Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney, Donna Rotunno, has never been sexually assaulted because she never put herself in “any vulnerable circumstance,” she told a New York Times podcast that aired Friday.
“I have not [been sexually assaulted]. I would never put myself in that position,” Rotunno told Times reporter Megan Twohey on an episode of The Daily.
Rotunno, who is defending Weinstein in his sexual assault trial in New York, openly victim-blamed women who don’t take the correct “precautions” to avoid rape or assault.
“I’ve always made choices from college-age on, where I never drank too much, I never went home with someone that I didn’t know — I just never put myself in any vulnerable circumstance, ever,” she said.
She added that women “need to be very prepared for the circumstances they put themselves in,” including situations such as going home with someone after a date, she said.
Rotunno suggested that women can be so unclear about “their intentions” that men should ask their partners to sign consent forms before having sex.
“I think men also need to be very clear about their intentions. If I was a man in today’s world, before I was engaging in sexual behavior with any woman, today, I would ask them to sign a consent form,” Rotunno said.
When Twohey asked if Rotunno was being serious, the defense attorney responded that she was being “dead serious.”
“Because how easy is it for two people to engage in behavior and a day later, two days later, five days later, 27 years later — somebody says, ‘You know what, that’s not what that was,’” Rotunno said. “Why not? Take all of the question out of it, make it easier on everybody.”
It’s not uncommon for defense attorneys in high-profile cases to make bold or sometimes bizarre statements. During the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics Olympic doctor who is spending life in prison on child sex abuse charges, defense attorney Shannon Smith told a radio station she believed the hundreds of survivors who came forward were simply confused and weren’t actually abused by Nassar.
Weinstein is facing five felony sexual assault charges, which stem from two separate allegations of rape and assault from former aspiring actress Jessica Mann and a former Weinstein assistant, Miriam Haley. The disgraced film producer has been accused by at least 100 women of sexual misconduct, though many of those charges can not be prosecuted because of statutes of limitations.
The trial, which was expected to last at least six weeks, is moving quicker than expected. A verdict could be handed down by mid-February. If convicted on the most serious charge of predatory sexual assault, Weinstein faces life in prison.
Head over to The Daily to listen to the full conversation.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.