TRIGGER WARNING: This article includes descriptions of sexual assault
If you began this week thinking that we could all take it easy and just ride the Hilaria Baldwin scandal until the end of 2020, you were sadly mistaken. While Hilaria is still attempting to clear her name, and more and more cringeworthy old interview clips are being uncovered, a new scandal has exploded in the fashion world, and sadly, it’s a really disturbing one. In the past few days, influential fashion designer Alexander Wang has been accused of sexually assaulting numerous people, including male and trans models.
The wave of allegations against Wang was spurred by a TikTok video from graphic designer Owen Mooney, who responded to a prompt to share your “weirdest seeing a celebrity in public experience.” In his video from earlier this month, he describes being at a packed club for a concert in 2017, when an unnamed “really famous fashion designer” groped him without his consent.
@owenamooney##stitch with @katiefornia oh yeh the time a celeb was groping my dick in the club 🥴 ##fyp ##foryoupage♬ original sound – Owen Mooney
Mooney didn’t name the fashion designer in the original video, but he liked a comment guessing that it was Alexander Wang, which seemed like confirmation. Later, after others’ stories about their experiences with Wang began to surface, Mooney made another video, directly addressing the situation. He confirmed that the commenter “got it right,” and said that seeing numerous others with similar stories made him realize that “he needs to be exposed.”
At one point, Mooney’s second video was removed from TikTok, and he shared in an Instagram story that TikTok claimed the video violated their policy on “Harassment and Bullying.” After an understandable backlash, TikTok later reinstated the video, clarifying that the video was “removed in error.”
In the weeks since Mooney’s videos about Wang, things have taken a turn for the worse. Instagram accounts Diet Prada and Sh*t Model Management have followed the developing story, and shared many people’s anonymous allegations that are even more unsettling. Most say they were drugged or sexually assaulted by Alexander Wang, and describe his aggressive behavior. While the exact stories differ, there are certain common threads that reappear over and over. These include pressuring men to have sex with him, even though they have made it clear they are straight or otherwise uninterested.
Another reoccurring theme in the stories is “molly water,” or water laced with MDMA. Allegedly, Wang would give an unwitting person a bottle of drugged water and encourage them to finish it, and within minutes, they would feel the effects of the drugs. One person said that due to their bipolar disorder, the drugs caused a manic episode, followed by psychosis. They write that ” smug ‘prank’ literally put me in the hospital for weeks and ruined my career.”
View this post on Instagram
But it turns out the stories of Alexander Wang giving people substances they didn’t ask for aren’t limited to anonymous Instagram DMs. Diet Prada posted a clip from a video where Florence Welch and Derek Blasberg are reminiscing about the Met Gala. Welch recounts how one time, Alexander Wang said “you’re drunk, drink this water!” and handed her a glass of “straight vodka.” Welch and Blasberg both laugh about the memory, and Blasberg adds, “yeah, that’s his party trick.” Safe to say that has not aged well.
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While it’s taken until the end of 2020 for these allegations to gain momentum, videos like this one show that some of Wang’s behavior hasn’t really been a secret. In fact, in a resurfaced tweet thread from 2017, a man named Nick Ward tells another story very similar to Mooney’s. According to Ward, who didn’t even know who Alexander Wang was at the time, he was also grabbed inappropriately at a club.
Anyone know who Alexander Wang is? He’s apparently a famous fashion guy and I only know that cuz he grabbed my dick on Saturday night 😂
— Nick (@ShotgunMouse) September 11, 2017
Basically, while many of the new allegations have been anonymous, stories of Alexander Wang’s behavior have been floating around for years, and they’re finally getting the attention of a wider audience. So far, Alexander Wang has not responded to the allegations, though Instagram comments have been disabled on both his personal and brand accounts. The scandal surrounding Wang’s alleged actions is the latest in a long line of toxic stories from the fashion world, which is why accounts like Diet Prada and SMM exist in the first place. As with every industry, there’s clearly a lot of work still to be done in creating a healthier, safer, more positive culture, but with every toxic man who gets exposed, we get a little closer.
Images: lev radin / Shutterstock.com; owenamooney / TikTok; shitmodelmgmt, dietprada / Instagram; shotgunmouse / Twitter
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of bad news (coronavirus) to bring you some other bad news. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. The year 2020 does and she is one brutal bitch.
As you or may not have heard, there are new sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. You may not have heard of this because it’s not being widely covered by most major news networks. Well, we’re not most major news networks, so we’re going to breakdown what we know.
The woman who has come forward with these allegations is Tara Reade, a former staffer for Biden when he was a senator in 1993. Reade was one of the several women who came forward with allegations of inappropriate touching (read: sexual harassment) after Lucy Flores wrote about an incident when Biden came up from behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, sniffed her hair, and then slowly kissed the back of her head backstage at her campaign rally.
Flores’ piece ran in The Cut in March 2019, right before Biden announced his run for president. Many wondered if it would affect his ability to gain Democratic support for the nomination. Well, I guess we got our answer, as he is currently the frontrunner.
Reade’s original allegation was that Biden used to put his hand on her shoulder and then run his finger up her neck when she worked for his Senate office. Not what you want from your literal boss, or any person who you have not given permission to touch you, for that matter. Creepy thing to do! Anyway, now Reade has come forward saying there is more to her story.
Warning: this next part is graphic and upsetting. Please read with caution, and be kind to yourself.
Reade told her full story to Katie Halper on her podcast. In the interview, Reade recounts a time when Biden pushed her against a wall, stuck his hands up her skirt, and then penetrated her with his fingers, all without her consent. She also says when she tried to pull away he said something along the lines of, “I thought you liked me.”
Of course, since people still don’t seem to fully grasp that coming forward about sexual assault isn’t an easy and fun thing to do, the question of why Reade waited to share this part of the story has come up. Reade’s answer is two-fold.
First, she only shared part of her story because she figured that part would more likely be believed, as it matched what Lucy Flores experienced. And she wanted to stand with Flores, as she saw talk shows like The View defending Biden. Plus, she had witnesses and a filed contemporaneous complaint for those accusations. But still, after she came forward with the original accusations of sexual harassment from Biden, she received backlash online. People accused her of making it up and being politically motivated, pointing to a since deleted Medium post that Reade had written that praised Russia and Vladmir Putin.
Reade’s 2018 Medium piece said, “What if I told you that everything you learned about Russia was wrong? President Putin scares the power elite in America because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader. … To President Putin, I say keep your eyes to the beautiful future and maybe, just maybe America will come to see Russia as I do, with eyes of love. To all my Russian friends, happy holiday and Happy New Year.”
Reade is currently writing a novel based in Russia, and in the process had learned about Russia through a Russian friend. At the time, she says, she wrote the post in the spirit of world peace and solidarity with her friend. She has also pointed out that her writing shouldn’t make her unable to be the victim of sexual assault.
Nonetheless, after dealing with online harassment and disbelief from people, she decided to go silent. Until now.
Reade attempted to take her case to TimesUp, but was ultimately turned away and told that the organization could lose its nonprofit status for going after a presidential candidate (whether or not this is true is up for debate). Reade is trudging on without their help, but not a lot of news outlets are having her on. She did an interview with Krystal Ball on her left-leaning online talk show, “Rising,” which is worth listening to. But for the most part, this story isn’t getting a lot of traction.
A lot of the information comes from the coverage written by Ryan Grim for The Intercept, a publication that has been accused of attacking the establishment, particularly the Democratic establishment. Some people think this means we should take this story with a grain of salt. But even with that, this story deserves further investigation.
Joe Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential candidate. If these accusations of sexual assault are credible, the American people need to know. We need a fully covered, thorough investigation.
Reade said in her interview with Katie Halper that at the time of the incident, she told a friend, her mother and her brother. Her mother has since passed, but both the friend and brother confirmed to The Intercept that she came to them when it happened. There are ways to investigate here.
If time really is up, we should be eagerly searching for the truth, not ignoring it.
Trigger Warning: This story is about Harvey Weinstein and, as such, contains references to sexual assault.
It seems like just yesterday and also 500 years ago when the floodgates broke open for Harvey Weinstein. The wide-ranging allegations against him launched the #MeToo movement in 2017, after which his disgusting behavior became common knowledge with 100 women coming forward with accounts of rape or sexual assault.
Of course, because our world is both metaphorically and literally on fire, this doesn’t mean we can just send him to jail instantly — so now two years later, his trial has just begun.
Kicking off on Monday, because I guess even the legal system agreed that you can’t start “New Year, New Me” halfway through a week, the prosecution and defense are currently picking jurors for the case as we speak. That process is set to last two weeks, because I personally feel like it would be hard for his defense find jurors who a) don’t feel any type of way about Weinstein’s behavior or b) haven’t yet been paid off by Weinstein’s team. Or maybe that’s just the Carrie Mathison from Homeland in me talking, but! Once the jury is selected, the trial is expected to last about six weeks.
Things got off to a rousing start yesterday’s jury selection when the judge threatened to throw Weinstein in jail for using his cell phone.
“Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life by texting and violating a court order?” Judge James Burke asked. The best part? It wasn’t even the first time Weinstein’s been warned for using his phone in court.
Harvey, truly no one wants you watching their Instagram story. Put the damn phone away.
Also, I know we all know what he’s been accused of, but since you, unfortunately, can’t get jail time for being a scumbag, let’s break down what he is legally on trial for.
In New York, Weinstein is facing five charges in total: rape and predatory sexual assault of two women — his former production assistant Mimi Haleyi alleging assault and an unnamed woman who alleges Weinstein raped her in a hotel in 2013. A New York judge dismissed a sixth criminal charge last year, after a detective withheld information that might have helped Weinstein.
Actress Annabella Sciorra, who has come forward with an alleged assault that took place in the early 1990s — which happened too long ago to be prosecuted — is still able to be called as a witness during the trial.
On the same day his trial began, Weinstein was charged with four more counts of rape and sexual battery in Los Angeles. Harvey and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. You love to see it. (Love to see justice more, but tbd.)
Right now you also could be confused because you thought you broke your phone in a rage-filled throw-against-the-wall when you read in December that Weinstein was settling out of court.
You did read that correctly, because last month Weinstein reached a tentative deal that would pay out $25 million to nearly 30 actresses and ex-employees of his that have come forward. But that was in a civil case, and also that deal has also yet to be signed off. If the deal goes through, it would end almost all of the lawsuits against Weinstein and he would not have to admit any wrongdoing as part of the deal. The payout would also be covered by insurance. Ugh.
So, what’s happened so far in just day one of the trial? The judge already ruled out one of Weinstein’s witnesses, that detective accused of keeping “key evidence from prosecutors” that could have cast doubt on accusers accounts and who the Weinstein team hoped could undermine the New York Police Department. Have they not watched SVU? Never try to come for Olivia Benson.
If you — like me — are also a little concerned that he is only on trial for the rape and assault of two women when he’s done this to so many, don’t lose hope. Many are comparing this to the most recent trial of someone of his stature — Bill Cosby — who had over 50 women come forward but was only on trial for one count of sexual misconduct, and he still wound up behind bars. The team against Cosby had women that weren’t on trial come forward to share their stories, which helped the jurors and judge realize the pattern that was happening here.
While there aren’t many major updates now, stay posted for the jurors to get decided and for this sh*t storm to go underway.
Julian Assange is one of the most controversial public figures of our time, and that’s saying a lot. You probably know him as the man who founded WikiLeaks, the juicy non-profit that publishes leaked/classified documents from anonymous sources.
Some people, such as Pamela Anderson, think of Assange as a hero and a pioneer for the truth who stops at nothing to give the people the real story. Others think of him as a
messy bitch who lives for drama criminal who has illegally leaked information that has been damaging to the world and the hacked emails of the DNC, which may or may not have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. These are the two sides of Assange most of us are familiar with, but what many of us don’t know is that he has also been accused of rape.
The rape allegations date back to 2010, when Sweden first started investigating Assange. The investigation has been closed and reopened a couple times, due to the complicated nature of investigating a man who is constantly running from arrest/extradition. However, the case was reopened this past May when Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and immediately put in jail for breaching bail conditions.
Multiple interviews were held during the re-opened investigation, including with five witnesses who had previously been interviewed and two new witnesses who had not. However, the investigation was dropped after it became clear that the victim’s account was lacking due to the natural fading of memory of the years. In short, it was difficult for the victim to recount the evidence, as nearly a decade had passed. The deputy chief prosecutor, Eva-Marie Persson, found the victim to be both credible and reliable, but couldn’t rely on the faded memories as evidence. She said:
“After conducting a comprehensive assessment of what has emerged during the course of the preliminary investigation I then make the assessment that the evidence is not strong enough to form the basis for filing an indictment. An appeal against the decision could be made to the office of Sweden’s attorney general.”
Assange has always denied the allegations and implied that they are merely another way for Sweden to push for his extradition to the US.
This is yet another case where the fine print of a criminal justice system works against sexual assault victims.
Call me radical, but I just don’t think justice should feel like an impossible destination beyond a horizon of obstacles for rape survivors. Just saying.
A few weeks ago, Chanel Miller bravely named herself as the ‘Emily Doe’ in the Brock Turner case, the person whose powerful victim statement read before the court. The news came with the announcement of her memoir, Know My Name, where Miller takes back the narrative and tells her side of the events.
In case you need a refresher, Brock Turner made headlines after he was sentenced to six months in jail for three counts of felony assault. He would serve just 90 days for assaulting an unconscious woman (Miller) behind a dumpster. The judge (who has since been recalled), felt as though Turner had too much much to lose as a white man young person with impressive swimming times. The scientific term for this sentencing is “TRASH,” and many were rightfully outraged when Buzzfeed released the powerful, heartbreaking letter that “Emily Doe” read to Brock Turner in court.
And now that Miller’s book is out, she will continue to change the world and make me ugly cry into my coffee with her beautiful words. She’s spoken generously with media throughout the week, sharing details of her experience and journey towards healing. Miller is also an artist and created a stunning short film called “I Am With You.”
‘Nobody wants to be defined by the worst thing that’s happened to them.’ — Chanel Miller opens up about her short film ‘I Am With You’ and how art helped her heal pic.twitter.com/ncAsWkf5vf
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 28, 2019
She also sat down for an interview on CBS to talk about her book and her experience as a survivor, and everything that she said was perfect. We pulled some powerful moments from that interview:
“I thought that if anyone ever knew that I was this body behind the dumpster, they would think that I was just dirty or irresponsible or reckless; that I wasn’t capable of handling myself and that I should just be embarrassed when really I’ve learned that I’m extremely brave for asserting myself. I feel more confident, I feel more capable, I feel like anything I encounter in the future I now have the tools to handle them.”
Miller’s vulnerability and the strength that she has found within it are so unbelievably inspiring. She’s not afraid to say how bad and dark things got, how ashamed she felt, but she is also willing to share her journey about getting back up. Her resilience is incredible and I’m not crying, you’re crying.
“We need to work on creating an environment where survivors feel comfortable feeling supported, so when they do, some sort of justice can be attained.”
Louder for the people in the back! Miller is clearly determined to take her experience and use it as a way to make change, which she has already done. She watched justice fail her, and now she wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. She’s a GD angel.
“There’s violence everywhere, it’s not just during these parties; it’s when you’re walking down the street, it’s in the workplace, it’s in the strawberry fields…and you want me to believe that it’s the drunk victims who are bringing it on themselves?”
Miller says this when being asked about people (read: idiots) who try to say that she brought the assault upon herself by getting too drunk. Miller cuts through the bullsh*t and points out that alcohol is just an easy way to blame the victim, when the victim is clearly not the problem. Sexual violence happens everywhere, whether or not alcohol is involved. So let’s attack the problem, not the victim.
“There’s a lot of power in anger. Anger is usually discouraged. We want to tame the victim and have her be composed, but really, for me, it was wonderful. I was depressed for so long, so when I finally felt anger, it was a sign that I was stepping on my own side and ready to fight for myself.”
Ugh, yes. Victims — often women — are made to feel like anger disqualifies their experience, like if they display it they will diminish their credibility. But that’s a bunch of horsesh*t. You are allowed to feel anger, and your anger can help lift you up. It’s a powerful emotion and it doesn’t need to be suppressed for other’s comfort.
“Nobody is allowed to hurt you, period. That is the baseline, and I will not make excuses around that sentence.”
Put this on my tombstone.
You can watch clips from the interview here, here, here, and here.
Image courtesy of Penguin/Random House
Content warning: This article contains discussion of sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.
I don’t really know how to introduce one of the most absurd and offensive products I have ever come across, so I’m just going to cut straight to the chase: A start-up recently developed what they’re calling the MeToo Kit. That sounds bad, and it is pretty bad. That’s because the MeToo Kit is an at-home rape kit.
You read that right. An at-home rape kit. Before we really get into it, I want to take a second to explain what a rape kit is and what it is used for. A rape kit is, according to my good friends at Wikipedia, “a package of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence following an allegation of sexual assault.” According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, evidence is collected for a rape kit during “examinations of the mouth, vagina, and/or anus. It may also include taking samples of blood, urine, swabs of body surface areas, and sometimes hair samples.” The rape kit accompanies an exam, and is the actual container that includes a checklist, materials, instructions, envelopes, and tubes to package any fluids and/or evidence of an assault that were collected during the exam. According to Melissa Souto, a survivor who told her story to NPR Illinois, forensic exams can be emotionally and physically unpleasant, exhausting and painful. A scene in the new Netflix series “Unbelievable” captures how painfully slow, repetitive, and onerous forensic exams can be for survivors. Because there are a lot of steps and procedures involved in the typical forensic exam, they can take a few hours to complete, even when performed by a professional. So you can probably see why having survivors perform that exam at home may not be the best of ideas, no matter how well-intentioned.
The reason why rape kits are so important is that they are frequently used in court as evidence, which is why survivors are not supposed to bathe, brush their teeth, wash their face, comb their hair, or use the bathroom immediately after an assault if they can help it in order to preserve physical evidence. So if you’re doing your own rape kit (which you happen to have on hand) at home, it’s safe to assume it means you have been assaulted, which means you’re expected to dive right into a self-performed forensic exam right after experiencing one of the most traumatic experiences possible. The MeToo Kit didn’t seem to consider this when making the product, in my opinion.
I do want to admit that I don’t think that the MeToo Kit was developed with insensitive intentions or to launch the next trendy start-up. In fact, I had the chance to speak to co-founder and CEO Madison Campbell, who is a survivor of sexual assault herself, and I couldn’t help but ask why she wanted to introduce something like this to the world.
“As a survivor of sexual assault, the #MeToo movement is what encouraged me to move forward on this product,” she said. “The kit was named MeToo because it immediately identifies who the kit is there to support—survivors of sexual assault who have been silenced.”
As we’ve all learned from the #MeToo movement, coming forward is really hard, so kudos to Campbell for being brave enough not only to speak her truth but also to try to do something to help other women through their own assaults. However, my praise for the MeToo Kit ends there because, even though it’s a good idea in theory, it probably doesn’t work in actuality and may set women up to have evidence thrown out in court. Here’s why.
For starters, if someone does plan on pressing charges against their attacker, the results of a forensic exam will be openly discussed and used to determine the fate of your assailant. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel elaborated on this in a public statement critiquing the kits:
“This company is shamelessly trying to take financial advantage of the ‘Me Too’ movement by luring victims into thinking that an at-home-do-it-yourself sexual assault kit will stand up in court,” she said. “Career prosecutors know that evidence collected in this way would not provide the necessary chain of custody.”
I mean, that makes sense, considering it doesn’t seem very logical to let the person charging someone with a felony gather and present their own evidence against their attacker.
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James sent cease and desist letters to MeToo kits and another company selling a similar kit, Preserve Group, demanding they stop marketing and selling the items to consumers in New York, according to CNN. Oklahoma’s Attorney General swiftly followed suit. Last week, MeToo Kit halted pre-orders and suspended its website in response.
After speaking to Campbell, it’s clear that the MeToo Kit is very much not ready to be rolled out quite yet. She says, “While still under development, we would address Chain of Custody through technology, both hardware and software. We are developing a proprietary tamper-proof device. Additionally, we are also developing a mobile application with barcode scanning, trusted timestamps, witness testimonials, and video evidence.”
Even though I respect Campbell for wanting to change the process so that it’s even just a little more comfortable for people who just experienced intense trauma, there are so many things wrong with the kit that I just don’t trust it. For example, there are quite a few one-liners from the “about” page of the site that, in my opinion, derail the logic behind the brand.
According to its website, the “MeToo Kit is founded on the principle that you should be able to take back control.” Although everyone (hopefully) supports a victim of sexual assault taking her life back into her own hands, it’s difficult to say definitively that victims performing their own exams and collecting their own evidence are the ways to do that for all survivors. The MeToo Kit as it’s currently designed provides a massive opportunity for evidence tampering and/or contamination, as the state’s attorneys general note, could get the kits thrown out in court.
Another well-intended but misguided statement: “If every freshman during orientation was given a kit, we believe that it would not only enable survivors the privacy and comfort of collecting evidence at home, but also create a psychological deterrent on campus.”
First of all, rapes are not exclusively limited to college campuses and are definitely not limited to freshmen. Anyone can be raped anywhere at any point in their life, which is a tragic but true fact. Secondly, this statement seems to suggest that if you’re a college freshman, you’ll probably get raped, so you may as well make the experience as pleasant as possible for yourself by purchasing your own DIY rape kit to do in the comfort of your own home. Excuse me while I say “yikes” for a full minute. Regarding the second half of the statement above, the only thing that distributing a rape kit to every college freshman would create is an environment of absolute terror.
HOLY SHIT, THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA! #MeTooRapeKit #MeTooKit https://t.co/qnmei8ys4V
— Mark (@La23Savage) August 30, 2019
One more massive issue this product proposes is that it poses itself as the smoke detector of sexual assaults, even though you can’t necessarily prevent a rape. Another sentence I snagged from the site: ” for themselves and loved ones, not only as a viable resource, but as a symbol of protection and hopeful deterrent to assault.” There is so much wrong with this sentence that I don’t even know where to begin.
For starters, at which occasion would you gift a loved one an at-home rape kit? After they’ve already been assaulted as a comforting afterthought? Secondly, no matter how detailed the instructions on the back of the box are, no one is well-versed in performing her own forensic exam, so the MeToo Kit isn’t really a viable option whatsoever.
Lastly, having a rape kit in your home, unfortunately, does not mean that there is less of a chance you’ll be assaulted, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you’ll be protected. Do they think assailants knowing their intended victim possessed a rape kit would scare them off? You can’t even use the kit until after you’ve been assaulted, so at what point does the MeToo Kit protect you? At the end of the day, you can take all of the legitimate precautions, but these horrible, disgusting things still happen, rape kit under your bed or not.
If you’ve been assaulted, RAINN recommends getting to a safe place and seeking outside help immediately. Whether you call 911, a friend or family member or the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which “will direct you to the appropriate local health facility that can care for survivors of sexual assault,” you’re doing the right thing by letting other people step in and help so that you can heal. In some cases, the National Sexual Assault Hotline will send a trained professional to meet you either at your home or at a hospital and help you through all of the tough procedures that follow an assault. No one should have to experience any of this—especially having a rape kit done—alone.
So, to wrap up: the MeToo kit, while well-meaning, is a misguided effort that, at this point in time, would likely not help survivors of sexual assault.
Photos: MeToo Kit; Twitter; Instagram
Trigger Warning: This article contains details about sexual assault and rape.
A new study in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found some deeply upsetting and frustratingly unsurprising information about American women’s experience with rape. According to the study, more than 3.3 million American women ages 18 to 44 were raped the first time they had intercourse. That is…a huge number, and absolutely heartbreaking.
What’s more, which pulled data from 2011 to 2017, the data comes from surveys given between 2011 and 2017. Since 2017 and the dawning of the #MeToo movement, many women have felt more comfortable coming forward with experiences of assault, suggesting this already-shocking number could be even higher.
Rape is disgustingly common for women. In fact, earlier research has found that 40% of women experience sexual violence in their life, and half of those experiences are rape. And now, this new study reveals that for many women, rape is the first thing they experience when it comes to having intercourse.
The study revealed some more statistics, and I am going to break them down here, but again want to warn you that they are upsetting and triggering.
