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View From The Voice: Kevin Spacey uses alcohol as excuse for sexual abuse: Spacey comes out as gay under array of sexual abuse accusations

~The Voice, Contributing Writer

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     In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault/harassment scandal, prominent figures and companies across the nation have been thrust into the spotlight with charges leveled against them ranging from verbal harassment to groping to sexual assault. In some cases, such as at FOX News, the allegations and resulting settlements were discovered to have been swept under the rug. In the case of former president George H. W. Bush, it’s been acknowledged that he harassed and put his hands on female staffers in the past, but at 93 years old, it’s unlikely that anything more than an apology should be expected. In another recent case from Hollywood, actor Kevin Spacey is facing multiple allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.  
Instead of a full apology and acknowledgment of his actions, Spacey took a different route and blamed alcohol consumption, although he did note that if it were true that he assaulted actor Anthony Rapp, who was 14 at the time of the alleged assault, then an apology would be owed. We at The Voice not only find this insufficient, but also a total failure in the handling of such a case.

    The alleged assault, and subsequent incidents reported by others who have worked with Spacey, occurred while the actor was reportedly intoxicated. Spacey himself also claims that he was intoxicated and does not remember what happened during any of the incidents reported against him.

     Alcohol, however, is a terrible excuse for any crime, and often is not a viable excuse to be used in court in other cases. If someone is intoxicated, gets behind the wheel of a car and runs someone over, they are still held responsible for hurting that pedestrian and DUI makes those charges worse. If you’ve been drinking and get into an argument with someone who you then assault or murder, you’re still responsible for having committed those crimes because you controlled how intoxicated you became. However, in cases of sex crimes, drinking on the part of the accused is seemingly treated as an excuse, particularly if the perpetrator is a male.  

    There is a stereotype that once intoxicated, men can no longer be expected to control their sexual desires once aroused, and any outcome is something that should have been expected to happen, while if the victim was intoxicated, they either are accused of regretting a consensual act or questioned as to why they had also been drinking. This is nothing new: In the Brock Turner case, the victim was legally allowed to be drinking, but was still blamed for the assault because she was intoxicated, while Turner, who was underage and drunk, was merely “getting some action.” We at The Voice believe this is insulting and disturbing to think about.

     Alcohol is a dangerous substance if not consumed responsibly. The more it is consumed, the more likely a crime is to occur because the ability to reason is being diminished by the consumer. In cases of sexual assault, an estimated 37 percent of assaults are committed by someone who was intoxicated, regardless of whether or not the victim was also consuming alcohol. Intimate partner violence is also much more prevalent in cases where the abuser is drinking: Up to 2/3 of these cases where the violence escalates involve alcohol. In cases of murder, up to 40 percent of those convicted admitted to having consumed alcohol either prior to or during the murder.

      In addition to these violent crimes, alcohol is also responsible for numerous traffic-related convictions, such as DUI or vehicular assault, as well as being a factor in some cases of workplace injuries. It’s even the main driving force in the current BU scandal regarding the students who were abusing a possum. Alcohol should not be used as an excuse for criminal behavior, and Spacey should never have tried to claim it as such.

     As well as claiming that he didn’t remember anything because he was drinking, Spacey also chose this time to come out as someone who has been a closeted gay man for many years, claiming he has been sexually and romantically involved with several men over the course of his life. The timing of his coming out is being received very critically by some prominent LGBT+ individuals in Hollywood.

     Actor George Takei, an outspoken LGBT+ rights activist, has heavily criticized Spacey for choosing to come out while being accused of sexually assaulting or harassing several other men in the business, including male actors as young as 14, like Rapp. Takei’s criticism stems from the concern that Spacey’s actions will be written off as the result of his sexuality, and could be seen as fuel for the still-prevalent stereotype that gay men are sexual predators and pedophiles who are after young males.  

     While we at The Voice support anyone’s right to be out and proud about who they are, we can agree with Takei’s concerns that Spacey’s timing could not have been worse, and comes off as a bit suspicious. The LGBT+ community has struggled to gain footholds in the fight for equality for decades, and something like this could easily derail those efforts. Spacey is a prominent name in Hollywood, and his actions and decisions can tremendously influence the thoughts and behaviors of his fans.

      Spacey had the chance to confess to his crimes and take responsibility for his actions. He had the chance to be the standard for how sexual assault cases should be treated. In particular, this was a chance to show that men are just as vulnerable as women and that sex or alcohol aren’t the problems, and that it’s all a matter of control. Instead, Spacey has done the opposite. We at The Voice only hope that his actions will be met with proper consequences so that there might be some progress in the continuing struggle for equal justice in sexual crimes.

~ The Voice


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View From The Voice: Kevin Spacey uses alcohol as excuse for sexual abuse: Spacey comes out as gay under array of sexual abuse accusations