John covered the light speed crash and burn of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman yesterday and it was truly something to behold. He probably holds the record for shortest time between revelation and resignation, coming in at under five hours. While Schneiderman continues to proclaim his innocence (it was all “role-playing and other consensual sexual activity” in his version of events) the details of some of his bedroom adventures with girlfriends are starting to spill out. The New York Post has an interview with Tanya Selvaratnam, a Sri Lankan social activist and writer who was in a relationship with the former Attorney General for approximately a year. (The names of sexual assault victims are not generally published, but Ms. Selvaratnam has voluntarily come forward.)
Assuming her allegations are true (and it’s tough to imagine why anyone would go public with such a horrible story if it weren’t), Schneiderman’s habits went far beyond roleplaying, were non-consensual and ran into some shockingly dark behavior. Here are only a few examples from the interview.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called his Sri Lankan girlfriend his “brown slave” and wanted her to refer to him as “Master,” the woman says.
Harvard-educated activist writer Tanya Selvaratnam told the New Yorker magazine that her yearlong affair with Schneiderman “was a fairytale that became a nightmare” — and quickly escalated into violence in the bedroom, even as he begged for threesomes.
“Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did,” Selvaratnam said.
“He started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’” Selvaratnam said, “The slaps started after we’d gotten to know each other.
Her story seems to follow a pattern common among serial abusers, starting out relatively benign and then slowly devolving into physical torture including slapping her in the face, choking her and spitting on her. These episodes were also fueled by excessive, blackout binge drinking. This is a description which sounds more like a guy looking for a sex slave than a wife.
Some might wonder why the four women, including Selvaratnam, didn’t speak out sooner or go to the police. As the Daily Beast noted, the AG was quick to inform his alleged victims that he was the law and they would quickly come to regret it if they went public. It’s hard enough for women in abusive relationships to speak out against their abusers even if they’re married to or dating some random construction worker or accountant. When your “boyfriend” is the top cop in the state and controls most of the law enforcement structure, that’s got to be an even more frightening situation.
It’s still important to note that all of these allegations are still precisely that. Schneiderman continues to claim that he did nothing wrong and it was all consensual roleplaying, so he has to be given his day in court (or at least the Court of Public Opinion if no charges are brought) before we can be 100% certain.