Sexual predators prey on the powerless in order to exert control, and use sex as a means to do so because the connections between sex and power are palpable. Weinstein is no anomaly.[TW — This essay contains discussion of sexual violence] Harvey Weinstein has fled to Europe. Supposedly, he now seeks treatment for sex addiction—if you can believe this excuse. This sudden retreat conveniently comes after a growing number of women have come forward about their experiences of sexual violence with the seasoned film producer. From forcing a reporter to watch him masturbate, to groping people's breasts, to aggressive propositioning, to rape. The accusations against him are rife with disturbing, heinous, and—unfortunately—familiar testimonies of sexual harassment and assault. Sexual predators prey on the powerless in order to exert control, and use sex as a means to do so because the connections between sex and power are palpable. Weinstein is no anomaly. Men in power using their dominant positions to intentionally and systematically sexually harass and assault people is an old song, and I'm tired of hearing it. We went through this last month following the death of Hugh Hefner, the irreverent pimp of the Playboy empire, and again with Andy Signore, the boisterous creator of Screen Junkies. Just as we have gone through this with Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby, and Jared Leto, and Louis CK and many, many others—to varying degrees. The horrors of the casting couch and the spaces akin to it are well-known in Hollywood and beyond. The pattern is undeniable, and sickening. Of course Donald Trump would say that he is not surprised about the accusations against Harvey Weinstein. And it follows that Weinstein would brag about not needing to drug women to rape them like Bill Cosby. And it’s decidedly unsurprising that Hugh Hefner did nothing to address Bill Cosby’s atrocious behavior at the Playboy Mansion. And it’s fitting that Jared Leto has been cast to play Hugh Hefner in an upcoming biopic. This would all be laughable if it weren’t so damn infuriating.
Sally Hemings deserves so much more than to be inextricably linked to her abuser. She deserves more than ‘Thomas and Sally.’ Apparently 2017 is the year of reimaging and sanitizing slavery. First, HBO announced Confederate, a show from the creators of
Trump's plan to erase the Obama administration’s policies will support a system that will continue to inflict trauma and will perpetuate the informal legalization of rape.In a completely unsurprising turn of events, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education under President Donald Trump, would dismantle parts of Title IX, including policies based on the 2011, Office for Civil Rights-issued “Dear Colleague” letter, which stipulates that sexual violence and harassment interfere with a student’s right to receive an education free from discrimination. The announcement comes after DeVos spent this summer consulting with various campus sexual assault groups to decide the best course of action to uphold patriarchal white supremacy. Among advocates for survivors, she also met with — surprise, surprise — advocates for the rights of accused rapists. The department hasn’t specified a timeline just yet, so for now, this announcement simply confirms their intent. Given that the President is an admitted and unapologetic sexual predator himself, this is appalling but unfortunately it is not shocking. The White House removed its report on sexual assault prevention from its website just before the announcement, as if it couldn’t make it any clearer how this administration feels about sexual violence.
The prison industrial complex is indeed modern-day American slavery. And under Trump, it is only getting worse. At the confluence of capitalism, racism, and mass-scale sadism we find what is known as the prison industrial complex, a complicated socio-cultural system that