It Begs The Question
Hey…I'm just saying… And while we're at it, why are you defending them?

Comey Was Raped June 12, 2017

 

James Comey is an imposing man. He’s 6’8″ tall with an athletic build. And he was the head of the FBI!!! – Arguably the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world and almost certainly in the U.S. Then he was raped by a 70 year old fat man when he was alone in a room with him. Well… maybe it was a figurative raping; but the feelings of inadequacy and shame were the same.

“I should have done more. I wish I had been stronger. I should have said ‘no.’  I shouldn’t have gone to the 2nd and 3rd meetings.”

 

Anyway… below are the contents of 2 opinion pieces recently published by the New York Times; they echo what I’ve said above (and then some).

Kudos to the NYT and the 2 brave sisters who connected the dots and shined a bright light on the real meaning of the recent Comey testimony. Read them below (or click on the link to the PDF reprint of the NYT web pages that you can find at the end of this article).

 

The Truth Will Set Us Free

And it’s in the New York Times OpEd section

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First NYT Opinion Piece

By NICOLE SERRATORE JUNE 8, 2017

As I listened to James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, tell the Senate Intelligence Committee about his personal meetings and phone calls with President Trump, I was reminded of something: the experience of a woman being harassed by her powerful, predatory boss. There was precisely that sinister air of coercion, of an employee helpless to avoid unsavory contact with an employer who is trying to grab what he wants.

After reading Mr. Comey’s earlier statement, I tweeted about this Wednesday night, and immediately heard from other women who had seen that narrative emerge. How recognizable it was that Mr. Comey was “stunned” to find himself in these potentially compromising positions. His incredulity, mixed with President Trump’s circling attempts to get his way, were poignant. For a woman who has spent a lifetime wrestling with situations where men have power they can abuse, this was disturbingly familiar.

On Jan. 27, Mr. Comey received a last-minute dinner invitation from the president, and then learned it would be “just the two of us.” On Thursday, Mr. Comey revealed that he had had to break a date with his wife in order to dine with Mr. Trump. Already, something about this “setup” made him “uneasy.”

The central business of this intimate dinner was Mr. Trump’s insistence: “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Mr. Comey immediately recognized that this was a press for something he did not want to give. He froze: “I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed.”

That reaction — the choice of stillness, responses calculated to neither encourage nor offend that characterized so many of his dealings with Mr. Trump — is so relatable for any woman. During his testimony, Mr. Comey was asked why he had not responded more robustly, why he had not told Mr. Trump that he, the president, was acting inappropriately or reported his behavior immediately to others in authority.

Mr. Comey expressed regret that he had not been “stronger” about it, but explained that it was all he could do to focus on not saying the wrong thing. In other words, he wanted to avoid granting any favor while avoiding the risk of direct confrontation — a problem so deeply resonant for women.

During that interminable, awkward dinner, Mr. Comey struggled to convince Mr. Trump of the danger of “blurring” boundaries. But Mr. Trump was not deterred and returned to the subject of the loyalty he must have. There you hear the eternal voice of the predatory seducer: the man who knows how hard he can make it for a woman to refuse his needs.

Mr. Comey tried to wriggle out of the trap being set for him. He offered his “honesty,” hoping this would appease his insatiable host. Mr. Trump countered with a demand for “honest loyalty.” Mr. Comey acquiesced. Yet as he documented this “very awkward conversation,” his concession of this phrase troubled him. He hoped he had not been misunderstood by the president.

The victim of sexual harassment is constantly haunted by the idea that she said or did something that gave her persecutor encouragement. Serial harassers, of course, have an intuitive sense of this, and are skilled at manipulating and exploiting it.

Mr. Comey, you are not alone. How many of us have played over and over in our minds an encounter that suddenly took a creepy, coercive turn? What did I say? Were my signals clear? Did I do something ambiguous? Did I say something compromising?

At a White House ceremony on Jan. 22, Mr. Comey reportedly tried to blend in with the curtains, so that he would not be noticed by the president. Mr. Trump called to him and pulled him, unwilling, into a hug. What woman has not tried to remain invisible from an unwelcome pursuer’s attentions?

To this series of bizarre interactions, in which he faced escalating pressure, Mr. Comey reacted with rising anxiety and distress. Time after time, Mr. Trump reverted to his questionable agenda, and Mr. Comey, at each pass, tried to parry the president’s unwanted advances.

This dynamic with the president became so disturbing to Mr. Comey that, after an Oval Office meeting in February, he implored the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, “to prevent any future direct communication between the president and me.” Mr. Comey did not want to be left alone with his boss again. We’ve been there, Jim.

In their final exchange, on April 11, Mr. Trump told the F.B.I. director, “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” On May 9, having rebuffed the president, Mr. Comey was fired.

“We had that thing.” Once more, the seducer asserts a shared intimacy that was not really there, attempting to ensnare his victim with an imputed complicity.

In the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, Mr. Trump said of any woman he wanted: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” And he added: “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” With the power of the presidency at his disposal, Mr. Trump thought that he could use the psychology of coercive seduction on the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

Victims of sexual harassment often face skepticism, doubts and accusations when they tell their story. That’s part of the predator’s power. But I’m here to tell James Comey, and all the women and men who have suffered at the hands of predators, I believe you

 

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2nd Piece By NYT

Women Say to Comey: Welcome to Our World

By SUSAN CHIRAJUNE 8, 2017

A man is being publicly grilled about why he was alone in a room with someone he felt was threatening him. Why didn’t he simply resign if he felt uncomfortable with what his boss was asking him to do? Why did he keep taking calls from that boss, even if he thought they were inappropriate? Why didn’t he just come out and say he would not do what the boss was asking for?

Sound familiar? As dozens of people noted immediately on Twitter, if you switch genders, that is the experience of many women in sexual harassment cases. James Comey, the former director of the F.B.I., explained to senators during today’s hearing that he felt acutely uneasy and hesitant to directly confront his boss, the president of the United States. That’s right, even a savvy Washington insider, the same height as LeBron James and no stranger to the cut and thrust of power, seemed slightly ashamed that he had not been able to do so.

“Maybe if I were stronger, I would have,” he said, trying to answer a question about why he didn’t speak his mind. “I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in.”

These are the emotions that many women have struggled to explain in the face of sexual harassment, and the ones that have often given defense attorneys grist for what appear to be inconsistencies.

Imbalance of power often lies at the heart of sexual harassment or assault cases, from those of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly at Fox News to the trial of Bill Cosby, underway the same day as the hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. On Wednesday, Andrea Constand, Mr. Cosby’s accuser, concluded two days on the witness stand, with defense attorneys suggesting that her continued contacts with Mr. Cosby undermined her credibility. Unsurprisingly enough, today’s hearing shows that power can discomfit and silence men as well as women.

Sexual harassment and assault often provoke debates about credibility, fairness and bias. But at least for today, the tables were turned, and men could glimpse what women have often endured.

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Here are links to PDFs that are reprints of the NYT articles from their web site.

ComeySexuallyHarassed_NYT_1

ComeySexuallyHarassed_NYT_2

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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