Eric Schneiderman da han fremsto som #metoo-bevegelsens representant. Foto: Brendan McDermid/Reuters/Scanpix
Rekken av sex-skandaler i USA har hatt en rekyl-effekt: Bill Clinton fremstår ikke lenger som en sex-sugen som ikke klarte å motstå fristelser. Nå har rekken av overgrep endelig kommet frem. Den viser at Clinton har foregrepet seg på og angrepet kvinner helt siden han var guvernør i Arkansas.
Langsomt synker denne erkjennelsen inn. Han oppførte seg som et svin. Bak den pene fasaden.
Tirsdag sprang en tilsvarende bombe: Statsadvokaten i New Yor, Eric Schneiderman, har oppført seg voldelig mot fire kvinner som forklarer seg i detalj til the New Yorker. Når man leser storyen så er man ikke i tvil: Dette har skjedd.
Det tok tre timer så hadde Schneiderman gått av. Han bestred anklagene, men gikk av.
Schneiederman hadde ikke bare en høy stilling. Han var også politisk meget profilert: Han tilhørte Demokratene og bekjempet Trump både som statsadvokat og politiker. Han har forsøkt å anmelde Trump 100 ganger.
Likevel presterer NTB og Ritzau å gi en relativt fyldig omtale av saken, uten å nevne hans politiske tilknytning.
Det som gjør saken enda verre for det liberale USA er at Schneiderman har vært en av talspersonene for #metoo-bevegelsen. I februar gikk han voldsomt ut mot Harvey Weinstein og ville føre sak mot ham for en oppførsel som var uten sidestykke.
Nå viser det seg at han har oppført seg på akkurat samme måte som Weinstein: Han har seksuelt ydmyket kvinnene og slått dem.
I begge tilfeleller dreier det seg om kvinner fra liberale yrker som havner i samvitthetskonfllikt: Miljøet de ferdes i er liberalt og pro-toleranse. Men skal man tolerere å bli slått så hardt i ansiktet at man har merker og får blodutredelse?
Samtidig er det å finne seg i dette noe skambelagt. Kvinnene tier. Hvordan kan de forene dette å være feminister med å være kjærest med en voldelig mann, som attpåtil er en av New Yorks mest profilerte personer?
Kvinnene betror seg til venninner. Noen av dem sier: Kom deg ut av forholdet. Andre sier: Du må ikke snakke høyt om det, da det vil gavne høyresiden.
Men for fire av dem er dette uholdbart og to står frem med navn. De klarer ikke leve med tanken på at andre kvinner skal oppleve noe lignende.
Schneiderman var ille. Hvordan et menneske utad kan være en liberal statsadvokat og privat drikke altfor mye og forsøke å få kvinnene til å like vold, er vanskelig å forene.
Schneiderman utgjør en psykologisk gåte.
Last month, when the Times and this magazine were awarded a joint Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sexual harassment, Schneiderman issued a congratulatory tweet, praising “the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.” Without these women, he noted, “there would not be the critical national reckoning under way.”
Hvordan kunne han hylle avsløringen av menn når han oppførte seg på samme måte selv?
Det forunderlige med Weinstein og Schneiderman var at de begikk overgrep mot så mange og utad så sterke kvinner, at de måtte vite at de løp en stor risiko.
Den fjerde kvinnen New Yorker snakket med, en kvinne som ikke ville stå frem, hadde en høy posisjon i rettsvesenet i New York.
A fourth woman, an attorney who has held prominent positions in the New York legal community, says that Schneiderman made an advance toward her; when she rebuffed him, he slapped her across the face with such force that it left a mark that lingered the next day. She recalls screaming in surprise and pain, and beginning to cry, and says that she felt frightened. She has asked to remain unidentified, but shared a photograph of the injury with The New Yorker.
De to som står frem under fullt navn er Manning Barish og Tanya Selvaratnam. Bare ved å gi historiene et personlig ansikt ville de bli trodd.
Manning Barish was romantically involved with Schneiderman from the summer of 2013 until New Year’s Day in 2015. Selvaratnam was with him from the summer of 2016 until the fall of 2017. Both are articulate, progressive Democratic feminists in their forties who live in Manhattan.
