On Friday, Megan Twohey, one of the journalists who broke the story about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged abuse, released an interview she conducted with Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s criminal defense attorney. As the interview came to a close, Twohey asked Rotunno if she had ever been sexually assaulted. Rotunno said she hadn’t, and after an awkward three seconds passed she added, “Because I would never put myself in that position.”

Minutes later — and after a baffling back and forth — Twohey asked Weinstein’s attorney if the “burden of safety” should lie with the victim of abuse or the abuser. Rotunno’s response? “I think it should rest equally.”

Rotunno’s comments — which may give insight into how she will defend Weinstein — certainly exhibit a not-uncommon view: that victims of sexual abuse are somehow responsible for the abuse they suffer. “She had it coming.” “Look at what she’s wearing. She’s asking for it.” “She shouldn’t have been drinking.” Or even, “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet … And when you’re a star, they let you do it …”

Russ Meek

Author, editor, and lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew at Ohio Theological Institute