Nussbaum draws on her own experiences to discuss sexual assault by powerful men. Her main argument has a deeply depressing conclusion, consisting of advice to women:
Law cannot fix this problem. Famous men standardly get away with sexual harms, and for the most part will continue to do so. They know they are above the law, and they are therefore undeterrable. What can society do? Don’t give actors and athletes such glamor and reputational power. But that won’t happen in the real world. What can women do? Don’t be fooled by glamor. Do not date such men, unless you know them very, very well. Do not go to their homes. Never be alone in a room with them. And if you ignore my sage advice and encounter trouble, move on. Do not let your life get hijacked by an almost certainly futile effort at justice. Focus on your own welfare, and in this case that means: forget the law.
She also, in passing, raises an important issue about consent that (as she notes) is very much under-addressed.
Unlike the Cosby women, I certainly intended to consent to intercourse. What I did not consent to was the gruesome, violent, and painful assault that he substituted for intercourse. I remember screaming for help, to no avail, and I remember him saying, “It’s all part of sex.”
I’m inviting discussion of these issues. But I’m also urging people to keep our Be Nice rules even more firmly in mind than usual. These are difficult issues, and ones on which discussions quickly turn nasty. And, somehow, appallingly, a survivor’s testimony seems especially likely to bring out the worst online.