New York Atty General Eric Schneiderman (NOW RESIGNED) Accused By Four Women Of Staggering Physical & Violent Abuse

Illustration by Oliver Munday; Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty (man)

Illustration by Oliver Munday; Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty (man)

Updated: Eric Schneiderman, New York's Attorney General, Resigns Amid Abuse Accusations New York Times

In a staggering article written by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker, an explosive report released Monday evening, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York has been accused of nonconsensual physical violence by four women with whom has has had romantic relationships or encounters. 

Two of the four women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, in order to protect other women.

"They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked. Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him."

A third former romantic partner of Schneiderman’s told Manning Barish and Selvaratnam that he also repeatedly subjected her to nonconsensual physical violence, but she told them that she is too frightened of him to come forward. (The New Yorker has independently vetted the accounts that they gave of her allegations.) A fourth woman, an attorney who has held prominent positions in the New York legal community, says that Schneiderman made an advance toward her; when she rebuffed him, he slapped her across the face with such force that it left a mark that lingered the next day. She recalls screaming in surprise and pain, and beginning to cry, and says that she felt frightened. She has asked to remain unidentified, but shared a photograph of the injury with 'The New Yorker'.

In a statement, Schneiderman said, “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

Schneiderman's activism on behalf of feminist causes is legendary, and he has assumed an aggressive position in the investigation of Harvey Weinstein's activities in New York State. 

Guided by the belief that "If a woman cannot control her body, she is not truly equal." Schneiderman has taken a particularly strong stand on behalf of women's reproductive rights. But, as Manning Barish sees it, “you cannot be a champion of women when you are hitting them and choking them in bed, and saying to them, ‘You’re a fucking whore.’ ” She says of Schneiderman’s involvement in the Weinstein investigation, “How can you put a perpetrator in charge of the country’s most important sexual-assault case?” Selvaratnam describes Schneiderman as “a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” figure, and says that seeing him lauded as a supporter of women has made her “feel sick,” adding, “This is a man who has staked his entire career, his personal narrative, on being a champion for women publicly. But he abuses them privately. He needs to be called out.”

This story is long, detailed and a staggering read. In my own case, the night I left my husband, he was choking me because I overcooked the vegetables at dinner. Luckily, guests were present and took me away with them. This superb piece of investigative reporting deals with choking specifically, from the point-of-view of researchers on sexual abuse. It's clear to me that I left my own marriage at a critical time for my own safety.

The outreach for this article to Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow was triggered, not only by the Harvey Weinstein allegations, but also the news around President Trump's deputy Rob Porter, whose honor needs to be restored, according to Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly. -- who believes that the women have exaggerated their claims against Porter.

After Porter’s resignation, Selvaratnam felt more determined than ever to speak out about Schneiderman and the broader issue of intimate-partner violence. As this story was being reported, Manning Barish became aware that there were other victims, and decided that she had three choices: “I can lie. I can be silent, which is being complicit, and a betrayal of the other women. Or I can tell the truth.” She concluded, “I’m choosing No. 3.” Manning Barish is aware of the risks faced by women who take on powerful politicians, and isn’t relishing the prospect of taking on the attorney general. “It’s hard,” she says. “It affects your life, and not in a positive way.”

On the basis of the facts and corroboration by friends, with written documentation in many cases by those who were told about these abuse allegations by the women, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has already asked for Atty General Schneiderman's resignation. In summation, this story is a must read -- not only to detail the torturous allegations against Schneiderman -- but for all the background information around abuse and what happens to women, three of whom perceived themselves to be in love with the attorney general, in trying to convince themselves that the initial abuse was a single event. It should be noted that the initial abuse came in the form of violent, staggering blows to the face and ears, accompanied with degrading assertions that this kind of abuse is what many women secretly seek. ~ Anne