The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Is a Watershed and a Warning

What can be said? These photos speak volumes though I can’t help but wonder what his demeanor would have been, if he’d been cleared of all charges and allowed to walk away? Would he have been a much more, spry 67 year-old, even skip out of that courtroom while giving everyone left behind the finger! That was the concern and more, the fear that after all this, all that’s happened in the #MeToo movement, it would be back to square one! The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Is a Watershed and a Warning

The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Is a Watershed and a WarningBut that’s not what happened. While the judge did order him out of the courtroom in handcuffs, somewhere between there and the Riker’s Island infirmary, where he’d been remanded, he got in one last tweak. Somehow his lawyer was able to get him re-routed to Bellevue Hospital overnight because he claimed he was suffering palpitations and panic attack.

But not to worry. It’s just a sad, last gasp of control from the Master of Mean! Nobody should be surprised! This person is the epitome is deception, cruelty and control. The important thing is that he’s off the street for a long time.

In a way it harkens back to Madoff. These are individuals, who as warped as they may be, are also brilliant in their ability to charm, intimidate, deceive and keep track of all the details needed to keep their despicable deeds hidden in the shadows. Had some screw not have come loose either one of them might well have won a Nobel Prize, such was the genius of their enterprise. But for what reason, they took the path they did instead.

When considering these matters there is a rule that is good to keep in mind.  The longer any of these exceptionally bad people are able to keep their evil doings going the deeper the pit they dig for themselves when the “jig is up” and the “Light” finds their filthy lair!

~ Rob

There are people willing to listen to women now, and sometimes what we say has consequences.

NY Times Opinion By Feb. 25, 2020 The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Is a Watershed and a Warning

When I was young I had no words. I read voraciously, I loved books, stories, language. I was trying to become a writer, and so I lived for words and by words. I poured out my thoughts and some of the hopes and fears that were beginning to take shape in long conversations with friends. But words failed me when I needed them most.

Ambra Gutierrez, model and survivor of sexual assault, hugs women's rights lawyer, Gloria Allred, at State Supreme Court in Manhattan following Harvey Weinstein's trial verdict.
Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

I was a young woman in the 1980s, long before all the contemporary conversations about consent and believing victims began, before terms like acquaintance rape and workplace sexual harassment were in regular circulation. I lived in a time when it seemed so unlikely that the men who menaced me on the street and sometimes elsewhere would respect my words if I said no, leave me alone, I’m not interested that I despaired beforehand and tried instead to slip away, evade, dodge, shrink, disappear.

I was mute in those moments. I knew that speaking was more likely to make things worse than better for me, though women in the situations I found myself in were often rebuked for not speaking up. The pleasant story behind that rebuke was that we were all equal rational beings, and we all had the power of language at our command, and anyone who didn’t use it chose not to, and it was all on her.

That was a lie. We did not have equal power. Sometimes saying no or stop achieved nothing. Sometimes speaking up further enraged the man we were trying to escape. Some of us, many of us, millions of us were sexually assaulted and then told we were liars when we spoke of what happened, and so our society was able to pretend it cared about sexual harassment and assault while refusing to acknowledge their omnipresence.

We do things with words, when they have power — set boundaries, swear oaths, bear witness. But if your words have no power, it is almost worse to speak them than not, to see them fail than not.

Facts circulate freely in a democracy of information that results from a democracy of voices. We have something else instead, from personal life to national politics: a hierarchy of audibility and credibility, a brutal hierarchy, in which people with facts often cannot prevail, because those who have more power push those facts out of the room and into silence or make the cost of stating those facts dangerously high. That’s how the oil industry turned the science of climate change into a fake debate full of fake uncertainties. It’s how the impeachment trial turned into a showcase for how to override facts and laws.

And it’s how Harvey Weinstein raised an army to protect his power to grab and grope and rape with impunity, until now. Sexual assault is perhaps the grimmest and clearest example of how unequal power generates crimes and then protects those who create them, but it’s not the only one.

The story of Mr. Weinstein and his army of aggressive protectors has, since it first began to be told two and a half years ago, been exemplary of this. More than 90 women have reported he harassed or assaulted them, but Mr. Weinstein had what money can buy: an international army of lawyers, spies, influencers and others toiling to control the story and keep his secrets. That is, to silence and discredit the women he assaulted. Which means that so many of them were subjected to a double silencing.

The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Is a Watershed and a Warning
Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers had argued that his accusers had willingly had sex with their client to further their careers. Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

President Trump bought Stormy Daniels’s silence just before the 2016 election; she received some money in return for becoming a person who would never have words, never tell her story (and then, as many women have done since 2017, she finally did.) The president has asked for a delay in E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit against him for defamation — because he called her a liar when she said he raped her — so he can deal with another lawsuit from another woman he called a liar when she said he groped her.

There’s an illuminating overlap to be found in the fact that Alan Dershowitz was friends with and provided legal services for both Jeffrey Epstein and Mr. Trump — the former for sexual abuse, the latter in his impeachment trial. The historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote of that trial, “but for Trump and his enablers, this trial is not about the truth; it never has been. It is about dominance and power. Forcing someone to accept what they know to be untrue reinforces the dominance of the person telling the lies.”

To be powerless means that your facts and truths can be overwhelmed by the powerful, who prefer these facts or voices or stories not be heard. And what it means in the end is that truth and fact and evidence only prevail, whether it’s science or personal stories, in a democracy — not just a democracy in the electoral sense but a world in which power differentials don’t corrupt what stories get told. Where what facts prevail depends on the strength of those facts, not the status of the speaker.

Imagine if Mr. Weinstein had committed his first sexual assault in a world in which his victim had the audibility, credibility, value and resources he did. There would likely not have been a second, or six women testifying in a trial, or 90 women with stories no one made space for before something changed in 2017. More likely there would not have been a first in a world where he knew he could not overpower her facts and voice, even if he could overpower her physically. When I hear these stories, I think of my own youth as a person who was voiceless, not because I could not speak, but because they would not listen. I, like so many others, then and now.

For myself, I wanted Mr. Weinstein found guilty and imprisoned not as revenge — though he richly deserves it — but as a warning to men like him that the age of impunity is over, that there are people willing to listen to women, and sometimes what we say has consequences. The most important change will be found in what we cannot measure — all the crimes that don’t happen because would-be perpetrators fear the consequences, now that there are consequences. All the potential victims who know that if they speak up, someone might hear them and heed them. I want more than that, though: I want a society where the desire and entitlement to commit sexual violence wither away, not out of fear but out of respect for the rights and humanity of victims.

But even the idea that Mr. Weinstein’s conviction is a watershed is optimistic: from offices to agricultural fields to college campuses, sexual violence is still harming millions directly and making survival extra work that too many women must do daily. We have democratized storytelling and truth to the extent that we now sometimes hear about the consequences of inequality, but not enough to end those stories. We — well, some of us — have begun a process that matters more than anything. What just happened to Weinstein was, maybe, a step forward, but we have miles to go.

Please read the entire article here.

Rebecca Solnit is the author of the forthcoming book “Recollections of My Nonexistence,” a memoir about her youthful encounters with silence and violence.

The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Is a Watershed and a Warning

The Harvey Weinstein Verdict Is a Watershed and a Warning

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“What Goes  Around Comes Around” is impressive in its straightforward, no-nonsense response to some of the most troubling questions of our time. In light of the increasingly frequent revelations of moral lapses, failures and indiscretions of public figures, Davis offers a simple answer — “what goes around comes around!”

Cheryl Woodruff – the Ballantine Publishing Group

Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite.

– Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC