Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Even If S/He WAS Drunk...

There would be no excuse or reason for him/her to be raped.

This morning I caught a little bit of the network stories on the
Duke/Lacrosse Team rape investigation. And I'm still surprised that in 2006, journalists and people in general, still try to find ways to excuse or justify the act of rape and sexual assault. And I'm even further surprised that a woman journalist posed the questions that aimed toward damaging the credibility of the alleged victim.

Not taking any sides in this specific case. I was not there. Don't know the folks involved. But in general, we live in a society that blames victims and alleged victims of sexual assault, all the while taking a blind eye to sexism, heterosexism, and male privilege that contribute to the culture and act of sexual assault. People will use all sorts of excuses to discredit sexual assault allegations:

"S/he was drunk"
"S/he wore clothes that were seductive"
"S/he works as an exotic dancer"

"S/he got around. Everybody knew."
"S/he started and then got cold feet"
"S/he knew what s/he was getting into"

And what? And what? No excuse.

Anyway, I haven't been keeping up completely on the story. Just hearing bits and pieces when I'm near a television. But a couple things pop into my mind:

1. Journalists really don't see themselves as teachers or as having the ability to shape/change the way people think. Otherwise, the journalist I watched this morning wouldn't have even gone that route in her questions to the alleged victim's family members. I think some give and take has to be considered in the whole "balanced" thing -- balance doesn't mean take opposing sides of an issue and leave people with their previous perceptions and ways of thinking. To me, "balanced" means taking your responsibility to influence people's thoughts. But if you don't learn to critically think in Journalism School, then you won't have the ability to help others critically think.

2. Parents don't always know their kids. I've worked with students from junior high school age through university age. Dealt with and had to decide on a number of school disciplinary issues. Students, when away from their parents, sometimes put on a different face and personality. And it's a side the school/administrators see but the parents don't. Junior and Princess may be nice, innocent, God-fearing people at home. But away from home can, and might, show the complete opposite behaviors and characteristics. And having worked with college students of privileged backgrounds, I know the lengths those parents will go to dis-prove ANYthing you allege or say about their kid. Bribes. Threats. Calling the university president. Getting so angry and wanting to use a racial slur against you, but know they shouldn't. It's interesting.

Anyway, many colleges and universities will be holding Take Back The Night events. These events provide an opportunity for students, staff, faculty, families, and community to come together to help stop rape, sexual asault and domestic violence. If there's a college campus near you holding an event, stop by and support. Even if you're not a student, you're welcome to attend and provide positive support.

Basic statistics on rape and sexual assault.
Men can stop rape.
Stop Prisoner Rape.
Sexual assault and LGBT community.


Anonymous said...

One evening I got a call from a friend of mine and he did'nt sound like himself. When I asked him what was wrong. He told me he had a date that went kind of bad. He met this guy on adam4adam. And when things got a little out hand and he ask the guy to stop,he didn't. I ask did he call the police. He didn't want to. He thought being a teacher at a private school may cost him his job. Because the school is kind of conservative. I didn't know how to help him with this situation. And I wonder how many times does this happen in our LGBT community. Maybe the links you've provided will help aid others when faced with such an ordeal.

Thanks Fred for shedding light on this sensitive subject and giving us links for support.

Kevin C

thelastnoel said...

And today is "Denim Day," rape prevention day.