The #MeToo Moment: Dream Crushers

New York Times              December 5, 2017
By Jessica Bennett

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As the sexual misconduct scandals continue to unfold, our gender editor, Jessica Bennett, is providing updates and analysis on the coverage and conversation in a new newsletter. Sign up HERE to receive future installments, and tell us what you think at nytgender@nytimes.com.

She called them “dream crushers.”

Her name is Elizabeth Dann, and her story is no less upsetting for its familiarity. She is one of nine women who told me in detail about the sexual harassment and assault they suffered over decades at the hands of the celebrated playwright Israel Horovitz, the subject of an investigative article that was published last week.

Ms. Dann, who was 28 at the time of the abuse, did not stop acting — but she did veer away from the theater, instead doing mostly television commercials. She is now 56, and said the toll never fully went away.

“It’s not just that you’ve been manipulated and your personal space has been invaded — but it messed with me,” she explained. “It messed with how I saw my talent.”

That quote never made it into the story — one of many of the anecdotes that, after weeks and in some cases months of reporting in stories like these, often fall to the cutting room floor.

Also unpublished are the anecdotes of how we as journalists do this reporting, which often requires us to delicately ask people to divulge — and trust us — with memories among most painful of their lives.

My colleagues Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Emily Steel — the investigative reporters who, along with Michael Schmidt, broke the stories about Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly — spent many months doing just this. Tuesday night in Los Angeles, they discussed what it was like behind the scenes of that process, and they were joined by the actress Ashley Judd, whose own story of harassment by Mr. Weinstein helped spark the current #MeToo Moment.

You can watch the replay below , or in a separate window by clicking here.

Before the event, we asked Ms. Kantor, Ms. Twohey and Ms. Steel to answer three brief questions.

jodi kantor ashley judd

At a TimesTalks event in Los Angeles, actor Ashley Judd speaks with the New York Times journalists whose stories about Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment.

 Publish Date: December 5, 2017. Watch in Times Video »

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Time Names ‘The Silence Breakers’ As 2017 Person Of The Year

They’re the women who launched a movement against sexual harassment.

Time cover

Huffington Post       December 6, 2017
By Willa Frej

Time’s 2017 Person of the Year is The Silence Breakers, what the magazine refers to as “the individuals who set off a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment.”

The cover image accompanying the story features actress Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift and former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who have all spoken out against various forms of sexual misconduct. It also highlights the plight of sexual harassment among people who don’t have as large of an audience by featuring Isabel Pascual, a woman from Mexico who works picking strawberries, and Adama Iwu, a corporate lobbyist in Sacramento.

“The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover … along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s,” the magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.

The movement gained momentum after The New York Times published a damning exposé featuring several women who publicly accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. What followed has been a tidal wave of both women and men feeling empowered to publicly air their own accusations against powerful men in a variety of industries, many using the #MeToo campaign. It’s led to the downfall of top executives, journalists, actors, producers and politicians.

Time’s list of “Silence Breakers” includes big names like Rose McGowan and Terry Crews alongside names the public has likely never heard.

 

“I started talking about Harvey [Weinstein] the minute that it happened,” Judd said in an interview with TIME. “Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face — to use his words — that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.”

Tarana Burke, the woman credited with creating the #MeToo campaign, shared her thanks on Wednesday in a tweet.

 

The magazine’s shortlist, announced Monday, included 2016 winner President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Dreamers and former San Francisco 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick.

 

Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!

Trump claimed last month that the magazine told him he was the likely winner for the second consecutive year, which Time later disputed.

 

“The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year,” a Time spokeswoman told CNN in a statement. “Time does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.”

 

Trump has been accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen women.

QUOTATION FROM RENOWNED HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN

 

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Well, look. I think it’s a mistake when people say that standards have simply change. You can’t rationalize behavior in the past that was wrong. If it was wrong now, it was wrong a hundred years ago. It was wrong 50 years ago. I mean, what’s changed now is that the victims are speaking up in a way that they didn’t 50 years ago. And they’re speaking not just by themselves, but in a chorus. And it’s become a movement. And that’s why I think the thing you said at the very end, that young women now are making this a movement. This is a watershed moment. I keep thinking of Bobby Kennedy’s talk. He said at South Africa, and this is exactly what’s happening now, “It is from numberless diverse actions of courage and belief that human history is shaped. “Each time a man stands up, or a woman stands up, for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples eventually build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” That’s what’s happening now. This is going to change the way men feel about women, it’s going to change their relationship, it’s not a moment that’s going to go away.

Measuring the Intensity of Sadism

Scientists developed this 9-question test to measure how sadistic you are

Business Insider        April 9, 2017
By Rafi Letzter

Science can’t say whether people in your life are good or evil, per se. But it’s getting better at figuring out whether they enjoy hurting you.

A fairly new field in personality research studies “misanthropic” traits: characteristics that lead people to hurt those around them for their own benefit. And psychologists have established a “dark triad” of harmful personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy (or a lack of empathy), and Machiavellianism (or a tendency to manipulate others.)

Any one of these traits makes a person stressful to those around them. Taken together they add up to an “antagonistic and selfish” strategy for getting ahead at other people’s expense.

Now, some researchers suggest a fourth trait should join the triad: sadism, or joy in inflicting pain on others.

Why sadism matters

Sadism is a term with a long history. Sadists take pleasure in hurting other people. They’re our most fearsome and evil villains — whether real or imagined, like Ramsay Bolton of “Game of Thrones.”

But the idea of sadism is fairly new to clinical settings. That’s in part because the whole study of personality, and specifically of “dark” personality traits, is fairly recent and underdeveloped. But it’s also because traits like sadism, along with the rest of the dark triad, are difficult to tease apart with clinical precision.

Even papers that support the idea of sadism as part of a larger “dark tetrad” acknowledge that its effects can be difficult to distinguish from the three existing triad traits.

But a growing body of work in just the last few years has shown that sadism correlates specifically and strongly with cruel behavior — for example, trolling and cyberbullying.

The sadism test

In order to develop a rigorous test for sadism, researchers assembled a list of questionsdesigned to poke right at the heart of a sadistic personality.

The first version was 20 questions long. Subjects were asked to say how strongly they agreed or disagreed with a list of (rather chilling) statements, using a scale from one to five. (One meantcompletely disagree and five completely agree.)

  1. I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control.
  2. People do what I want them to because they are afraid of me.
  3. When I tell people what to do, they know to do it.
  4. I never get tired of pushing people around.
  5. I would hurt somebody if it meant I would be in control.
  6. I control my friends through intimidation.
  7. When I mock someone, it is funny to see them get upset.
  8. Being mean to others can be exciting.
  9. When I get annoyed, tormenting people makes me feel better.
  10. I have hurt people close to me for enjoyment.
  11. I enjoy humiliating others.
  12. I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends.
  13. I think about harassing others for enjoyment.
  14. I have cheated others because I enjoy it.
  15. I think about hurting people who irritate me.
  16. I’d lie to someone to make them upset.
  17. I have stolen from others without regard for the consequences.
  18. Making people feel bad about themselves makes me feel good.
  19. I am quick to humiliate others.
  20. I have tormented others without feeling remorse.

When 199 undergraduate students took the test, the results were promising but inconclusive.

The test, researchers found, was good at measuring sadism and dark triad traits. And it suggested that there were specific and interpretable patterns in people’s misanthropic personalities. But it didn’t as good a job as they’d hoped in identifying sadism as separate from psychopathy and the rest of the dark tried.

So they weeded out questions that might have caused too much overlap and tried again with a nine-question version of the test:

  1. I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control.
  2. I never get tired of pushing people around.
  3. I would hurt somebody if it meant I would be in control.
  4. When I mock someone, it’s funny to see them get upset.
  5. Being mean to others can be exciting.
  6. I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends.
  7. Watching people get into fights excites me.
  8. I think about hurting people who irritate me.
  9. I would not purposely hurt anybody, even if I didn’t like them.

This time, when 202 students took the test, the results were stronger. It still correlated with other dark triad traits like psychopathy as expected, but did a better job of showing that sadism is a separate category. In both tests, men scored much more highly than women for the negative traits. These results were published the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The researchers note that there’s a lot more work to do on what they’re calling the Assessment of Sadistic Personality (ASP), including finding subjects who aren’t college undergrads taking questionnaires for course credit (not the most diverse or representative sample). But they expect it will play a significant role as they come to understand sadism in clinical terms.

