Hilltop Views

Actress Ashley Judd sheds light on yet another aspect of rape culture

Ashley+Judd+forgave+Weinstein+during+her+interview+on+Good+Morning+America.
Ashley Judd forgave Weinstein during her interview on Good Morning America.

Ashley Judd forgave Weinstein during her interview on Good Morning America.

Ashley Judd forgave Weinstein during her interview on Good Morning America.


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Weinstein is still making headlines, this time with the help of one of his own victims, Ashley Judd. Judd recalled in the New York Times how she met Weinstein in his hotel room for what was supposed to be a business meeting, then soon realized something else was afoot when he opened the door in his bathrobe.

The exposé, released in early October, included the accounts of two other women, and inspired other women attacked by Weinstein to come forward. Since then, many supportive messages for Weinstein have come about, the most recent from Judd herself.

Judd said in her interview with Good Morning America, her first since the exposé, “I love you, and I understand that you are sick and suffering, and there is help for a guy like you, too, and it’s up to you to get that help.”

It’s great that, as a survivor of sexual assault, she has been able to forgive her assailant. Forgiving your abuser or assailant is a sign of having healed from any past trauma.

However, Judd’s statement also has to do with – you guessed it – rape culture. What she said makes Weinstein out to be the victim in the situation, when in all honesty, he isn’t. The real victims are the women whose lives he ruined, the women he manipulated and threatened.

First of all, Weinstein isn’t “sick;” an illness doesn’t make you rape and assault women. This can be linked to the idea that those who are mentally ill are more likely to commit crimes. In the past, mental illness has been used as an excuse to let guilty white men off the hook. We’ve seen this with mass shooters, people guilty of hate crimes and rapists.

However, according to Mental Illness Policy Org, people who have a mental illness are 2.7 times more likely to be the victims of crimes like rape or assault, rather than be the aggressors.

Secondly, the only reason Weinstein’s “suffering” is because Judd and other women decided to speak about their experience, and reveal the truth about what he really is. The price for him not to suffer, as he apparently is now, would be the silence of his victims, a steep price to pay.

There’s a lot more to unpack from Judd’s interview. In all honesty, I can understand why she’s forgiving her assailant. For a lot of people, in order to move on from a traumatic event brought on by another person, forgiving that person can be seen as setting yourself free from any psychological hold they may have on you.

Forgiving your abuser or rapist is not something not a lot of survivors can do, which is also understandable, and it’s not something they should be required to do either.

Forgiveness comes with time and healing, something a lot of victims of sexual assault aren’t able to do. The wounds of rape and assault are deep, and they leave scars, occasionally physical, and almost always psychological. A person’s willingness to free themselves of the trauma brought on by these events is not something that can be judged, but victimizing a rapist is no way to forgive them. It only serves to work against the claims made by other women against Weinstein, and allows him to get away with his actions.

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Actress Ashley Judd sheds light on yet another aspect of rape culture