Of Trauma and Power: Celebrity Sexual Misconduct Tribunals

Critical Analysis of Law 6:1 (2019)

18 Pages Posted: 23 May 2019

See all articles by Noa Ben-Asher

Noa Ben-Asher

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Date Written: November 26, 2018

Abstract

In fall 2018, shortly after his nomination to the United States Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault. That same year, Professor Avital Ronell was the subject of a Title IX investigation at New York University (NYU), where she served as chair of the Department of German. Both were harshly scrutinized in the court of public opinion. Within several months of each other, these two individuals, at the peak of their prolific careers, were investigated for sexual misconduct by non-judicial tribunals that would determine their fate. Both scandals appeared in the midst of the #MeToo era, during which two assumptions about sexual misconduct have crystalized. First, it is often presumed that sexual misconduct causes trauma in the abused. Second, power imbalances in the workplace are understood as the context for sexual misconduct. This essay examines how these two trajectories interacted in the Kavanaugh and Ronell tribunals.

Keywords: Judge Brett Kavanaugh; Sexual Harassment, #MeToo, Avital Ronell, Title IX, Trauma, Abuse of Power

Suggested Citation

Ben-Asher, Noa, Of Trauma and Power: Celebrity Sexual Misconduct Tribunals (November 26, 2018). Critical Analysis of Law 6:1 (2019) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3378356 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3378356

Noa Ben-Asher (Contact Author)

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

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