The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is appalled to learn of the allegations of intimate partner violence, including physical assault and strangulation, against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman by four women. Mr. Schneiderman’s characterization of himself as one of the leading supportive male voices in the #MeToo movement, when he himself is an abuser of women, is rank hypocrisy. He engaged in the same behaviors he decried in others. Despite authoring and shepherding a bill criminalizing strangulation to passage in New York State while serving as a New York State Senator, he strangled his victims. Furthermore, his public statements do not respond to their allegations of emotional and psychological abuse, nor do they address his threats, including death threats and threats to misuse his power as an officer of the law to monitor and to punish them.
Mr. Schneiderman’s statement, “I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross,” minimizes the reported physical abuse, abdicates responsibility for his abusive actions, and paints a picture of two adults engaging in consensual relations. Blaming the assaults on “role-playing and other consensual sexual activity” is a transparent attempt to deny all culpability and to shift blame elsewhere. The words of Michelle Manning Barish, Tanya Selvaratnam and his other unnamed and verified accusers strongly contradicts his narrative.
“What these women have described in their accounts is domestic violence, plain and simple. Physical and sexual abuse often are intertwined as tools to exert power and control by an abuser over the victim. Schneiderman’s attempts to use his position as an office of the law to intimidate his victims and circumvent the law are especially abhorrent,” said Ruth Glenn, President and CEO of NCADV.
We encourage the media and others to call Schneiderman’s behavior what very clearly is: domestic violence. Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. Over 10 million men and women are physically abused by a partner each year. Perpetrators who are physically violent toward their intimate partners are often sexually abusive as well. Intimate partner sexual assault is used to intimidate, control and demean victims of domestic violence, and between 10-14% of women are sexually assaulted by intimate partner during their relationship.