The newest episode is totally trustworthy about how difficult sexual assault instances are and the way ladies are always pressured to decide on between ourselves, our careers, our livelihoods, and justice.
This essay incorporates spoilers for Brooklyn 9-9 episode 6.eight, in addition to descriptions of sexual assault and harassment
“Brooklyn 9-9” is my favourite copaganda machine. It’s a operating joke amongst followers that probably the most unbelievable factor concerning the present is that it’s filled with genuinely good cops. The newest episode, directed by Stephanie Beatriz who portrays Detective Rosa Diaz, completely demonstrates why we adore it a lot (however nonetheless, ACAB). Not solely is it hilarious, however additionally it is capable of deal with troublesome topic issues in sensible and delicate methods whereas remaining true to itself. In “He Stated, She Stated,” a 38 year-old funding banker named Seth Haggerty is admitted to an area hospital with a damaged penis, the results of a co-worker putting him with a golf membership when he tried to sexually assault her in his workplace. Detectives Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta are placed on the case.
Not one of the characters are introduced within the ways in which we’re used to seeing from individuals in these situations in exhibits like “Regulation & Order: SVU.” Haggerty is a pathetic embarrassment from the second we see him and the narrative doesn’t deal with him as somebody deserving of our respect or sympathy in any respect. His model of the story is that he was providing his assist to Keri Brennan, giving her some “tips about her trades” as a result of he simply didn’t need her to “chump it,” in fact. Then, out of nowhere, Keri “simply flipped out” and hit him. When the Detectives ask him why she did it, he tells them, “As a result of she’s loopy… I do know we’re not imagined to say that about ladies, and I often wouldn’t go there as a result of I’m an enormous advocate. I imply, I’m the type of man who thinks Katherine Bigelow ought to direct the subsequent “Star Wars.” I’ve stated that out loud. To different males.”
Once we meet Keri Brennan, she is the antithesis of what Haggerty would really like us to consider. Wearing a well-tailored go well with, she appears high-powered and assured. Her enterprise acumen is clear, together with her having garnered the agency $168 million dollars the earlier yr. Keri is rattling good at her job and positively didn’t require any assist from Haggerty. She is articulate and easy in her solutions to questions all through her complete interview, relaying what transpired with conviction. Haggerty referred to as her into his workplace, evidently drunk, pushed her onto his desk and tried to take off her garments, and she or he defended herself.
Santiago encourages her to file costs and warns that will probably be a troublesome course of, however Keri receives a suggestion from the agency and not needs to pursue the case. If she indicators a non-disclosure settlement, the agency can pay her $2.5 million. It’s hush cash, and everybody within the room is aware of it. From this level, the episode paints a transparent image of how misogyny, capitalism, and the cult of defending and enabling serial sexual predators all contribute to the complexity of sexual assault instances. Keri is aware of what the street forward seems like if she decides to press fees, particularly in a “he stated, she stated” state of affairs with no bodily proof. A conviction is extraordinarily unlikely. “The system is as damaged as Seth’s dong,” she laments. And she or he’s proper. However Santiago is relentlessly optimistic and convinces her to provide them an opportunity to seek out proof.
Diaz presents yet one more perspective. Since they haven’t any bodily proof of the sexual assault, if Keri does press costs, it’s doubtless that nothing will ever come of it. If she takes the $2.5 million supply from the agency, at the very least then she gained’t stroll away empty-handed. “I’m a feminist, however I’m additionally a realist,” she says. “Let’s simply say, greatest case state of affairs, you do discover proof. She’s nonetheless gonna need to undergo a really public trial the place they drag her identify by means of the mud. Even when she wins, she nonetheless loses. It’s two steps ahead, one step again.” And she or he’s proper.
Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Keri Brennan (Briga Heelan) / Picture by way of NBC
“However when one individual comes ahead, it evokes others to talk up,” Santiago responds. “And that’s a hell of quite a bit higher than taking a deal that permit’s sexual predators stroll free.” And she or he’s proper. Keri’s profession, her life, her public popularity, her psychological and emotional well-being will all be impacted by this example. Not solely does she now should reside with the trauma of getting skilled a sexual assault and defending herself from it, however she now has to cope with different individuals’s responses to the assault, and the way she is handled will rely upon whether or not or not she decides to pursue costs.
