WXXI AM News

sexual assault

Tara Reade, a former staff member for then-Senator Joe Biden, has filed a police report alleging that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. Biden denies the allegation. Some progressives are challenging Biden to exit the presidential campaign; others are pushing back, challenging the veracity of Reade's account.

Our guests weigh in:

The Harvey Weinstein trial offered a chance to assess the strength of the MeToo movement. “It’s a perfect test case of what happens when a culture begins to shift,” said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern, to the New York Times.

Is this the beginning of a permanent shift, with the powerful being held to account? Or was the verdict not strong enough? Our guests discuss it. In studio:

A local writer and activist has generated some buzz with a piece he’s written about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. Writing as a guest blogger for 540 West Main Communiversity, Chris Thompson explores what he calls Bryant’s complicated legacy and his own mixed feelings about the late basketball superstar. Thompson says the amount of vitriol aimed at Bryant days after his death seems disproportionate, adding “any praise for his life is not an attack on his accuser, and sympathy for his accuser is not an attack on his legacy.” 

This hour, Thompson joins us in studio to discuss his piece, his thoughts on teaching consent and sexuality to men, Bryant’s legacy, and more. In studio:

(AP) ALBANY - Churches, youth groups, and schools were hit by a tsunami of lawsuits in 2019 after New York gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse a one-year window to sue over allegations ordinarily barred by statutes of limitation.

Now, some lawmakers want to open the same window for people abused as adults, a move that could lay a pathway for people to file additional lawsuits against some high-profile men targeted in the #MeToo movement.

Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced the Adult Survivors Act this autumn, saying survivors of adult sex abuse deserve their day in court.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday that extends the statute of limitations for cases of rape and other sexual assaults.

The new law extends the statute of limitations for the following crimes:

When it comes to sex, "affirmative consent" is the standard taught on college campuses and in countless articles written for both the classroom and public consumption. But critics have recently intensified their claims that it's not working. The Washington Post's Megan McArdle writes that affirmative consent ignores human beings' basic ability to read cues from a sexual partner, and it creates an impossible standard to meet, particularly for someone who might be accused of crossing legal lines.

Our guests discuss our expectations for sex, safety, and affirmative consent. In studio:

  • Allison O'Malley, chief executive officer of RESOLVE
  • Lauren Berger, education and outreach specialist at RESTORE

What is the definition of rape? The question after a handful of cases where judges showed bias toward young, privileged men accused of raping young women. In one case, the judge decided that a 16-year-old boy accused of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party would not be tried as an adult because he came from a good family; the judge said that traditional rape is defined, in part, as two or more males involved, either at gunpoint or weapon, manhandling a person into a secluded area. The ruling caused backlash and the eventual resignation of the judge.

What are the dangers of powerful people in the criminal justice system misunderstanding rape and sexual assault, and victims' trauma? Our guests discuss that question, and we hear the story of a local woman who has been personally affected by that concern. In studio:

We discuss the documentary, “Roll Red Roll.” The film explores rape culture, toxic masculinity, and online bullying following the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio in 2012. Two star members of the local high school football team were found guilty of the crime. Their convictions came after many critics blamed their school for trying to protect the popular team and its members.

This hour, we discuss the forces that lead to teenage sexual assault, victim blaming, and how to help survivors. We also talk about if and how the Steubenville case would have been handled differently in the era of #MeToo. This conversation is a preview of an upcoming screening of the film and a panel discussion at MCC. In studio:

  • Allison O’Malley, CEO of RESOLVE
  • Christine Plumeri, professor of sociology at MCC, and program coordinator for MCC’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Program
  • Lauren Berger, training coordinator at RESTORE
  • Jack Brennick, co-founder of RESOLVE’s Stand Up Guys program

The sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have led to renewed conversations about the #MeToo movement. President Trump recently tweeted his belief that any person who is sexually assaulted will immediately report it to authorities. That led to the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, with women across the country sharing why they chose not to talk to authorities when they were sexually assaulted or raped.

This hour, we hear from local survivors who are sharing their stories. In studio:

  • Ilhan Ali, intersectional feminist, standup comedian, and proud immigrant
  • Rachel Pazda, medical secretary and Navy veteran
  • Meaghan de Chateauvieux, CEO for Willow Domestic Violence Center

In her book, “I Married a Sociopath,” writer and epidemiologist Sabrina Brown details decades of physical, verbal, and financial abuse by her ex-husband. Brown began blogging about being a domestic violence survivor in 2012 as a way to spark conversations about intimate partner violence, which often isn’t reported or acknowledged.

Brown is in Rochester as the keynote speaker for RESTORE Sexual Assault Service’s first-ever regional conference, but first, she joins us on Connections to share her story and to discuss how to help victims of domestic violence. Our guests:

  • Sabrina Brown, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Kentucky, and author of “I Married a Sociopath”
  • Lauren Berger, outreach and education specialist for RESTORE

Pages