An important lesson of the #MeToo movement has been that perpetrators of sexual assault include people who have been previously dismissed as potential predators — that sexual assaults can be and are committed by respected members of elite communities, including beloved comedians, Hollywood power players and prominent, well-paid journalists. No one, by virtue of their social or economic status, should be written off as incapable of assault. Privilege, we are finally admitting, does not prevent wrongdoing but rather protects the privileged from facing consequences.
But even as this cultural understanding of who commits sexual assault has broadened, the notion of who can be a victim has shifted very little. Victims of sexual assault are still expected to prove themselves worthy in ways that cleave along lines of race, class, ideas of respectability and gender. In order for the public to take seriously accusations of sexual assault, it still seems like victims must show us they are the right kinds of victims.
But what happens if you will never fit the public’s idea of the “right” kind of victim? We may, together, be about to find out.
An unnamed NFL player and another man allege they were harassed and sexually assaulted by a fellow passenger on a Feb. 10 flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. In a lawsuit filed against United Airlines, the player is identified as African-American; the alleged assailant, as a “middle-aged Caucasian female.”
According to Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion , the men made four complaints to flight attendants of […]
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