Birth Justice: Where #MeToo and Medical Sexism Intersect

Never before have conversations about sexual harassment and violence been so commonplace. Around the world, feminists are declaring that they #BelieveWomen and women are telling their #MeToo stories. Despite a wave of fierce backlash to the feminist movement, we have broken the silence around the interpersonal and systemic violence that so frequently faces women, female-bodied, queer and trans people.

But I can’t help but notice a huge blind spot around birth.

Thousands of birthing women experience violence every day. (George Ruiz / Creative Commons)

UNICEF estimates that about 353,000 babies are born each day around the world—and in the process, thousands of birthing women experience violence. Birthing people are often coerced, threatened and violated during and after labor; they are separated from their babies, ignored by their doctors and forced into numerous other inhumane acts perpetrated by the patriarchal hospital system.

Doulas often say there is a “hidden epidemic” of doctors abusing women in labor—and in the last five years alone, women have begun to speak up about obstetrical violence. Caroline Malatesta won a lawsuit against the hospital where she gave birth after she suffered from PTSD and permanent nerve damage in response to the nurse forcefully holding her baby in her vagina while she waited for the doctor to come into the room. A woman known by the pseudonym “Kelly” sued her obstetrician for assault and battery after he conducted a multiple-cut episiotomy after she explicitly refused the procedure. 

But there are still millions of cases globally where the rights of birthing people are ignored—where their genitals are touched or cut without their consent, or their bodies are used in ways they explicitly refused. It is not uncommon to see doctors forcefully conduct vaginal exams on women during labor, even while they explicitly tell them to stop, for no medical reason whatsoever—a course of action that is, by definition, rape.

The #MeToo movement has openly grappled with the issues of privilege that shape its explosion. It takes privilege to stand up and say that one has suffered sexual harassment, abuse and rape. It is, in some ways, still a privilege just to be believed once you have spoken up. For every story told with the hashtag, thousands of stories go untold by women around the world because they fear greater violence or disenfranchisement. 

While every woman is vulnerable to obstetric violence, we are not all affected equally. Immigrants, people of color and poor folks are the least likely to be heard, and in many cases the most likely to be impacted, by birthing violence. In the U.S., black birthing people are dying in childbirth three to four times as often as white women. Latinx birthing people are dying twice as often as white women. 

My partner’s mother was raped when she went to her doctor for a routine prenatal checkup; she stopped going to that doctor, but didn’t report him to the hospital because race and class dynamics made her feel that nobody would listen. My grandmother is more willing to talk about the horrible atrocities she suffered during the Holocaust as a teenager than her first birth experience in a Brooklyn hospital in 1962—in which she was strapped to a bed, verbally abused and locked in a room alone during labor, and then separated from her baby for a week and discouraged from breastfeeding.

Unfortunately, although the vast majority of doctors have good intentions and want to take care of their patients as best they can, they work in a system that does not prioritize consent, that positions their patients as less knowledgeable about their own bodies than they are and that sets up a power dynamic where doctors can exploit their knowledge to get inappropriate access to their patient’s bodies. 

This violence is rooted in the history of the field: James Marion Sims, known as “the father of modern gynecology,” conducted experiments against female slaves without their consent and without anesthesia; today, medical students are still sometimes taught to perform pelvic exams on anesthetized women without their knowledge or consent—a practice that is only illegal in four states.

The midwifery model of care offers a much-needed alternative to western obstetrics. Midwifery, a century-old craft which means “with woman,” utilizes a model that prioritizes holistic female well-being. It is not only about keeping the birth safe—it is about keeping the birthing person feeling safe, and thus protecting the physiological process of birth.

We are all born, and medical research has concluded that birth affects us in deep, lasting and powerful ways. If mothers feel unsafe, violated or abused during births, their newborn babies will store those experiences in their nervous systems. Whether we are born through a cesarean section, vaginally in a hospital with an epidural or at home, our birth experiences affect us for the rest of our lives. 

Birth justice is finally becoming a part of the conversation, with states like New York and California creating initiatives to attempt to address the birth disparities facing communities of color—but we have so much more to do. We need to start calling obstetric violence what it is, and we need to start connecting the dots between #MeToo and medical sexism.

Men who are true allies to women need to be actively engaging with other men to end rape culture, and obstetricians must band together to stop obstetric violence. Men need to stop thinking that they deserve control over female bodie, and doctors need to stop thinking that they can do anything they want to our bodies under the guise of practicing medicine.

Marea Goodman is a home-birth midwife practicing in Oakland, California. 

