Substance abuse, promiscuity, but what about sexual assault?

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, September 11, 2008 22:30 EDT
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I wrote about the DOI scandals yesterday—the graft, the cocaine, the sex that I hoped would make it hook into the public consciousness—but was not aware of something in the report that certainly ranks above mere screwing around and doing drugs in terms of awful. Lindsay, intrepid digger-up-of-shit that she is, totally found it. There wasn’t just “promiscuity” going on—there was sexual assault. From the Inspector General’s report, as quoted by Lindsay:

We interviewed yet another [Royalty In Kind program] employee who stated that in approximately 2005, Smith “insisted” that she ride in his car from one business establishment to another, and she agreed.

This employee stated that Smith “took the long way” between the two businesses, and during the drive he asked to go to her nearby home, but she refused. “He wanted to have sex; I said no,” she recalled. Smith then asked if she would have oral sex with him, but she told him she did not want to. She said that Smith “basically forced [her] head into his lap,” and she performed oral sex on him as he drove the car slowly. She said Smith was “real persistent” but not violent, and she did not feel as though she had been sexually assaulted by Smith. She stated that it was difficult for her to have sex with Smith because he supervised her and RIK program, but she “felt like [she] could get fired,” so she did what Smith wanted. She said she was “scared” that if she didn’t do what Smith wanted her to do, it could affect her employment. She said this was the only time she ever had sex with Smith.

Kudos to Lindsay for the find. I should have had a red flag go up. I thought it was weird when I read the NY Times story that Smith had multiple sexual relationships going on, including one with a subordinate who was selling him drugs who also had a boyfriend. Not that it’s impossible for this to happen, just that it should have raised a red flag. Someone who floats on a sea of entitlement like this is someone to be wary of. Not that it’s like a certain sign of guilt, but just a sign that you should look into things deeper. Which Lindsay did and found, sadly, that we can add “sexual assault” to the growing list of offenses.

The victim doesn’t really see what happened to her as sexual assault, and frankly, it’s hard to blame her for not going there. Justice would be impossible to get if she did pursue charges, of course. The “promiscuity” and drug use that clings to this story is going to make anyone attached look like a decadent slut who Had It Coming. And of course, a lot of people don’t recognize that stranding someone away from safety, shoving her head in your lap, and letting the threat of loss of employment guide her actions is oral rape.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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