On Hillary Clinton and Sexual Assault
Recently, there has been much discussion of sexual assault on college campuses across the United States. Posts about Brock Turner and the Stanford Rape Case have flooded my Facebook, Twitter, and Medium feeds. Additionally, the recent events in the Democratic Primary have marked what many would consider a historic moment — the nomination of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. What I have found, however, is that the same people that have been championing a reformative and progressive approach towards sexual assault are also ready to endorse Clinton. This is problematic.
Long before Clinton served as a Senator or even Secretary of State, she was a lawyer in Arkansas. I would like to delve into one of her cases — State of Arkansas v. Thomas Alfred Taylor. Clinton (then Hillary Rodham but referred to as Clinton in this post for the sake of continuity) was the defense attorney in the case, which involved allegations of Taylor raping a 12 year old girl. As I browsed through the court filings from that case, one motion submitted by Clinton seemed troubling.
Yes, Clinton engaged in what many would call “victim-blaming.” As the filing above shows, Clinton alleged that the victim was making up the allegations, and suggested that the victim (who is unnamed in the filings because she was a minor) fetishizes sleeping with older men. Because of this (in addition to other allegations Clinton makes about the victim), Clinton wants the child to go through a psychiatric evaluation. This seems wrong. Victims of sexual assault do not need to go through more trauma brought forth by such evaluations, and especially not a 12 year old. I proudly consider myself a feminist, and the sentiments expressed in the filings above are not very feminist of Clinton. So here is a question to Clinton supporters who consider themselves feminists: how do you reconcile this? Are the sentiments expressed by the candidate you wish to support compatible with what you see in the filings above? Moreover, what if Brock Turner’s attorney filed a similar request?
T. A. Anthony