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#MeToo One Year Later: Has Your Workplace Culture Changed?

About 10 years ago, Tarana Burke launched the Me Too movement—an anti-sexual assault initiative launched to support survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment. For a while, the movement quietly persisted  But in 2017, multiple sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein reignited the #MeToo movement and sparked chaos, conversation, and change across workplaces around the world.

To gain some insight into how the #MeToo movement has changed workplace culture, we interviewed Sarah Morgan, the senior human resources director for SafeStreetsUSA and founder of BuzzARooney L.L.C., a Human Resources Management, and leadership consulting company.

As an HR professional, how has #MeToo impacted workplace culture? 

In a way that didn’t exist before, the #MeToo movement created more awareness about the spectrum of sexual harassment in the workplace. We used to think these incidents were uncommon and happened infrequently. #MeToo flipped these misconceptions on their head and showed sexual harassment as commonplace and rampant, which it’s been for a long time. I have yet to meet a woman who does not have at least one #MeToo story from their career, from early professional women to women nearing retirement. The #MeToo movement no longer allowed companies to pretend like sexual harassment were someone else’s problem that happened in an isolated vacuum. #MeToo let the world know that sexual harassment in the workplace happens to all of us in one form or another.

Because of #MeToo, many of my clients and colleagues have reached out to me for guidance on how to update their orientation and annual training for employees and managers. Men seem afraid of saying or doing something that will be misconstrued as harassment or discrimination. Women seem more hyper-aware as events occur and more willing to speak up than in the past. These are both good things. We cannot eradicate harassment and discrimination without awareness and active participation from men, especially those in positions of authority and influence, which equals power. We also need women who are both willing to come forward with the stories of their experiences and willing to believe and support other women who choose to speak up.

In my work environment, I ensured our workplace harassment training for both employees and managers were very comprehensive, so we didn’t have to change much of our current practices because of #MeToo.

Why might women be afraid to speak up about harassment at work?

Women are afraid to speak up because they do not think they’ll be believed, and they do not trust action will be taken to stop the issue and/or to protect them from retaliation after the issue is reported.

As much as HR tries to protect confidentiality, it is not uncommon for word to get out and become office gossip when a claim is filed. The same victim shaming that happens to women who are victims of sexual assault happens to women who are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. What you wore and how you behaved and what you did/didn’t do and how you could have avoided or prevented the incident(s) all impact how you’re viewed and judged both by the company and by your peers. No woman wants to go through all of that just to keep getting a check at a job that’s only paying her $ 0.50 – 0.85 for every white male $ 1. Many women choose not to report and instead they just seek work elsewhere. Once they are out of the environment, only a fraction of women report the issue or file a lawsuit.

Can you explain HR’s role in handling employee harassment claims?

HR is responsible for educating employees and managers about what is and what is not harassment in the workplace as well as the actions one should take when they are a victim or a witness to harassment in the workplace.

When an issue is brought to our attention, HR is responsible for conducting a thorough investigation to either substantiate or refute the claimant’s version of the events. During an investigation, HR will speak with and get written statements from witnesses, and review evidence, such as timesheets, emails, video and phone recordings, chat and text messages, social media messages, etc. After everything has been reviewed, HR will make recommendations for corrective action; this includes discipline up to termination and sometimes additional training for other employees who need remedial or refresher instruction. Corrective action may also include changes in schedule, supervisor, or work area to limit interactions between the parties going forward.

It is a difficult role to balance because what the complainant wants does not always match what is in the best interest of the company.

We have to balance the needs and rights of everyone involved, not just the complainant. Sometimes this means a form of corrective action other than termination for the person accused of harassment where the evidence or the severity of the issue does not support termination. HR often feels between a rock and hard place because of this.

Many HR professionals find we are unsupported by other members of management in our recommendations to have zero tolerance toward sexual harassment. I’ve been in this place at several times in my career; I can say it is awful to feel incapable of bringing some measure of justice to a person who already feels powerless. I am glad for the #MeToo movement because it makes companies think more critically about their decisions and the implications. #MeToo is forcing companies to live up to the values they espouse surrounding fairness and equity and inclusive workplaces that are free from harassment and bullying.

When we are focused on cultivating safe spaces where employees can be both creative and accountable, companies thrive and flourish and don’t fear the #MeToo movement as a threat to success.