Dette er kvinner som kunne gå inn i en Woody Allen-film. Dedikerte liberale og et rovdyr som Schneiderman må ha visst at de ville tåle mye, fordi han var en av dem, og ikke bare det, en av de fremste. Det ga ham et spillerom som en annen mann, en konservativ, ikke ville hatt.
«Double-think», evnen til å si en ting og gjøre noe helt annet, er ikke noe som bare gjelder Schneiderman. Han er et ekstremt eksempel på noe som lenge har plaget venstresiden. Så sent som 1. mai fikk han en pris for å være pro-choice, dvs forkjemper for abort, og fikk seg da til å si:
On May 1st, the New York-based National Institute for Reproductive Health honored him as one of three “Champions of Choice” at its annual fund-raising luncheon. Accepting the award, Schneiderman said, “If a woman cannot control her body, she is not truly equal.”
Men kontroll over egen kropp var noe Schneiderman ikke respekterte.
Manning Barish møtte Schneiderman i juli 2013. Han hadde steget raskt i gradene i det Demokratiske partiet etter at han ble utvnevnt til statsadvokat i New York i 2010. Begge var skilt, men Schneidermans kone fungerte fortsatt som hans politiske rådgiver og hun benektet anklagene mot eks-mannen.
About four weeks after they became physically involved, she says, Schneiderman grew violent. One night, they were in the bedroom of his Upper West Side apartment, still clothed but getting ready for bed, and lightly baiting each other. As she recalls it, he called her “a whore,” and she talked back. They had both been drinking, and her recollection of their conversation is blurry, but what happened next remains vivid. Schneiderman, she says, backed her up to the edge of his bed. “All of a sudden, he just slapped me, open-handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear,” Manning Barish says. “It was horrendous. It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up, but at this point there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”
She finally freed herself and got back on her feet. “I was crying and in shock,” she says. She recalls shouting, “Are you crazy?” To her astonishment, Schneiderman accused her of scratching him. At one point—she can’t remember if it was at this moment or in a later conversation—he told her, “You know, hitting an officer of the law is a felony.”
Det var bare begynnelsen. Hvordan kunne hun gå tilbake til ham? Det tok tid. En dag dukket Schneiderman opp på døren hennes med armene fulle av blomster og en god flaske vin. Hun ga etter. Schneiderman ville ikke snakke om det som hadde skjedd.
En dag blødde hun fra øret han hadde slått.
Han kommenterte hele tiden kroppen hennes, i nedverdigende ordelag:
Manning Barish and Schneiderman were together, off and on, for nearly two years. She says that when they had sex he often slapped her across the face without her consent, and that she felt “emotionally battered” by cruel remarks that he made. She says that he criticized how she looked and dressed, and “controlled what I ate.” Manning Barish, who is five feet seven, lost thirty pounds, falling to a hundred and three. In a photograph from the period, she looks emaciated; her hair, she recalls, started to fall out. Nevertheless, he squeezed her legs and called them “chubby.”
Schneiderman var en storforbruker av alkohol:
Manning Barish says that Schneiderman pressed her to consume huge amounts of alcohol. She recalls, “I would come over for dinner. An already half-empty bottle of red wine would be on the counter. He had had a head start. ‘Very stressful day,’ he would say.” Sometimes, if she didn’t drink quickly enough, she says, he would “come to me like a baby who wouldn’t eat its food, and hold the glass to my lips while holding my face, and sweetly but forcefully, like a parent, say, ‘Come on, Mimi, drink, drink, drink,’ and essentially force me—at times actually spilling it down my chin and onto my chest.” Schneiderman, she recalls, “would almost always drink two bottles of wine in a night, then bring a bottle of Scotch into the bedroom. He would get absolutely plastered five nights out of seven.” On one occasion, she recalls, “he literally fell on his face in my kitchen, straight down, like a tree falling.” Another evening, he smashed his leg against an open drawer, cutting it so badly that “there was blood all over the place.” She bandaged it, but the next day she went to his office to change the dressing, because the bleeding hadn’t stopped.
Vi snakker om den øverste påtalemyndighet i New York City. Schneiderman hadde sin egen security detail, livvakter, som så ham på kloss hold. De visste at han kjørte i fylla.
