It’s hard to understand why a woman would defend someone who has allegedly sexually assaulted over 80 women. How can she be a feminist? And how can we as feminists support her? I don’t know. But I do know that in some crooked way, I admire her.
For my whole life, I have known that I want to be lawyer. It has never changed, and even as college gets progressively more challenging through the years, I’m not scared of law school. I welcome the challenge, and I’m excited to conquer it. But even now, I know I’m going to face challenges getting into law school, and after I graduate. I’m going to be competing against misogynistic, white men who dominate the law field. As a mixed race woman, this upsets me. I will probably have to work in a law office as an errand girl, or take cases other lawyers don’t want. I might even get sexually harassed, or my biggest fear might come true – not being taken seriously as a lawyer. Donna Rotunno is the first lawyer I found who gives me hope that that this doesn’t have to be the case. She is a woman in a mans world, and she’s surpassing them.
I’m sure most, if not all of you, have heard of Harvey Weinstein. Just Yesterday he was found guilty of 2 of the 5 charges against him. This is a big victory for the #metoo movement and it’s a better outcome than what the prosecution originally had hoped for. However, his lawyers are appealing the judges decision. Through all of this Weinstein has gone through multiple lawyers, but the only one that’s done any good at their job is Donna Rotunno. She is a Chicago based lawyer who specializes in defending men who have been accused of rape. I know, I was shocked too. I read up on her and found some articles and interviews where she defended her feminist stance, and has called herself the the “Ultimate feminist.” She defends men, yes. However, these men have to answer to her, follow her rules, and she literally has their life in her hands.
She is a “type” of role model for me. She is only 44 years old, she wasn’t rich growing up, she didn’t go to some prestigious boarding school, and she is full blood Italian. Of the 40 sex crimes cases she tried, she only lost one. That’s an amazing feat, especially as a woman, and ESPECIALLY as a woman defending a man to a jury of people who are thinking the same things we are- “Why is she defending this man?” Whenever asked this question, Rotunna immediately shoots back with “Why Not?” I respect this answer so much. With due process, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. As an aspiring lawyer, this is the most important code to follow. I know that in the era of the #metoo movement, it’s so important to ensure that every woman is heard. Their experiences and stories are vital to moving in the right direction and this one win is only the beginning. In an interview, with insider Rotunno stated, “Our justice system has decided that just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true. There is this notion of people saying ‘this is my truth.’ Well, there’s no such thing. There’s no such thing as your truth or my truth. There’s the truth. And my job is to get to whatever it is.” This is what being a lawyer is about- the truth.
I love following a badass woman, and Rotunno is definitely that. No matter your stance on the issue, or your opinion of Donna Rotunno and what she’s doing, she’s an accomplished woman in a field that steps all over women. Thats something to feel good about. She’s doing what no other man could, and she’s doing it 100x better than they did. So, how do we support a woman who is defending a man that has done such awful things? It’s hard to answer that. The whole situation is very touchy and controversial. But I do respect her, not for what she does and who she does it for, but because she does it so well.