The post #MeToo One Year Later: Has Your Workplace Culture Changed? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Claire Foy Doesn’t Want ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ to Diminish #MeToo

Much has been said about both The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Claire Foy, the film’s star. The movie — Fede Alvarez’s adaptation of the first book in the Millennium series not written by Stieg Larsson — has seen its main protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, tagged ‘Lady Batman’ and labelled a poster girl for #MeToo. Meanwhile, Foy has been vocal about her dislike of the term ‘strong women’.

The Crown actress, it seems, doesn’t like labels – and though she’s reticent to attach the #MeToo tag to The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Foy does acknowledge the film’s relevance and importance to the cause. Lisbeth’s first #MeToo moment is addressed in the film – the abuse she endured at the hands of her father as a young girl. Lisbeth would also go on to suffer at the hands of her guardian – as seen in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – against whom she would eventually retaliate. Brutally. Salander, Foy admits, reacts to abuse like so many real-life women who’ve embraced #MeToo, only speaking out about their story, or taking action, some time after the event.

The Best Thing is to Not Fight


Girl-in-the-Spider's-Web
Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander, complete with avenging hero make-up.

“I think that’s the point of why Lisbeth is moved to action,” says Foy of the impotence felt by women when it comes to speaking out. “I think she never felt when she was being abused by the guy that was supposed to be in charge of her — you know, he’s supposed to be a ward of the state, he was supposed to be taking care of her, was her caregiver, I suppose… she’s been so trained by the predator-victim dynamic that she knows there’s very little she can do and that there’s very little… she’s powerless. She knows that the best thing is to not fight, in a way.”

Foy explains that Salander chooses to act the way she does in order to take back control, to seize the power, to transcend victimhood – because she knows she’ll be let down if she goes the accepted route. A route established by a society that routinely shifts the blame or onus onto women when it comes to rape or sexual assault, and one that makes them feel ashamed and victimised. In the original film, Salander waits for the right moment to mete out her carefully plotted revenge on her abuser. In The Girl in the Spider’s Web, she is an avenging hero, taking revenge on abusive men on behalf of other women, but is only able to fully understand and confront the far-reaching effects of her father’s abuse in the film’s closing moments.

Women Are Made to Feel Shame

“But that’s the story of Lisbeth; that then she bides her time,” says Foy. “She waits, she’s like a spider, and she waits and then she will make him pay. And then she will make him feel more humiliated than he made her. Her moral compass is so strong, she knows that that is wrong and that shouldn’t be allowed, but she knows that the place where women seek protection is often the place where they’re most judged and most made to feel like a victim as opposed to a survivor.

“And so her lack of trust in authority is something I think is probably what a lot of women feel. And a lot of women feel that there isn’t a safe space for it because the shame often… we’re so ashamed of things like that in our society. The shame often lies with the woman or the ‘victim’ — for want of a better word, because I don’t really like that phrase — being made to feel shame. We’re so ashamed. And that’s wrong. I think that’s why people are able to come out more now because there are more voices. As long as there are more voices saying: ‘This also happened to me, this is also what I’ve been through’, as long there are more representations of women like Lisbeth on screen [demonstrating that it’s] not something that people need to be ashamed of, and we can allow people to speak and express themselves in that way, [all] the better. I think #MeToo is very much a catchphrase for a lot of the media. I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve done where people have said: “It’s #MeToo, this film” and I’m like, I don’t want this film to diminish the MeToo movement. By attaching it to a movie [that’s a danger].”

Weakness Is Also Part of What It Is to Be a Woman


Girl-in-Spiders-Web-Claire-Foy-Header
Claire Foy rejects the idea that Lisbeth is merely ‘strong’.

A term that often gets attached to characters like Lisbeth Salander is “strong woman”. Foy recently spoke out against this overused pairing of words, and explains why she dislikes it so much.

“I think strength and power is something that’s very much deemed to be masculine,” she says. “I think they’re trying to make women being strong [seem like] a positive; it’s something that someone is like: ‘That’s what you want to see. You don’t want to see weak women. Why do you want to see a weak woman?’ And you sort of think weakness isn’t part of it, [the ‘strong woman’ character represented on screen].

“[In fact,] we all have weaknesses and that can make us ‘stronger’. We all have so many different facets to our character and I just find that the ‘strong’ thing makes it seem like a woman is more acceptable in what has always been… that as the protagonist of a film, it makes her seem allowed to be there because she’s ‘strong’. And I just find that really reductive and slightly embarrassing. And I think that a lot of the time, we haven’t been given the opportunity to explore female protagonists who have that depth. Who are as complicated as, you know, the guy in Breaking Bad, or The Weather Man, [in which] Nicolas Cage is playing an incredibly complex person. [Women] haven’t been given that range, we haven’t had that opportunity. And therefore to try and say that we have to be strong, it’s just: ‘Oh god, how boring — just to play strong women all the time.’”

