On 15 February, it was announced Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre had reached an out-of-court settlement for the allegations made by Giuffre back in 2019, this comes weeks after the announcement stating the Duke of York would be criminally charged.
It’s no secret Prince Andrew had a friendship with Jeffrey Epstein who reportedly trafficked Giuffre to the royal back in 2001 when she was just 17. Virginia has spent a lot of her adult years fighting for justice, not only for her but for other victims of Epstein and sexual assault. Unfortunately, the power of the rich white man has silenced her yet again.
Back in 2009, Virginia signed a non-prosecution agreement in which she wouldn’t be allowed to sue anyone with connections to Epstein, and this was supposedly the argument for Prince Andrew’s defense team. He is unsurprisingly set to pay her over £10 million as well as donating to her charity ‘Victims Refuse Silence’. But where is this money coming from? There is a lot of concern as to whether it’s taxpayer’s money or not, but even if it isn’t, the settlement will most likely not come directly out of Andrew’s pocket.
Only recently was the prince stripped of his military and royal duties because of this scandal and has kept a fairly low profile since the accusations and after his laughable 2019 BBC Newsnight interview in which he claimed he had “no recollection” of meeting Virginia Giuffre.
After news of the assault and the settlement reached the city of York, many citizens are calling for him to be stripped of his title as the Duke, and rightfully so, he has brought shame upon his family and many others. Unfortunately, this particular scandal follows the framework of most sexual assault cases in which a wealthy man of status pays off the victim, the man with the money becomes untouchable through buying their innocence back via settlements. But if one is truly innocent, why wouldn’t they want to prove that? By settling cases, the accused is basically holding up a very large sign that says “guilty”.
In most instances, once the victim is paid off, the assaulter is forgiven and the entire thing is brushed under the rug, like Judge Brett Kavanaugh who was accused by Dr. Christine Ford, and somehow he managed to become a part of the US Supreme Court after he angrily denied all the claims made by Ford.
90% of adult rape victims are women, and that’s just based on the victims that have reported assault, and people still have the audacity to say “why didn’t she come forward sooner?”, well Prince Andrew’s settlement should answer that question. Sexual assault cases like this are a form of validation for the attacker to assert their power over someone helpless. This is a story we know all too well, and it’s hard to be hopeful about any changes after this outcome.