on you—an encounter, a body, a sense of complicity, or simply the banal old scripts that make it all seem so sickeningly predictable. You were young and he was powerful; the story writes itself.

    Look at Gwyneth Paltrow as a prime example. Her mother was a well known actress. He had just cast her in her first big role. He was someone she had known for a very long time. Her agents scheduled a meeting for her with Weinstein in his hotel room for a work meeting and sexually harassed her.

    There was no reason to suspect anything untoward, because “it’s on the fax, it’s from C.A.A.,” she said, referring to Creative Artists Agency, which represented her.

    When Mr. Weinstein tried to massage her and invited her into the bedroom, she immediately left, she said, and remembers feeling stunned as she drove away. “I thought you were my Uncle Harvey,” she recalled thinking, explaining that she had seen him as a mentor.

    After she told Mr. Pitt about the episode, he approached Mr. Weinstein at a theater premiere and told him never to touch Ms. Paltrow again. Mr. Pitt confirmed the account to The Times through a representative.

    Soon after, Mr. Weinstein called Ms. Paltrow and berated her for discussing the episode, she said. (She said she also told a few friends, family members and her agent.) “He screamed at me for a long time,” she said, once again fearing she could lose the role in “Emma.” “It was brutal.” But she stood her ground, she said, and insisted that he put the relationship back on professional footing.

    Even as Ms. Paltrow became known as the “first lady of Miramax” and won an Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love” in 1999, very few people knew about Mr. Weinstein’s advances. “I was expected to keep the secret,” she said.

    Like several of the other women interviewed for this article, she felt she had to suppress the experience. She praised Mr. Weinstein publicly, posed for pictures with him and played the glowing star to his powerful producer. Yet their work relationship grew rockier over the years, she said, and she distanced herself. “He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying,” she said.

    People like Weinstein use their position to get what they want, regardless of the cost. That is what bullies do.

    He knew they would not be in a position to do anything about it or to stand up to him.

    Even in an industry in which sexual harassment has long persisted, Mr. Weinstein stands out, according to the actresses and current and former employees of the film companies he ran, Miramax and the Weinstein Company. He had an elaborate system reliant on the cooperation of others: Assistants often booked the meetings, arranged the hotel rooms and sometimes even delivered the talent, then disappeared, the actresses and employees recounted. They described how some of Mr. Weinstein’s executives and assistants then found them agents and jobs or hushed actresses who were upset.

    His alleged behavior became something of a Hollywood open secret: When the comedian Seth MacFarlane announced Oscar nominees in 2013, he joked, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” The audience laughed. According to a 2015 memo by a former Weinstein Company executive that The Times previously disclosed, the misconduct continued.

    More established actresses were fearful of speaking out because they had work; less established ones were scared because they did not. “This is Harvey Weinstein,” Katherine Kendall, who appeared in the film “Swingers” and television roles, remembers telling herself after an encounter in which she said Mr. Weinstein undressed and chased her around a living room. Telling others meant “I’ll never work again and no one is going to care or believe me,” she reasoned at the time, she said in a recent interview.

    In a way, he was in an environment where these women were ripe for the picking. If they said no, they lose, if they speak out, they lose. And the loss is that of their career.

    It wasn't mutually beneficial. Women who said no did not receive the parts they were auditioning for or had their names down for. Others were threatened into silence.
  19. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    If the accusations are true then he deserves everything he has coming but, just out of curiosity (as I'm not too close to the detail as I find the news generally depressing so try to avoid), and playing Devil's Advocate, has Weinstein actually been found guilty of anything yet?
    Are we not possibly committing trial by media?
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Once upon a time one need not be religious to tap the colloquial point that they're going to Hell for that one.

    Kind of like auto manufacturers and the old recall formula.
  21. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    Weinstein ‘s victims didn’t have everything to loose, they had the prospect of a more ideal career path to loose. And Weinstein who is now experiencing his own Cosby moment, has to face the realization of just how much his twisted obsession with personal gratification will cost him.
  22. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    I cannot help noticing that for every victim now coming forward there is not another woman claiming:
    "I let Weinstein screw me and I landed the role."
    Now that would be really brave!
    But profitable, maybe. A saleable story. I await developments.
  23. Bells Staff Member

    They faced the prospect of ruined careers.


    He could have ruined their careers and had the power and position to do so.

    You know, the suggestion that they didn't have anything to lose, that they could simply have followed a less ideal career path (in the film industry, which really, is ridiculous considering how hard it is to break into the industry to begin with), that they could simply forgo the leading role they had just been cast in (which we saw with several of his victims, where the harassment started upon being cast in their first role), simply because public sensibility would demand that it is the victim of sexual harassment who must go above and beyond to not be sexually harassed.

    Thus far in this thread, questions have arisen about the motives of these women because, hey, some of them took the compensation money, how they did not speak out - despite the fact that they did speak out and that in some instances, this was happening out in the open in view of others around them and his staff knew as they were covering everything up for him, directors and actors knew - and how their failure to speak out to a certain degree somehow or other makes them responsible in a way for the assaults and harassment that occurred later or that they helped facilitate his later abuse on other women...

    Repulsively enough, this is seen as not victim shaming?

    When it comes to issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault, there is this obscene need for people to place the onus on the victim to not be harassedt or assaulted and it is the victim who is judged for how she responds or does not respond.

    And people wonder why victims of harassment and sexual assault do not come forward to report it?

    Consider this..

    When this story broke (despite this being an open 'secret' in Hollywood, it took days to over a week for 'Hollywood' to respond. It was only after he was expelled from his company - days after this became public knowledge - that most who work in the film industry spoke out against him and condemned him. None of them spoke out against him while he was still a part of Miramax. This is how much sway the man had in the industry, that despite the fact that his obscene behaviour broke in the media, people were still wary of condemning him, because of the risk and threat to their career.

    And you, Capracus, do not think that the new up and coming actresses he harassed and in some instances, sexually assaulted, did not have anything to lose?

    Name me one other crime, where the victim is expected to ruin or risk their career to assuage public expectation?

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