Lady Batman She Ain’t

By extension, Foy also rejects comparisons to Batman and James Bond, prefixed by the word ‘lady’.

“I’m just, like, she doesn’t have a batcave, I know that she had an apartment that could be seen as that, and this could be seen as that, and blah blah blah. It’s always going to be recognisable, and it’s a genre film in the sense that it’s a thriller — there are elements of it that look like those sorts of films,” says Foy. “Of course, they do. Because you can’t get away from it, because that’s the way that Fede shot it. It is noir, kind of — even the tone that Pedro [Luque] the DOP uses, lots of greys and things like that — so that is how it’s going to look. But I’m like, just piss off.”

Why does Foy think we have an impulse to make those comparisons then?

“Because, like you say, you want to label something,” she says. “You want to make it understandable. And also you want to attract an audience to it, I guess. I completely get that. It’s not like I’m talking down about Batman or James Bond. I think they’re both amazing. But also, we’ve got to leave room for Lisbeth to find her own space in that. She deserves to. Yes, she’s going into a genre, into a realm, which no real female complex characters have been before, so obviously that [comparison] has to be drawn. But at the same time, I’m just like, I think we can just let her be for a minute. I don’t think we have to decide she’s Batman just yet.”

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is out now in the US and Australia, and hits UK screens on November 21.

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Under Armour’s #MeToo Moment: No More Strip Clubs on Company Dime

Under Armour employees received an email earlier this year that upended a longstanding company practice: They could no longer charge visits to strip clubs on their corporate cards. Strip-club visits were symptomatic of practices women at Under Armour found demeaning, current and former employees say.
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Will #MeToo Spark Backlash Against Women in the Workplace?

These are interesting times for Google. Last week, The New York Times spilled the beans about a $ 90 million “exit package” Android creator Andy Rubin was purportedly paid to leave quietly after a sexual harassment allegation in 2014. Then came the news that Google has fired 48 other people over the past couple of years, including 13 managers, for the same reason (but sans exit packages).

Of course, it’s not just Google. In the 12 months since the ouster of Harvey Weinstein brought awareness of the anti-sexual-harassment movement MeToo into sharp focus, hundreds of other U.S. executives–some famous, many less so–have gotten the boot. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that allegations of misconduct rose 12%, the first increase in five years. The EEOC’s lawyers filed 41 separate sexual harassment suits, a jump of more than 50% from 2017. Between litigation and other proceedings, the agency required a total of nearly $ 70 million to be paid to plaintiffs, up 22% from the year before. And none of that even begins to count what’s happening at the state level, or what employers are paying in private settlements behind closed doors.

It’s a long way from over, and all the possible ripple effects aren’t yet clear. For now, some observers wonder what impact #MeToo might have on the gains that women have struggled to make in business. “What worries me is that we’re starting to see a backlash,” says Michelle Lee Flores. “Unfortunately, it’s based on misinformation.”

A partner in employment law at Akerman in Los Angeles, Flores works with corporate clients nationwide on crafting anti-harassment policies and training. As she sees it, a juicy TV news sound bite or sensational Internet headline rarely tells the whole story–yet leaves people with the impression that they know all about it. So, she and her fellow lawyers meet many (mostly male) managers these days who are panicking unnecessarily.

“You hear people say things like, ‘Look what happened to So-and-So at Such-and-Such Company! He was fired after just one accusation!’” Flores says. “That’s not an accurate understanding, because the public almost never sees the whole history of someone’s behavior.” What happens behind the scenes is what counts, she adds: “Someone can be accused of one specific instance of harassment, and truthfully deny it, while still admitting to a whole pattern of other incidents which violated company policy”–and which no one outside the company ever gets wind of.

Knowing almost nothing about the real reasons someone was fired may not, alas, stop some people from deciding that the way to stay “safe” is to avoid working alongside women. Or traveling with them. Or sending them out on plum assignments. Or promoting them. Is this starting to sound way too familiar from decades ago? What year are we in again? “It might sound extreme,” Flores notes. “But I’ve heard male executives express a real concern that having female colleagues ‘could come back to bite me’.”

