Asia Argento Sex Assault Settlement Shouldn’t Diminish #MeToo Progress, Experts Say

By Peter Sblendorio
New York Daily News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Sarah Lowe, an assistant professor of psychology at Montclair State University says Argento’s complicated situation shouldn’t damage the #MeToo movement as a whole.

New York Daily News

Asia Argento’s settlement of a sexual assault lawsuit should not diminish the strides made by the #MeToo movement, leading psychology experts say.

Argento, who’s been at the forefront of the movement since she came forward last October to accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape, recently reached a $380,000 settlement with her former co-star Jimm Bennett, who claimed she sexually assaulted him when he was a minor, The New York Times reported Sunday.

But Argento’s complicated situation shouldn’t damage the #MeToo movement as a whole, says Sarah Lowe, an assistant professor of psychology at Montclair State University with an expertise on the long-term psychological impact of traumatic events.

“She’s certainly not the only prominent person in the movement,” Lowe told the Daily News. “This does not negate the fact that sexual assault is a problem. I think it just complicates it by showing that sometimes the victims of sexual assault can also be the perpetrators. But it’s wrong regardless.”

Argento, 42, was among the initial wave of actresses who shared their allegations against Weinstein in an expose published last fall by The New Yorker. The Italian actress claimed Weinstein assaulted her in 1997, when she was 21.

Bennett, meanwhile, claims Argento assaulted him in 2013, two months after he turned 17. They had starred together in a movie, “The Heart is Deceitful,” nine years earlier and had reportedly reunited at her Ritz-Carlton hotel room when the alleged assault took place.

Lowe notes Argento’s alleged misconduct sheds light on a troubling power dynamic that sometimes exists in sexual encounters.

“When she was a victim of assault, she was much younger and in a pretty powerless position with her perpetrator, where as in this case she was older. … In (this new) case, despite her being a woman, because of her age and her status at the time, she was in a position of power,” Lowe says.

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