Here Is the Thing

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Anthony Weiner sent sexually explicit pictures to at least one woman without her consent.

That is not merely unethical; it is also criminal.

He never faced legal consequences for his behavior, because he is protected by his privilege—and by our cultural tolerance of hostility to consent.

And then, after promising, pinky swearing, crossing his heart, Scout's honor, to never, ever, make such a terrible "mistake" again, he did it again.

And, sure, this time he sought consent, as far as we know, but that consent, such as it was, was deeply compromised by the power differential between them. Weiner preyed on a young woman, a woman who is much younger than he is and has much less life experience and much less power, who believed this Important Man was really in love with her, as he told her he was.

Now this young woman herself says she feels stupid and naive for believing him, for thinking they were really in love. But she shouldn't.

Because that's what predators do. They victimize people they perceive to be vulnerable to their predation.

I cannot put this any more plainly: Anthony Weiner is not just a public official with a "sex scandal." He is not just a guy with an overactive libido. He is not just a guy with bad judgment, or a self-destructive streak, or a lack of ethics, or a sex addiction.

He has repeatedly used his position, privilege, power, and access to solicit the sexual attentions of young women who do not have anything like the kind of position, privilege, power, and access he has. He isn't interested in an equal. He is, when necessary, indifferent to consent.

He is an unrepentant predator.

And anyone who is calling this by any other name is abetting exactly the kind of exploitation in which he's engaging.

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