New research from the Society for Human Resource Management suggests she has a point. In a survey of 18,000 U.S. employees, at all levels across 15 industries, about one-third (32%) of executives say they’ve “changed their behavior” in the past year because of a greater awareness of the hazards of sexual misconduct at work, including risks to morale (23%) and employee engagement (also 23%). Only 21% said harassment “has never been an issue” in their companies.

Some of the steps managers told SHRM they’ve taken: Male mentors can no longer be assigned to women less senior then themselves. Working in the office after hours is no longer allowed “for groups of fewer than three employees, and must include a manager.” No touching ever, and “asking permission to enter a 3-foot space, and NEVER [caps theirs] closer than 3 feet.” One manager told SHRM he “scared to say anything” to or about women, ever.

It’s not hard to imagine all kinds of subtle consequences–and, ultimately, damage to women’s careers–from so much caution. And what happens to office romance? Is it dead, or just a lot more fraught than ever? Ideally, we could keep what was great about male-female diversity and just get rid of what wasn’t.

Some leaders seem willing to try. Consider, for instance, that almost 40% of the executives in the SHRM study said their own reaction to #MeToo has mainly been to be more “careful” or “mindful” about locker-room humor and sexist jokes. “That may not be a bad thing,” especially in tech, says Sarah Cooper, a former designer and manager at Yahoo! and Google, where there’s a long tradition of “men saying things that make women uncomfortable, and the women just having to ‘be cool’ and laugh it off.”

Cooper, who wrote a tongue-in-cheek new career guide for women called How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, quit Silicon Valley to chase a lifelong dream of doing stand-up comedy, but over the years she saw plenty of other women flee IT for less happy reasons. “People need to have fun at work,” she says. “But having the kind of toxic culture that drives talent away isn’t just a loss to women–it’s a loss to companies, too.” Too true.

Anne Fisher is a career expert and advice columnist who writes “Work It Out,” Fortune’s guide to working and living in the 21st century. Each week, she’ll answer your most challenging career questions. Have one? Ask her on Twitter or email her at workitout@fortune.com.

 

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Lawyer who defended Roger Ailes and Anthony Weiner says #MeToo is moving from opening arguments to the trial stage

Things didn’t go well for comedian Sarah Silverman when she went on Monday’s “The Howard Stern Show” to say her dealings with comedian Louis C.K. – a public figure trying to resurrect his career after being disgraced by the #MeToo movement – had always been positive.

Silverman quickly found herself…

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Trump mocks the #MeToo movement at a rally, again

President Donald Trump mocked the #MeToo movement again at his rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night, citing the “rules of MeToo” as the reason he wasn’t “allowed” to use an expression.


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Rose McGowan denies calling #MeToo a ‘lie’ and says movement is ‘important’

Rose McGowan is clearing up her stance on the #MeToo movement.

The actress praised the significance of #MeToo and denied ever calling it a “lie” after a recent article by The Sunday Times quoted her criticizing the movement.

“I never said #MeToo is a lie. Ever. I was talking about Hollywood and…

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A Rape Accusation Against Cristiano Ronaldo Is Finally Getting Attention. It’s About Time Soccer Had Its #MeToo Moment

Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal’s most famous soccer player and arguably the most famous athlete in the world. But in the last few days, his name hasn’t been in headlines for winning championships or crying on the pitch after being issued a red card. His name is flashing across screens because of a 34 year-old woman named Kathryn Mayorga, has come forward to say Ronaldo brutally raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.

How is it possible that a story that sports media in North America had no interest in publishing less than two years ago, is now splashed all over every screen and social media platform? This case was not reported on by any major outlet except for a story in 2017 by the independent German newspaper Der Spiegel. Except for a select few commenting on social media (myself included), the case against Ronaldo got no traction. Fast forward 18 months, and Der Spiegel published another story. This time, it was a detailed account from Kathryn Mayorga herself. The publication spent more than 20 days with her and held countless interviews, fact checked and re-checked before it published.

The documents acquired by der Spiegel were damning and according to a recent Twitter thread by one of the main authors, Christoph Winterbach, there were more than 20 staff involved in working on the article. In response. Ronaldo’s lawyer and his team made a lot of noise as part of their legal posturing and even accused der Spiegel’s piece of being “illegal” because “it violates the personal rights” of Ronaldo. Laughable at best.

For those who understand the law, and the severity of the crime, there is much substance in this story. Back in 2009, Mayorga’s inexperienced lawyer (who had specialized in traffic violations) was no match for Ronaldo’s PR mega-machine and legal team, ended up settling with them for $ 375,000 on the condition Mayorga not . But Mayorga’s new legal team is disputing that contract and arguing that she was mentally deficient due to trauma from rape, and was not competent enough to make a proper decision at the time.