- 6.5% of women or surveyed had an unwanted first sexual intercourse that was forced or coerced. Researchers estimated that to be 1 in 16 US women.
- The average age of women who experienced forced sexual initiation was 15.6.
- The average age of the partner or assailant at the time was 6 years older. (Some 50% of women surveyed said the perpetrator was larger or older.)
- More than 46% of the women were held down.
- In 56% of the instances, men used verbal pressure.
- Men used physical threats more than 26% of the time.
- Men caused physical harm in more than 25% of the instances.
- Some 22% of the women were drugged.
- More than 30% of the survivors said they had an unwanted first pregnancy.
- Some 24% of survivors said they had ever had an abortion in their lifetime, which is a higher percentage than women whose first sexual intercourse was consensual.
These numbers solidify what we already know: American women are experiencing sexual violence at an alarming and upsetting rate, and having to live with the trauma of the experiences for the rest of their lives. Doctors should be prepared to deal with this trauma, and men should be prepared to do better.
Trigger Warning: This article contains references to sexual assault.
I remember exactly where I was when I read her statements against Brock Turner, and maybe you do too. Buzzfeed had published a letter from an anonymous victim referred to as Emily Doe, which she had written and read aloud to her assailant in court. I sat at my kitchen counter and watched her powerful words blur out of focus as hot tears ran down my face. I remember feeling a rage rumble in my stomach. It was familiar, yet new. I had felt fury over the injustice sexual assault survivors endure many times before, but this felt like a tipping point. This woman’s bravery to speak up for herself and directly to her assailant felt like a call to action. As I read it, the silence I knew my friends, myself, and countless others lived with rang in my ears. It was time for change.
Now, the woman who wrote these words has named herself. Chanel Miller has come forward as the woman who was assaulted by Brock Turner, and she is writing a book about her experience. The memoir, entitled Know My Name, will detail Miller’s life since the assault and trial that occurred in 2016.
For years, Chanel Miller was known only as "Emily Doe," the anonymous woman who brought a sexual assault case against Brock Turner. In an upcoming memoir, she'll tell her story under her own name.https://t.co/pr7CrXVGHE
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 4, 2019
Chanel Miller’s assault ignited a conversation about sexual violence and how it is treated in both our society and the criminal justice system. People were outraged by the outcome of the trial, as Brock Turner received six months in county jail, of which he served three, despite the fact that he was found guilty on three counts of felony sexual assault. There were also two eyewitnesses in the case. It was obvious that this scum-sucking trash sack was guilty, and yet there was barely — and I mean barely — any justice to be served.
She has been known to the world as “Emily Doe,” the sexual assault victim of Stanford swimmer Brock Turner. Now she’s revealing her name and face. Chanel Miller, here reading her victim impact statement, gives her first interview to "60 Minutes" https://t.co/U4GDOofVj6 pic.twitter.com/cpVMwCZ4Sk
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 4, 2019
As one can imagine, the trial, along with its publicity, was grueling for Chanel Miller. Her letter made that apparent, and now we will get an entire book to hear her side of the story. Excuse me while I pre-order on Amazon, and purchase approx. 5 million tissues, as I will be sobbing uncontrollably while reading.
Chanel Miller’s letter was beautifully written, so we can only imagine that her book will be incredible. The editor of the book, Andrea Schultz, told The New York Times, “I jumped out of my chair to acquire it, because it was just obvious to me from the beginning what she had to say and how different it was and how extraordinarily well she was going to say it. She had the brain and the voice of a writer from the very beginning, even in that situation.”
According to the New York Times piece, the writing process for Know My Name was a way for Miller to piece together what happened to her the night of the assault. Miller read pages of court documents and transcripts of witness testimonies she had not been allowed to hear during the trial, and had weekly calls with Schultz to discuss what she was discovering.
The cover art for “Know My Name” is inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi or “golden repair,” in which broken pottery pieces are restructured using lacquer and powdered gold. In this sense, it creates something beautiful from something that has been broken, emphasizing where it has cracked. The visual is meant to represent Chanel Miller’s process of healing and recovery from both the assault and the trial. Brb while I go drown in my own tears.
Know My Name will be released on September 24.
Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House