… One voice deserves far more applause than the rest.
I don’t even know her name: the 18-year-old in New York who was pulled away from her companions, handcuffed, thrust into the back of a police van, then had “consensual sex” with two plainclothes NYPD detectives. Or so they said.
No reasonable human could agree with that cop claim. It’s a perp’s point of view, just like, “It was her fault; I wouldn’t have killed her if she hadn’t screamed.” Or like that creep in the news right now who killed the gun-store owner he was robbing “in self defense.” Those terrifying, shaved-headed, all-powerful agents of the state held her captive. It was do what they wanted OR ELSE.
And look what that girl was up against: the most brutal, closed, powerful gang in New York. Cops can get away with anything — even get away with killing you if you object to them getting away with anything. Like all abusers-in-power over the abused, of course they told her not to tell anyone.
How many other women, possibly underage girls, feared to speak? How many years did these serial rapists get away with it, smirking at the notion of justice or decency while pretending to be the epitome of The Law? Other women were smart to keep their mouths closed, maybe. Other women spread the word to the neighborhood grapevine, but never stood up.
But not her, whoever she is. She gets right out of that van when they finally uncuff her. And she walks straight to a hospital. Gets herself a rape kit done. And nails those two predators. Nails them so clearly that even the usual coverup network — that icky, sticky blue ooze in which the majority of evil cops forever hide — can do nothing. Don’t wish to do anything if they care about public opinion.
That is so much more meaningful, so much more courageous, so much more filled with integrity than all the #MeTooing about Weinstein and Spacey and all the dozens of others who are soon to be revealed as powerful sleazebags (many perhaps eventually to be revealed as pedophiles).
Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad these people are getting their comeuppance. But I dread the witch-hunt that’s already beginning to reveal itself.
And #MeToo? Are you kidding? When could that ever count as courage, even though victims are heartily accepting congratulations from Hollywood to the New York Stage? When could that ever count as activism? Let alone activism of the most heroic sort?
And acting as if all this predation and slime were something brand new in the world of theater and film? Who can be fooled by that? Who hasn’t heard of the infamous casting couch? Who hasn’t read about “Chickenhawk” Charlie Chaplin and his adolescent dollies? It’s always been there and all these actors and actresses getting in on the act know that.
Is it horrible? Inexcusable? Disgusting? Vile? Putrid? Yeah. But not new. And the biggest thing that’s shocking is that so many people in the industry and the media are pretending to be shocked.
All that’s new is the fact that we live in a world where being a victim gains you points.
I do believe that the first one or two who speak out against a powerful habitual abuser are brave — except perhaps the ones who’ve been standing by, knowing others were being harmed, and did nothing about it for 20 years. But after that? It’s just a pile-on.
I don’t have the slightest doubt there are hundreds of real victims. I also don’t doubt that some of these, like the girl in the cop van, “performed” to make a bargain. They may not have liked it, but careers were raised that way. It was a game they all played, even if the Weinsteins and Spaceys did have an enormous advantage to begin with. Others were more innocent, more genuinely victimized. Reputations ruined. Careers lost. Mental health, or at least peace of soul, shattered.
But I also don’t have a fragment of doubt that some of the later ones to speak up are just trying to earn victim points and publicity for themselves. And it’s working. Some of these #MeTooing “celebrities” are people I’d never heard of before. I’ll bet you haven’t heard of a lot of them, either. But we know their names now. And we’ll never know how many of them were real victims because it takes absolutely no courage at all to hang with the most currently notable crowd in the media.
Anyhow, there they are #MeToo #MeToo — most of them probably real victims, but a share of frauds among them — and any man accused (I’ll expect a few women, too, possibly lesbians) won’t have a defense. Boom. Career sunk. Netflix suspending production on its biggest hit show because word has gotten around that star and executive producer Spacey is a drunken lecher. Which people associated with him have known for how many decades?
So that girl in New York — who may have been a real bottom-of-totem-pole kid — maybe a street hooker, a drug addict, a little tough who’s never had a stable home or a hope — who got right out of that van with cops’ bodily fluids all over her, and booked it to where she could report the crime — that girl should be on a pedestal above all these Hollywood and stage people. They should put her in a shrine and bow to that gutsy guttersnipe.
And just maybe she is the daughter of some middle class professional. She is definitely a ‘warrior princess’, regardless.
I’m glad you said that, david. I should have at least mentionrd that possibility. If she ever ends up reading this (not likely, I know), she should know she did a gutsy deed, whoever she was.
Claire, I had two girls of my own, and have since helped 7 others to grow up, plus one boy. It’s been like a ‘life mission’ to help girls break out of the mold that they get pressed into by society, and to become the strong, independent, and fierce-when-needed kind of women most of them became. And they are still ‘girly’ too, in a non-wimpy way, so I naturally picked up on the possibility that this girl wasn’t picked up for being a nobody, but maybe simply cuz she was cute.
As an aside, I’ll say that such young women have had some issues finding good men, but when they did find one who wasn’t afraid of a strong woman, they have been solid and strong men in their own right. I guess they just needed to find a strong woman to make a balanced relationship, and probably that saw cuts both ways too.
That’s wonderful, david. What a great life’s work. Kudos to you.
I know something about the problems such young women could have finding good men, and I definitely agree on balance. And cutting both ways.
pretending to be shocked
Yeah. I mean, please. Hollywood wrote it into their productions.
I keep remembering the split scene in Godfather II where first the stage mother is taking her little girl, in fancy frock and makeup, to meet the producer; then is leading the obviously-abused girl, in smeared makeup and torn dress, away saying, “It’s okay. We got the part.” And nobody, in the story or in the audience, was shocked.
“Write what you know.”
OTOH, this evening I’ll be taking a “Safe Gatherings” class at my church, mandatory for anyone working with “vulnerable populations,” children, elderly, disabled, etc.
Excellent piece, thanks, Claire. Re-posted to facebook with attribution.
Thank you, firstdouglas. I should have included links, but I was on a roll and knew I’d lose momentum if I stopped to look things up. The links to the NYC story have already appeared here on the blog recently, for anyone who wants to check.
Good one, Claire!
In Puzzo’s novel, the predilictions of that individual are shown in his introduction, and there’s intimation that he may have molested Don Corleone’s crooner godson, Johnny Fontaine. One gets the feeling that Tom and Santino wished they’d sent ol’ Luca Brasi to put the producer’s head in the horse’s bed!