Santiago and Peralta go to the agency to query her co-workers, however everybody repeats the identical rehearsed line: “Seth is a superb man and that is a particularly skilled office.” When the agency’s lawyer finds out that she spoke to the police, the supply of $2.5 million is nullified they usually as an alternative transfer to fireside Keri for violent conduct. Santiago is devastated by this and, in fact, feels responsible. If she hadn’t pushed Keri to allow them to examine, she would nonetheless have the job she loves.
In a second of vulnerability, she reveals to Peralta that she was sexually harassed by her former captain at her earlier precinct, and that the incident had made her insecure about her personal capabilities as a detective. “Once I lastly made detective, he took me to dinner and tried to kiss me. He stated he felt like he deserved one thing in return for my profession.” All through the episode, Peralta embodies the “male ally” who, regardless that he’s conscious of and acknowledges sexism and misogyny, is regularly shocked and bewildered to study of the various methods these techniques influence ladies’s day by day lives. “Each time I feel I perceive how dangerous it’s, it’s simply method worse than I imagined,” he tells her. Santiago admits that she spent a very long time questioning whether or not or not she really deserved the promotion or if she had solely been given it as a result of her boss was plotting to sleep together with her. Even worse, she feared that she won’t obtain any additional promotions if she spoke up about it to anybody, so she simply remained silent years. “This type of stuff has occurred to actually each lady I do know,” she tells him. “I simply needed to assist make it higher for this one lady.” This case with Keri and Haggerty feels private, as a result of each sexual assault case feels private.
Ultimately, one in every of Keri’s co-workers comes ahead with proof as Santiago and Peralta proceed to work the case. A person named Steve exhibits them an extended group textual content chain with a number of the males within the workplace, during which Haggerty confesses to the assault in precisely the best way Keri described it. However Steve doesn’t do that as a result of he needs to convey a sexual predator to justice, he does it as a result of he’s subsequent in line for Haggerty’s job. Had it not been useful to him and his profession, he by no means would have come ahead with the proof, persevering with to guard a harmful and dishonest man.
However, it’s a win for Santiago, and Keri, and all the ladies they characterize. A person dedicated a sexual assault then tried to discredit a lady by counting on misogynistic tropes about victims who come ahead being “loopy” and unhinged, however he gained’t get away with it. A cheerful ending is coming, or so it might appear. When Peralta and Santiago go to Keri at her workplace to examine in and let her know that the DA shall be urgent fees, they’re stunned to seek out her packing as much as depart. She needed to give up. “The entire environment right here has modified. Everybody appears at me like I’m both a sufferer or a traitor.” She’s being deliberately overlooked of non-working associated features and communications together with her co-workers as a result of everyone seems to be uncomfortable together with her presence, and she or he understands which means she will even be remoted from work-related features and communications. Although she was assaulted and was capable of show it, her profession at this agency will nonetheless endure. So, she needed to give up.
Regardless that Keri makes it clear that she doesn’t remorse urgent expenses, or breaking Haggerty’s penis, Santiago continues to be displeased with how issues turned out. It’s not truthful that Keri needed to give up the job that she beloved and was phenomenal at, all as a result of a person determined to assault her and she or he stood up for herself. Again on the precinct, Diaz provides her congratulations, however Santiago refuses it. She doesn’t really feel that she deserves it, however Diaz insists in any other case. One of many co-workers they beforehand interviewed has now come ahead to report a sexual assault as a result of she was impressed by Keri’s boldness. “Two steps ahead, one step again continues to be one step ahead,” Diaz says. And she or he’s proper.
This episode is among the solely occasions I’ve seen sexual assault and serial harassment addressed on this approach. It’s utterly trustworthy about how difficult sexual assault instances are and the way ladies are continuously pressured to decide on between ourselves, our careers, our livelihoods, and justice. Keri Brennan’s story is way too widespread, as is Santiago’s, and despite the fact that neither of them got here away from their ordeals with the whole lot set proper, these are nonetheless two greatest case situations. Santiago received to maintain her job and switch to a greater precinct the place she felt safer and extra valued, however her former captain was by no means uncovered for his predatory conduct. Keri needed to give up her job, however her assaulter had fees introduced towards him. A few of us come out on the opposite aspect with no win in any respect. “He Stated, She Stated” lays out why that’s in a simplistic method and solutions the query that inevitably arises when these instances go public: “Why didn’t she come ahead sooner?”
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