A Master Class on Revictimization

[Content Note: Sexual assault; rape apologia; revictimization.]

I've got a new piece at Shareblue, deconstructing the emerging media narrative being used to discredit the women who have reported being assaulted by Donald Trump — that their "timing" is suspect.
That CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski, who is still on Donald Trump's payroll, would push back against allegations made about Trump is hardly surprising. It is notable, however, how very precisely his defense follows a familiar script employed against survivors of sexual assault.

Lewandowski hit all the high notes of rape apologia: He finds the timing "interesting." He finds it unconvincing that they are not politically motivated. He questions why they are coming forward now — while casually brushing aside the obvious answer: Because they just saw Trump lie during a nationally-televised presidential debate, and they cannot bear to be silent anymore.

Over the course of several days leading up to the debate, we heard Trump admit that he kisses and gropes women without their consent, and that he walked in on naked pageant contestants. Women who had been subjected to these acts, many of whom have said they questioned themselves and/or what really happened, thus had their experiences validated by the very man who assaulted them.

During the subsequent presidential debate, moderator Anderson Cooper pressed Trump about whether his "locker room talk" had ever been more than just talk. Trump said no. Women to whom he had actually done these things then decided they could no longer keep their stories to themselves.

That is the "timing." It is not that it is October. It is that women who were, each individually, sitting with this history, were provided a compelling impetus to come forward by the man who harmed them.

And, because there is such a steep cost to being a woman who publicly alleges sexual assault against a famous man, there is safety in numbers. The more women come forward, the safer it feels to other women. This is a dynamic that we have seen time and again — most prominently in the Bill Cosby case.

Lewandowski is trading on the fact that the reflexive cultural response to allegations of sexual assault is disbelief and suspicion. In most cases, however, the abuser has not boasted about doing the very things he is accused of doing.
There is much more at the link.

And I really can't stress this enough: The "timing" is wholly the responsibility of Donald Trump.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus