I like to begin class with a Q/A. A Q/A is a question or an idea to be explored. Here is an example:
Q/A: If you care about your virtue, there are places you shouldn’t go, there are situations you shouldn’t put yourself into and there are people you shouldn’t be alone with or seen with.
True or False Explain your reasoning.
You know your students. I’m thinking this is a high school health discussion possibly 8th grade. In fact, this is a good discussion for men/women of all ages to discuss and evaluate. My husband and I happened to be listening to a Dennis Prager radio show when he interviewed Donna Rotunno, Harvey Weinstein’s lead defense attorney. They both agreed that Harvey Weinstein is not an admirable guy. He used his power and connections in the entertainment industry to allegedly sexually harass, assault, intimidate or rape vulnerable women in the industry. The women allegedly did not know how to handle his advances. Their defense is based on their fear that they could lose their opportunity for a picture, TV program or be seen at important parties etc.
Donna Rotunno (who defines herself as an extreme feminist) is his defense attorney. She believes the accusers went to and drank at parties, flirted with men and made choices that advanced their careers. Her argument was very persuasive; I was motivated to follow up on her opinions. Thus, I recommend this article.
There are points to talk about with your students. Part of this assignment is for your students to examine/evaluate their choices and their calculated intentions.
Our Intentional Choices reflect and shape our character; who we are and who we wish to be. Our intentional choices define us. Freely choosing something matters.
1. Harvey Weinstein freely chose his behavior. He had a strategy to get what he wanted from women in the industry. He could reward and/or punish their responses to him. This behavior defined him. Pick your adjectives. They are all ugly.
2. In defending Weinstein, Rotunno focuses on the INTENTIONS of the women. In other words, people (men and women) have intentions and some of those intentions are all about me. In some way I will profit. Donna Rotunno presents the jury a choice, a. these women freely chose their behaviors or b. they had no idea their choices would lead to an unwanted sexual experience.
Unlawful intent is frequently what separates criminality itself from legally innocuous (non harmful) behavior.” In intending harm, one precisely makes their victim’s loss one’s gain.
3. Have the students examine the choices the female victims made when they were with Harvey Weinstein. This is the theme of Rotunno’s entire case. She believes “women have fought for decades to be viewed as equal to men. Now, as gender equality has become more pervasive, Rotunno believes women have abdicated the responsibilities that come with it—— which are to make difficult decisions.” Is this ethical, moral, professional? Will this ruin my reputation? Will I regret this? Will this make me look bad to others/myself?
Example 1— “ Even if the women were trying to appease Weinstein out of fear of retaliation, or to protect their jobs, Rotunno said that doesn’t explain why they willingly met him when they knew he’d likely make sexual advances, if they didn’t truly want those advances. You’re still in a position where you are choosing a career over your own self-worth. You are saying that ‘this choice may get me a job, which is more important to me than my dignity and my self-worth’.”
I predict the jury will not convict Harvey Weinstein * My Reasons are below number 6. (Feb 18)
Feb. 24 the jury said quilty on 2 charges. I’m amazed all 12 jurors overlooked the 3 major conditions that traditionally lead to a hung jury or acquittal. I recommend a daily podcast from journalists Phelim McAleer & Ann McElhinney. It is a reenactment of what was said each day in court. Weinstein podcast.com https://anchor.fm/harveyweinstein.
(It’s not as though I wasn’t ever warned about being at certain places, or being with certain people or doing stupid stuff. It never occurred to me that bad stuff or really bad stuff would happen to ME or involve ME. Are you aware of that universal faulty idea that bad stuff happens to other people?)
4. After the class has read and discussed the article, revisit this revised Q/A.
Q/A: If you care about your virtue, there are places you can’t go. Why do you want to go there?
There are situations you shouldn’t put yourself into. Why do I want to be in the middle of that? (Is fitting in now more important than your future?)
There are people you shouldn’t be alone with or seen with. What’s the attraction? Are they really cool/popular and you want a some of that?
5. Encourage students to talk with their parents. I’m sure they have an opinion. Dad’s usually want to protect their daughters. They understand the intentions of men. Mom’s may have to educate their sons on the intentions of women.
6. * Years ago there was an article entitled “A seismic shift in sex — case law”. It motivated me to inform students of the Steps of Intimacy in terms of relationships, disease and the law. According to the article,
“Years ago a survey conducted by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault discovered that while most respondents understood that “no means no”, 47 percent believed that allowing touching under the clothes constitutes consent to intercourse. Nearly 1/3 thought that agreeing to go back to someone’s home after a date also signals consent. More striking: About 25 % of respondents said a woman cannot claim she was raped if she didn’t actively fight off the sexual advance.” In other words, there had better be bruises.
Responses did not differ significantly by the gender of the person taking the survey.
People have no problem putting someone in jail if that someone grabs a kid walking home from school and sexually assaults him/her. Judging becomes much more difficult if a girl goes willingly to someone’s hotel room, apartment etc. and the couple is progressing down the Steps of Intimacy. If the couple was drunk and can’t really remember who said what, when and where, forget about it. The couple have put themselves in a position where 12 strangers will judge them and the jury’s decision may very well interrupt someone’s life in an unpleasant and unexpected way.
The importance of this article was, a jury will judge a victim or perpetrator of sexual assault based on societal attitudes. In other words, if you are a victim or a perpetuator of a sexual crime you will be judged on the Steps of Intimacy you are on, the location of the assault, if there is violence and/or alcohol involved. Twelve people who you don’t know and were not at the scene of the alleged sexual assault will piece together the evidence they believe and make a judgment that will affect your future. What is done in private many times becomes public knowledge.