Might the Weinstein case lead to a safer world for women? | Arkansas Blog

Might the Weinstein case lead to a safer world for women?


  • WEINSTEIN A WATERSHED? In treatment of women?

The exposure of Harvey Weinstein's serial offenses against women is quickly progressing far beyond the story of one man. It has begun to raise the question of whether it might, in time, change the world in treatment of women.

Consider the run of the news today:

* In the case of both Weinstein and Bill O'Reilly, favored tactics to protect predators — nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements in claim settlements — have failed.

* Misdeeds by others have become staple news stories — New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh and movie director James Taback to name two mentioned this morning. I wrote recently of complaints of general misogyny in the halls of the Texas and California legislatures.

* Speaking of misogyny: So far it hasn't set him back much, but Donald Trump's mistreatment of women has not been forgotten. See Charles Blow's column today.

...there is no limit to the questioning of women in the Trump universe, no matter how high those women have risen, no matter the merits of their claims, particularly if the women are black or brown or if they have directly challenged Trump.

As Michelle Lyn wrote for Vogue.com last week:

“According to Trump’s sordid he-said-she-said turn of events, however, Wilson isn’t an elected official supporting a constituent and friend, she’s a ‘wacky’ woman. Just like Clinton and San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz were ‘nasty’; Brzezinski had a ‘low IQ’; Megyn Kelly has ‘blood coming out of her wherever”; and Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of assault, ‘would not be [his] first choice.’”

She continued:

“Women who hold truth to Trump’s power are often met with petty insults and cyberbullying (Paging Melania!) — but most of all, Trump and company brand them liars or assail them as absurd.”
As long as Trump leads by example, others will undoubtedly consider themselves immune from consequences for chauvinistic, abusive or even criminal behavior. But the lessons of Weinstein, O'Reilly, Ailes and others in the growing list ought to begin to give some men pause.

Even in Arkansas. Or do you think Arkansas women already enjoy equality and a workplace and social milieu free of sexual objectification, harassment and abuse?

PS: Here's more from Vanity Fair on the "Weinstein effect."

PPS: Ross Noland, a Little Rock lawyer and candidate for state representatives, notes one way the law, thanks to Arkansas courts, could be improved to protect women. It's a case where a man who entered a Marmaduke woman's house naked from the waist down and began masturbating. He chased the woman and she was injured fighting him off. Still, he had an aggravated residential burglary conviction overturned because the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled there wasn't sufficient evidence that the criminal intended to cause serious physical injury. Noland, who says he'd introduce legislation to close the loophole, comments:  "Designating sexual assault as anything less than a serious physical injury is wrong."

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