They have filed a civil suit on Mayorga’s behalf and the case has since been re-opened by the Las Vegas police. In Nevada, the statute of limitations has not expired for this crime. Mayorga has not only suffered physically (the hospital documented her injuries in a rape kit when she reported the crime), but she continues to suffer from that trauma to this day and—according to her lawyer—is in “active therapy.”

Ronaldo initially called the allegations “fake news” and insinuated that Mayorga was trying to get famous using his name. I have worked with survivors of violence and have yet to meet or know of a victim who has enjoyed any of the bullying, shame, societal isolation and mental health upheavals, and wanted to claim some type of infamy from an attack. And I won’t even dignify the ridiculous notion of “false accusations.”

Writing about rape culture in the soccer world is a struggle. Before the 2015 UEFA Championships, I heard about allegations against Spanish goalkeeper and Manchester United star David De Gea, who was implicated in a horrible rape case. I pitched that piece to at least ten different outlets and no one was interested in publishing it and paying me for my work. Thankfully, I found it a home at a soccer site entirely run by women. And they backed me up when the online harassment started to descend. I have only tweeted about Ronaldo thus far and the responses to my tweets have been violent and angry—presumably from Ronaldo supporters. Another indication of the hatred casually flung at women for speaking up.

Mayorga’s attorney has said that she was enabled by hearing survivors in the #MeToo movement disclose their own stories. There is a strong tide of women speaking up courageously, slowly washing away the impunity often enjoyed by powerful misogynists and abusers. Perhaps #MeToo has finally transcended into the realm of sports, a realm where it is desperately needed. With cases like Patrick Kane, Kobe Bryant and Baylor University’s football team, and other men who rarely face consequences for their actions, it is needed now more than ever.

Predictably, the same sports media who initially had no interest in this story have become “experts” in criminal law, and on sexualized violence. The vacuous reporting and unnecessary reflections are mostly done by men, and center the 33-year-old star. Opinions on due process (reminder: it’s a legal system not a justice system) and about Ronaldo’s athletic prowess and teams don’t have anything to do with this case in which he is accused of anally raping a woman, who by his own accord, told him “no.”

The way that these stories are reported by sports journalists who have little or no training in reporting accurately on sexualized violence can be re-traumatizing for many survivors. Instead of investing in proper media tool kits compiled by advocates for victims of violence (all free), editors unleash a bevy of unhelpful pieces that contribute to an unhealthy society steeped in rape apologism. On that night in 2009, Mayorga was dancing with Ronaldo. Does that mean she invited rape? No. These outlets are complicit in the way that victim blaming and shaming become part of natural discourse when rape is reported.

Then there is the sexist sports establishment itself. Since the most recent news broke out, the predictably irrelevant statements of solidarity from Ronaldo’s supporters have emerged. His current team Juventus FC tweeted out nonsensically reminding Twitter that Ronaldo has conducted himself with “professionalism” and “dedication.” The issue at hand is not whether he is a “champion.” How Ronaldo performs on the pitch is not correlated to the fact that he may have brutally violated a woman. The issues must not be conflated.

Ronaldo was left off of the Portuguese national team roster for upcoming international matches—but not because the Portuguese football federation felt it necessary to exclude him from the squad for being charged with a violent crime. They somehow managed to explain this decision while singing his praises. Portugal national men’s coach Fernando Santos said in a news conference on Thursday, “[Federation] president Fernando Gomes and I spoke with Cristiano Ronaldo and we considered it best for the player not to be included in this and November’s call-ups.

He went on to wax poetic about the alleged rapist: “I personally always support my players, and this is not even a question of solidarity, but I believe what the player said publicly. He considers rape to be an abominable crime and clearly reaffirms that he is innocent of what he is being accused of. I know Cristiano well and I fully believe he would not commit a crime like that.”

How nice for Ronaldo for people to believe him because he works hard and people are familiar with his persona. And while Nike and EA Games, two of Ronaldo’s major corporate sponsors, are “concerned” with the allegations, it is not enough to have them pull their money away—even though Ronaldo allegedly used sponsorship money to settle with Mayorga in 2009. The reluctance to cut ties with a powerful athlete underlines that the dignity of a woman is not worth sacrificing profits from soccer cleats.

#MeToo has yet to be championed the way that alleged rapists are.

Sports – TIME

ENTERTAINMENT DEAL UPDATE: