Kevin Spacey’s Verdict For Anthony Rapp Isn’t As Damn As You Might Think
Another day, another high-profile trial shows our court system has a disregard for sexual assault survivors. On Wednesday, after hearing two weeks of evidence in a civil trial, a federal jury in New York found Kevin Spacey Not Responsible For battery against actor Anthony Rapp. Rapp accused Spacey of picking her up, putting her on the bed, and inappropriately touching her during a party in 1986. At the time, according to Rapp, Spacey was 26, and he was 14. After more than two weeks of testimony, the jury deliberated for 90 minutes before returning its verdict.
Another high-profile trial shows there is a sense of disregard for sexual assault survivors in our court system.
“bringing this lawsuit was always about shining a light“As part of a larger movement to stand against all forms of sexual violence,” Rapp tweeted after the verdict, adding that he would “continue to push for a world free of sexual violence of any kind.” Rapp’s attorney Richard Stegman said in a statement: “Anthony told his truth in court. We respect the jury’s decision, but that doesn’t change anything.”
Spacey did not speak or issue a statement after the verdict, but his attorney, Jennifer Keller, said:I am very grateful to the jury for looking into these false accusationsThis Month, Three Other Powerful Players in Hollywood — Directors Paul Haggisactor Danny Masterson and producer Harvey Weinstein – Are facing civil or criminal charges for sexual assault. Haggis is on trial in New York And Masterson and Weinstein are on trial in Los Angeles. They all claim that they are innocent of the charges against them. At the same time, Spacey’s victory on the court feels like another disappointing installment in the #MeToo saga. That hashtag and the message it sent spread through our public consciousness. five years ago It was launched later this month by women in Hollywood who were tired of abuse, abuse and assault by men within the industry.
The rap allegation added another dimension to the conversation: People of all genders are sexually harassed: in and outside Hollywood. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), one in 10 rape victims is male, while More than 2 million men in the United States Have either experienced rape or attempted rape. And yet, even within the #MeToo movement, little attention has been paid to male survivors of sexual assault. The reasons for this are: according to rainMen who are attacked can sometimes experience shame and self-doubt, especially around the idea that they were not “strong enough” to stop the attack. As a result, it can be hard to get ahead For the male survivors.
In this way, Rapp accused Spacey in a 2017 interview Buzzfeed News There was a watershed moment. In response to the BuzzFeed News report, Spacey tweeted, “If I behaved as they describe, I sincerely apologize to them for what would have been highly inappropriate drunken behavior.” He later called that apology a mistake.
Rap accusing Spacey in a 2017 interview with BuzzFeed News was a watershed moment.
Rapp accused Spacey of a tidal wave of investigative reporting in Hollywood about alleged harm. Those allegations were present on a broad spectrum from comedians Louis CK is being accused of masturbation Weinstein and Bill Cosby have been accused of sexually assaulting multiple women in front of women for decades without their consent. #MeToo adds to all those perceived outrage and calls for power imbalances, violence, coercion and control that, unfortunately, many people are familiar with.
The movement eventually took the public seriously and questioned some of the outrageous dynamics going on in Hollywood, and it opened the floodgates for those who were held accountable for causing harm. First it won. Weinstein was convicted in New York. Louis CK acknowledged in a statement, “these stories are true, I am sorry for what I did. And I have tried to learn from them. and run away from them. Now I know about the impact of my actions.”
And then, the tide shifted. bill cosbywho was convicted of obscene assault in Pennsylvania, his sentence was overturned after that state’s Supreme Court ruling that his entry into a civil trial he had given a sedative to a woman Was wrongfully used in a criminal trial against him before having sex with her. Weinstein has been granted an appeal in the New York case. Louis CK wins the Grammy For his comedy album. It looks like blow after blow with little relief. In the face of these obstacles, it can be easy to feel disillusioned, numb about the state of movement.
However, we should be encouraged by the courage of people like Rapp, who are willing to sacrifice their privacy to tell their stories and expand our cultural understanding of what assault is. Even after losing the case, the effect of appearing in front of them remains. It’s a small step toward calculating the prevalence of sexual violence in our culture, which is the real point of #MeToo—not grading the movement based on people convicted or acquitted. “People are like, ‘Oh, the #MeToo movement has failed. It’s not about the failure of the movement; It’s a failure of the system,” said activist Tarana Burke, who coined the term #MeToo in 2006. 19th last week, “These systems are not designed to help survivors, they are not designed to give us justice, they are not designed to end sexual violence.”
It is very hard to win in a system that is deliberately set up for the failed survivors.
Is this rape backlog preventing survivors from identifying their perpetrators or the judge overseeing the rap case Rejecting his claim of attack Before the trial began (on the grounds that it was filed too late) and after his lawyers have put his case to rest, dismissing his claim of emotional distress, it is very hard to win in a system that willfully survives People are set up to fail. as Burke pointed out insider Last week, “#MeToo is essentially about those supporting survivors. And it’s really about community healing and community action.” Yes, Rapp lost its civil case, yet it raised awareness about the impact of sexual violence, especially on boys and men.
Yes, if Spacey did what Rapp says he did, he should have been punished. But a jury found that he did not. So how should we react? If we’re acting in the true spirit of #MeToo, we’ll love to surround rap, connect them with people who have stories like them, and continue to fight for policies that benefit survivors. In other words, it is not about the outcome of this specific case or any other that will be prosecuted in the coming months and years. Instead, we must treat this as fuel for the fight to continue – every generation of survivors, those who have come forward and those who haven’t, depend on it.
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