It’s perfectly …

It’s perfectly understandable, when reporting on a rape trial, to discuss the length and severity of the sentence; it is less understandable to discuss the end of two convicted rapists’ future athletic and academic careers as if it were somehow divorced from the laws of cause and effect. Their dreams and hopes were not crushed by an impersonal, inexorable legal system; Mays and Richmond raped a girl and have been sentenced accordingly. Had they not raped her, they would not be spending at least one year each in a juvenile detention facility.

It is unlikely that Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow are committed rape apologists; more likely they simply wanted a showy, emotional angle at the close of a messy and sensationalized trial. Since the identity of the victim is protected, and the rapists obliged the camera crews by memorably breaking down and crying in court, they found an angle to match: extremely gifted young men were brought tragically low by… mumblemumblesomething.

That isn’t how rape trials ought to be discussed by professional journalists.

Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond are not the “stars” of the Steubenville rape trial. They aren’t the only characters in a drama playing out in eastern Ohio. And yet a CNN viewer learning about the Steubenville rape verdict is presented with dynamic, sympathetic, complicated male figures, and a nonentity of an anonymous victim, the “lasting effects” of whose graphic, public sexual assault are ignored. Small wonder, then, that anyone would find themselves on the side of these men—these poor young men, who were very good at taking tests and playing sports when they were not raping their classmates. –

The boys reactions are emotional, but then again, they made decisions that ruined their future … and ruined the victim’s future.  They hurt her.  They victimized her.  They raped her.  One boy took a photograph of her naked.  The ramifications and seriousness of their conduct was lost on them, until the court case and verdict.

The lasting effect of their being convicted of rape was justice.  Justice that leads them to live their lives differently.  And justice that hopefully creates repentance, grace, and allows them to experience through and give mercy to other people.  Other people like rapists, rape victims, and young people just thinking it is a ‘normal’ high school alcohol party.

The Modern War on Women 1

There is definitely a cultural trend of war on women … Conservatives needing harsh rules to make themselves feel they are on the right side of righteous instead of developing real character to engage with a painful world.

Which is why I love Nico Lang’s article, “Trampire:” Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women:

“I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for all the young women today who are tuned into this scandal, ones who are learning that it’s not okay to screw up, ever. Chris Brown can publicly beat the hell out of his girlfriend but still be played on the radio and win Grammys. However, if you ever cheat on your boyfriend, your life is over and no one will ever want to be associated with you. Almost no one will blame the much-older guy you cheated with, and it might actually make him more famous and help his career. Few will care that he was your boss and in a position of authority or that he may have have taken advantage of your youth and relative inexperience. Everything is your fault, and your life will be threatened over it. If you are a trampire, you will be publicly staked for it, even though cheater Ashton Kutcher recently emerged relatively unscathed by the media. No one asked for him to be fired from Two and a Half Men.”

“I might not be concerned for K-Stew, but I am concerned for my younger stepsister who has pictures of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on her walls, who idolizes and worships them, and who might grow up to hate Kristen Stewart for reasons she doesn’t understand. I’m worried she will be taught that it’s not okay to mess up, learn from it and apologize, because no one wants your apology, just your suffering on camera. I’m worried that she’ll think its okay to harass and threaten women for their indiscretions, even if men get off scot-free. I’m worried she will think this culture of bullying, slut-shaming and rhetorical violence against women is the norm, because you get a t-shirt for it. I’m worried she will learn to internalize the shame brought on far too many women today, for having sexualities, for not being perfect, for not fitting into a box. I’m worried she’ll believe men like Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee are right.”

Interestingly, women self-report higher rates of infidelity now than in the past – while still being much lower than men’s self-reported rates.  Why I find this interesting is one would assume any reasonably intelligent person would think some change should begin with men, where the larger problem exists-and that by correcting men’s undesirable sexual behavior, women would be likewise encouraged to abstain or remain faithful.  Maybe a reasonable person wold think men shouldn’t be encouraged to fuck every woman they see, glorify rape as normal sexual behavior without negative consequences, and practice aggression as a badge of male honor.

But then again, any reasonable person would guess these issues aren’t about abortion, pre-marital sex, birth control, or rape.  We aren’t discussing sex-we are discussing gender and how women are used as objects for displaced anger, violence, and pain.

It’s ugly.  And it is exactly the nature of the modern war against women.

-The Modern War on Women-