Gale King interviewed Harvey Weinstein‘s attorney, Donna Rotunno on CBS News (9/17/2019 – https://youtu.be/LKBmwe6kWAo) where they talked about the case and the victims involved. One specific part of the conversation made me stop what I was doing and listen intently. Rotunno spoke about how every potential victim has a choice. It may not be a decision that has the outcome we (victims) want, but a decision nonetheless.
03:18 – YouTube Video Transcript
I get frustrated when I hear these types of situations and hear women say, “I didn’t have a choice.” Well, no. You had a choice and you made a choice. – Harvey Weinstein’s Attorney, Donna Rotunno
Her delivery of that statement was as if someone went to the store and chose to buy an outfit she didn’t like, as if to say, “You’re going to wear that?!?” As a former victim, I took offense at the dismissive nature of her comment and here’s why.
Her truth is an unfortunate truth. Survivors know all too well about those choices that we’re faced with. What she doesn’t explain is sometimes those choices are impossible choices. Sometimes those choices mean choosing between ourselves and those we love and care for:
“Leave me and I’ll kill your dog.”
“Say anything and I’ll make sure you never get hired anywhere.”
“Do what I say or I’ll post pictures of you nude.” (The ones you didn’t consent to or know about)
These aren’t reasonable choices, but in her “defense” they are still choices.
In these unfortunate truths, she unknowingly reveals a roadmap for victims. She is a defense attorney and her job, by law, means that she must do everything in her power to defend her client. She’s great in her role and therefore must bring to light all those unfortunate truths.
The roadmap shows victims that they must become diligent in recording all the details, large and small, of what really happened. Don’t leave out the slightest indiscretion, side comment veiled in humor, or suggestive remark, including those impossible choices that you’re forced to make. For without context, the meaning can look different, especially in a court of law.
There are pitfalls in documenting. In some states, it’s a felony to record someone’s audio and/or video without their consent. If you are unaware of those laws, you may unknowingly break them and leave yourself vulnerable to be re-victimized or worse, have charges brought against you.
Then there’s the fact that if you talk about your abuse and reference your (alleged) abuser unless they have been convicted, you could be held liable for defamation.
And what about the simple fact that your documentation may be discovered. A written journal is not safe, as it can fall in the hands of the wrong person. Phones can be destroyed. All of these pitfalls make keeping track of what’s going on in a way that can be shared almost impossible. I myself experienced some of these pitfalls and in having my journals discovered, putting me in harm’s way. What choice do you have then? The choice I chose was to rely on memory as so many of us do. But memory is unreliable when trauma damages your ability to recall specific details such as exact dates times and descriptions of others behavior around you. You may get the verbiage wrong. You may get the date wrong. This can make you an unreliable witness in your own case.
It is imperative that you look at this roadmap that Harvey Weinstein‘s attorney has laid out for you – document everything. You should be diligent and ensure that you are able to present those decisions in all their light including the impossible decisions that you were forced to make.
Information that is NEVER stored on any device, the VictimsVoice App is the legally admissible and secure way to document what happened, including pictures. #Record2Remember #HeardAndBelieved