ISOLATION: One of the most important elements in understanding victims and victimizers

  1. Isolation and domestic violence are two sides of one coin. It is used to create a bubble in which harm (physical, mental, financial, emotional, spiritual, etc.) can easily take place.
  2. Isolation is an effective tactic employed to increasingly separate the victim from her family, friends, social circle and most importantly, her sense of a healthy empowered free self.
  3. Isolating the victim gives the controller more opportunity to be abusive and involved in every aspect of the woman’s life, i.e., where she goes, what she wears, what she eats, the home she lives in, the money she has access to and the entire socialization process of both her and her children if they are involved.
  4. As the torture and abuse intensifies, in a predictable pattern of escalation, not being with people and having the ability to live a normal social community involved life becomes a new norm. In order to hide the painful truth, deep shame and tremendous embarrassment to both herself and in the outer world, she withdraws to his advantage.
  5. This is a tragedy that is foundational to the domestic abuse relationship and why isolation is the tool most often used by perpetrators who seek to dominate and control women.

 

ANOTHER CRITICALLY IMPORTANT ASPECT IS ANALYZED IN A HUFFINGTON POST ARTICLE FOCUSED ON FINANCIAL ABUSE. CLICK HERE TO READ.

The Mother Ship is Your Soul

Oprah Gary Zukav

Before we dive deep into the daily horrors and awful complexity of life inside an abusive relationship, it might be helpful to look at the bigger picture and get our grounding in the spiritual journey. Victims of domestic and intimate partner abuse can remember what Gary Zukav is talking about in this interview with Oprah (“The Mother Ship is Your Soul”) and reset their lives in a manner that does not leave room for the suffering associated with this type of violence and harm.

Choking seen as prelude to murder

By Marisol Bello, USA TODAY

More states are trying to reduce fatal domestic assaults by increasing penalties against abusers who choke their victims.

New Hampshire and Delaware in May become the latest states to pass laws making it a felony to choke someone. A similar law that passed both houses of the New York Legislature this month awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. David Paterson.

States are targeting choking incidents because when an abuser tries to strangle someone in a domestic assault, it is a leading indicator that he will escalate his attacks and eventually kill his victim, says Gael Strack, a former prosecutor and founder of the Family Justice Center Alliance, which helps abuse victims.

Strack says states also need to train officers and prosecutors to look for evidence of strangulation, which can be hard to prove without bruises on the victim.

A 2008 study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine found 43% of women who were murdered in domestic assaults and 45% who were victims of attempted murder had been choked in the past year by their male partners.

Twenty-nine states have laws that make strangulation a crime, says the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, a program of the National District Attorneys Association.

New Hampshire passed its law after Melissa Cantin Charbonneau, 29, a mother and nurse, was killed by her husband two days after he tried to strangle her.

Jonathan Charbonneau, 32, shot and killed her in October. He also shot his father-in-law and then killed himself, a report by the state attorney general found. He was out on $30 bail after being charged with a misdemeanor for throwing her down a flight of stairs and trying to strangle her.

Her father, John Cantin, who survived the shooting, says his daughter would still be alive if her killer had been in jail, charged with a felony.

“I’m doing this for my daughter,” he says. “I don’t believe this bill will stop the person doing the choking, but at least when it does happen and they are arrested, they are put away.”

In Delaware, two state troopers who tracked domestic abuse cases found that over a four-month period, more than half of the cases in one county involving strangulation were prosecuted as misdemeanors, says Brian Selander, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Jack Markell. The troopers pushed for the new law, which carries a penalty of up to five years.

In New York, Democratic State Sen. Eric Schneiderman introduced a strangulation bill after chairing a committee that investigated a state senator for domestic abuse. During the hearings, he learned there was no penalty for strangulation, even though women who were choked have a higher risk of being killed by their partner.

“I’m just sorry it took us so long in New York state to do this,” he says. “I think this will save a lot of lives.”

Source: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-06-24-choking_n.htm