Visse personer klarer å co-eksistere med en normal fasade og asosial oppførsel:
Manning Barish says that Schneiderman also took prescription tranquillizers, and often asked her to refill a prescription that she had for Xanax, so that he could reserve “about half” the pills for himself. (Schneiderman’s spokesperson said that he has “never commandeered anyone’s medications.”) Sometimes in bed, she recalls, he would be “shaking me and grabbing my face” while demanding that she repeat such things as “I’m a little whore.” She says that he also told her, “If you ever left me, I’d kill you.”
En bestemt type liberale mennesker er noe helt annet enn det vi forbinder med liberale, men de viser ikke ulvehammen før du truer deres interesser.
Once, she made an oblique reference to Schneiderman on social media, in connection with a political issue. He called her and, in a tone that she describes as “nasty,” said, “Don’t ever write about me. You don’t want to do that.” Manning Barish says that she took his remarks as a threat, just as she took seriously a comment that he’d once made after she objected to him “yanking” her across a street. She recalls saying to him, “Jaywalking is against the law,” and him responding, “I am the law.” Manning Barish says, “If there is a sentence that sums him up, it’s that.”
Clintons har over lang tid vist samme karakter og for både Bill og Hillary ble det så mye at amerikanerne fikk nok. Selv liberale amerikanere kastet opp ved synet av Hillary, og det var pga noen av de samme karaktertrekk som Schneiderman viste: -Jeg er loven, jeg kan tillate meg hva jeg vil.
Lov mot kvelning
Schneiderman ble valgt til medlem av delstatssenatet i 1998 og satt som senator i 12 år. I denne tiden sørget han for å få vedtatt en lov mot – av alle ting – kvelning!
Schneiderman was elected to the New York State Senate in 1998, and served for twelve years. He wrote many laws, including one that created specific penalties for strangulation. He introduced the bill in 2010, after chairing a committee that investigated domestic-violence charges against the former state senator Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat, who was expelled from the legislature after having been convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. During the hearings, the legislators learned that New York State imposed no specific criminal penalty for choking, even though it is a common prelude to domestic-violence homicides. Not only did Schneiderman’s bill make life-threatening strangulation a grave crime; it also criminalized less serious cases involving “an intent to impede breathing” as misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison. “I’m just sorry it took us so long in New York State to do this,” Schneiderman declared at the time. “I think this will save a lot of lives.”
En kvinnemishandler som får vedtatt lover mot kvelning!
Tanya Salvarnatam opplevde mye av det samme som Marisha Banning, men hun fikk også gjennomgå fordi hun var fra Asia. Schneiderman ville bli kalt Master.
When Schneiderman was violent, he often made sexual demands. “He was obsessed with having a threesome, and said it was my job to find a woman,” she says. “He said he’d have nothing to look forward to if I didn’t, and would hit me until I agreed.” (She had no intention of having a threesome.) She recalls, “Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.” Selvaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, has dark skin, and she recalls that “he started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’ ”
Schneiderman hadde posisjonert seg for en Clinton-seier. Han var overbevist om at han kom til å spille en viktig rolle. Resultatet ga ham sjokk.
His emotional state seemed to worsen after the 2016 Presidential election. He had counted on forging an ambitious partnership with a White House led by Hillary Clinton. Instead, the Presidency had gone to Donald Trump. Earlier, Schneiderman’s office had sued Trump University for civil fraud, and Trump had countersued Schneiderman personally.
#metoo ble en sjanse til å komme tilbake i salen og finne seg en ny plattform.
In February, four months after the first stories about Weinstein broke, Schneiderman announced that his office was filing a civil-rights suit against him. At a press conference, he denounced Weinstein, saying, “We have never seen anything as despicable as what we’ve seen right here.”
Det var dette som fikk dråpen til å renne over for kvinnen Schneiderman hadde mishandlet. De forsto at de måtte stå frem, ellers ville ikke det de hadde gjennomgått ha noen mening. Da ville verdens Weinsteiner og Schneiderman vinne.
Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse
Eric Schneiderman has raised his profile as a voice against sexual misconduct. Now, after suing Harvey Weinstein, he faces a #MeToo reckoning of his own.
By Jane Mayer and Ronan FarrowMay 7, 2018