Liz rides the subway is a series containing thoughts I have on the subway, mostly as an experiment to get me to write more. The ride home after yet another day hearing someone famous has been abusing a woman in his life:
Content warning: abuse, rape
Johnny Depp has allegedly been abusing Amber Heard, and a judge granted Amber Heard's restraining order against him on Friday in light of her claims of repeated physical and verbal abuse. Of course, an army (of mostly men) has been saying (very loudly) that we don't know that he abused her and that we have to give him the benefit of the doubt since obviously he's innocent until proven guilty.
"Innocent until proven guilty" is an insidious phrase people toss around to give cover to abusers all the time. We dodge the possibility that a celebrity harmed a woman by blaming it on the legal system. But as Kate Harding writes in response to the accusations against Jian Ghomeshi of sexual violence, "innocent until proven guilty" has a very specific legal meaning that has nothing to do with this:
I shouldn't need to say this, but I will: Taking reports of sexual violence seriously doesn't mean denying anyone due process or chasing the accused down with pitchforks. I'm not talking about punishing people at all right now; I'm talking about forming educated opinions, by weighing up what evidence we've been allowed to see and deciding what we think of it all. We do this every day when we take in the news, except when the news is about rape, in which case we act like "innocent until proven guilty" means no one - preferably not even investigators and prosecutors - may legally suspect that the guy might actually have done it.
Let me tell you a wonderful secret about the U.S. and Canada: If you're not on a jury, you are allowed to hold any opinion you like of an accused criminal's guilt or innocence, regardless of whether he's been prosecuted and/or what the prosecution can prove! You are not required to wait until some vague future date when "all the evidence" has come in, nor to withhold judgment until a jury has decided the matter, nor even to accept that a jury verdict is necessarily correct! So far, there are no actual thought police - isn't that terrific news?
That is terrific news!
Now, if we could also use our newly acquired abilities to evaluate the evidence of abusers and rapists within our own social circles - the evidence that is right in front of us - we could make life a whole lot better for the survivors we know, too.
Liz rides the subway is a series containing thoughts I have on the subway, mostly as an experiment to get me to write more. Today was the first time I was street harassed on my commute since moving in November... memories relived on the following train ride:
I was walking through the last aisles of the grocery store to find the last item on my list, almond butter. Since I rarely buy anything but produce and dairy at Brooklyn Fare, I forgot exactly which aisle the almond butter was in and ended up going down the wrong one.
I turned the corner to the next one when a man called out to me, "Damn, looking good today, honey." I ignored the "compliment" and kept walking.
But he didn't leave me alone. He turned around to follow me and asked, "Why are you being so rude to me? I just wanted to talk to you, need to get your number."
"I'm not interested." I upped my pace, stared at the floor in front of me as I moved, and decided to forget about the almond butter - I was no more than thirty feet from the tail of the checkout line where other people would be around.
He followed, raised his voice, "You're such a prude bitch." as I was just near the end of the line. People stared. At first it looked like it was at both him and me, but in a few seconds, everyone was looking at me. No one said a word - were they waiting for me to? I stood mortified at the end of the line, hoping it would move faster than putting all my groceries back would, forgetting that dropping my basket and just leaving could be an option, hoping everyone would forget what just happened, hoping to disappear. My head hung down, and the man went the other way, presumably back to whatever grocery shopping he was doing.
I exited the 2 train through the doors closest to the eastern exit at Hoyt St, walked out the turnstile before anyone else, and started up the stairs to Elm and the south side of Fulton. There are two stories of stairs - the lower story is twice as wide as the top, so during rush hour, it's a massive bottleneck.
I wasn't looking too far in front of me, just far enough to know I wouldn't run into someone. When I was two steps from the middle, right where bottlenecks would happen, a man blocked my path - one hand on the rail to my left in the middle of these stairs, the other on the rail to my right on the wall.
I clicked my headphones to pause the music I was listening to, "Yes Anastasia" by Tori Amos. "Excuse me," I spoke sternly.
He didn't move. "Hey baby," he said. He might have said more. I wouldn't know because I clicked my headphones to restart my music while hurrying down the stairs. I swiped back into the station and walked quickly down the platform to get to the other exit.
I'm just outside my building on my way to the F train. The light is in my favor, there aren't any cars still in the intersection, so I begin to cross Livingston St. About half a block down, a white SUV rolls down the road.
I'm about 150 feet directly in front of the car, and it starts honking. Somehow my instinct is to turn left at it instead of scurrying the rest of the way across the light.
"The fuck are you doing? I have the light!"
The car's pretty close now. I can see the driver. It's definitely slowing down.
"Mmm, lookin' good, lady! Can I take you out sometime?" He knew I had the right of way all along, just he thought scaring the crap out of a pedestrian headed across the street was a risk worth taking for a date.
"No, asshole." Realizing I didn't have brain enough to bite my tongue, I finally get that jolt to run the rest of the way across the intersection.
Liz rides the subway is a series containing thoughts I have on the subway, mostly as an experiment to get me to write more. Today's ride home from choir practice:
Former Citigroup CFO Sallie Krawcheck launched Ellevest yesterday. Ellevest differs from other investment platforms because it focuses on women's investment needs:
Women, for example, need a platform that takes into account not only her earnings, but also her salary arc - which is different from men's. It needs to account for the fact that women live longer than men, on average, when planning for retirement. It needs to understand the salary differentials between a womans pay and her male counterpart's pay and how that impacts her strategies.
Matt Levine counters:
People overrate the importance of an adviser who understands an investor's unique needs, because what all investors need is as much money as possible without losing any. (The financial solution to the loss of income from taking time off to raise children is to have more money, but that is the financial solution to every problem.)
Levine's response tricks you by letting you take “without losing any [money]” completely for granted, but investments aren't risk free. Ultimately, the risk you're willing to take on is influenced by how much money you have to invest - which is largely influenced by your earnings and career arc - and how much you cannot afford to lose - which is closely tied to how many more years you need to be able to support yourself. Seems to me that Krawcheck has a point, whether or not Ellevest is the solution.