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Didn’t we already clear this up?

Equally Guilty: Counts for fire, counts for rape…
Image from the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, so I thought – maybe foolishly – that after the discussions of binders of women, the concept of “legitimate” rape, and the whole Republican White House defeat, that maybe we had moved beyond having to classify sexual assault by levels.  That, perhaps, we had decided that any sexual assault was bad, and it didn’t matter who did it or who they did it to.

And then KHOU ruined my morning by their oh-so-specific headline: “HPD: Woman date raped by man she met on Facebook.”

Because, you see, HPD (or KHOU…or both) are now saying that this woman’s rape was, well, it was just “date rape.”  Like, you know, it’s just “a family matter” when it’s incest or domestic violence.

We have all these great little euphemisms to help take away from what actually happens, and to make us feel better.

Because if it’s “just” “date rape,” well, we don’t have to be concerned.  She obviously is part of the problem, right?  She met him on Facebook and then met up with him.  So we can blame her just as much as we can blame him.  Isn’t that the point?  Otherwise, why not be clear?  Why not say, “Woman raped by sexual predator.”  Says the same thing, doesn’t it?  But it takes the blame off the victim…it takes the burden of the meeting off the woman…and it shifts that burden to the truth.  A predator/criminal/whatever you want to call him sexually assaulted another human being.

Language is such a tricky thing, and we can bend it and use it however we want to.  Maybe we should take a time out to examine what we say when we refer to a crime, a criminal, and a victim.  Maybe we shouldn’t come up with these little explain-it-away kinds of phrases that make us feel better but make the victim feel even more victimized.

So, just to clear it up for those who missed it:
Rape is rape.
There is no difference between rape, date rape, legitimate rape, incestuous rape, or any of those other little classifications that we like to put on it to try to shift the locus of blame.

 

 

 

 

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Outrage Switched On

Weigh in… by southernfried, http://morguefile.com/archive/display/93433

Sometimes I wonder just how true Reno 911! is…like when I read this story on KHOU yesterday.

Let’s break it down.  Parents are trying to keep “exclusive authority” over their daughter’s health care decisions.  Here’s the thing; their daughter is 32, but she only has the mental capacity of a 6 year old.  She had been living in a group home in Reno, but 13 weeks ago, “she wandered away” and got pregnant.

Wait, I want to say that again.  She wandered away and got pregnant.

The attorney for the parents, the ones who claim that they should have “exclusive authority” over the woman’s health care decisions, stated that the father of the child hasn’t been identified and that it is “unknown whether the pregnancy resulted from rape or consensual sex.”

Wait, now let’s go over that – it is “unknown whether the pregnancy resulted from rape or consensual sex.”

She has the mind of a six-year-old girl.  How can a six-year-old girl consent to sex?  How can you ask if it was rape or not?  What are the odds she wandered off for a quickie?  I’m thinking that’s not what happened.

So let’s go back to this.  A woman with the mind of a six-year-old girl manages to wander away from a home and comes back pregnant.  I would think that would be the focus of the parents.  But, nope, I’m wrong.

The parents, you see, are upset because the doctors are recommending that the woman has an abortion because she is not mentally or physically capable of having the child.  In addition to her mental disabilities, she also has physical issues, including epilepsy.  She does not understand the pregnancy (again, so how the hell can you even question if it was rape or not??), and she would be in physical danger if she went off her epilepsy drugs because of her physical issues.

I’m not even going to argue the abortion point here.  That is, I think, irrelevant to the real issue here.  The real issue is that this was a rape.  Plain and simple.  She could not have consented.  But no one is fighting that.  The only mention of the rape is that “the circumstances are under investigation.”

Which is why I’m even more outraged – an anti-abortion group is claiming that it is the parents’ right “to protect their daughter’s right to have a child…There’s no reason for this woman to be subjected to the danger and risk of an abortion because someone else thinks she’s not worthy of having a child because of her medical condition.”

Okay, I’m going to have to ask you to wait again.  Did anyone mention the girl being unworthy due to her medical condition?  No.  But is it true that she is physically and mentally incapable?  Probably.

Again, though, the point here is that it has nothing to do with the abortion.  Why isn’t this same group upset about the rape?  Why aren’t they up in arms about the fact that this woman was ignored long enough to wander off and get raped?  If this had been a six-year-old girl with epilepsy, what would they do?  If she hadn’t gotten pregnant, would they care?

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Oh my virtue!

The Triumph of Virtue over Vice by Paolo Veronese
The Triumph of Virtue over Vice by Paolo Veronese

 

Virtue has a number of definitions, but for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to refer to only a few of them.
1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
2. conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
3. chastity; virginity: to lose one’s virtue.

I wanted to begin with them as I discussed a recent news story and its subsequent end.  Because, here’s the thing: for a change, procrastination really paid off for me!

Back on the 28th, KHOU posted an article about a 15 year old girl who had been abducted and raped after getting off a bus on her way home from school.    When I read the article, I was mad because the community activist quoted stated that, “The virtue of a young girl is the most precious thing she has – it’s the most valuable thing she has…”  And I was outraged.  Seriously.  I assumed that he was referring to the third definition – her virginity or chastity.  And all I could think was, really?  That’s the most important thing?  Not her life? Not her dignity? Not her intelligence?  But if she’s not a virgin anymore, damn her to hell?  Just wow that people still think that way.  We aren’t trading women for cows for marriage around here anymore, so we need to do away with that outdated thinking.  Blah blah, more outrage on my part.

Then on the 29th, the mother of the girl spoke out to KHOU.  She said that her daughter was traumatized by it, and that she kept telling her daughter “it’s not her fault and that we’re going to get through this.”  And I thought, how very true; the girl shouldn’t feel any blame, and perhaps it was the previous comments that made her feel the blame.  After all, she just “lost” the most valuable part of herself.  My sympathies were with the girl, and with her mother, both of them dealing with a traumatic event.

But…then…it happened.  On the 1st, a new story appeared on KHOU.   After activists got involved…after her mom went to the press…after I had gotten outraged on behalf of the girl and her mother…it was all fake.  The girl had lied.  Apparently, “the detectives became suspicious of the girl’s story during the forensic part of their investigation.”  Neighbors are outraged; the original activist is planning on holding a conference to discuss what happened.  And now we get to the other meaning of virtue.

Apparently, the activist was right.  The girl did lose a kind of virtue that is now gone forever – “moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.”  Lying to police…to her family…to the community.  And we still don’t know why.  Regardless, though, it appears that virtue was compromised on that day, and it will never be able to be given back.