by Gary Thompson
A friend of mine asked me to play a word association game just the other day. When given some names of newsworthy people, I was asked, “what are they famous for?”
“Bill O’Reilly,” she said.
“The O’Reilly Factor,” I answered.
The rest followed as listed below.
Roger Ailes : Fox News
Roman Polanski : Rosmary’s Baby
Bill Cosby : Fat Albert
Harvey Weinstein : Sexual misconduct
Then she said, “sexual misconduct,” and I answered, “Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Mark Halprin …” And, that list just goes on and on.
Those are the famous cases. Let’s not forget Brock Turner, from Dayton, Ohio, who was convicted of raping an unconscious schoolmate behind a dumpster at Stanford University. Also, the Steubenville High School rape case of 2012, Clayton Books of Marietta, Ohio accused of sexually molesting a four-year-old boy and Douglas Mitchel of Vienna, West Virginia accused of raping a 12-year-old child.
What do all of these cases have in common?
First, they are all cases of men perpetrating violence (Monica Lewinski has stated her affair with Bill Clinton was consensual, but other accusations against Mr. Clinton exist).
One in Four, Inc is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of rape by the thoughtful application of theory and research to rape prevention programming. One in four refers to the FACT that one in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape.
According to statistics published by One in Four, for female rape survivors, 98.1 percent of the time, a man was the perpetrator. For male rape survivors, 93 percent of the time, a man was the perpetrator.
The second thing they have in common is that the men were exerting some aspect of power over their victims. This is sometimes simply physical power as in the case of forcible rape against a weaker individual, either a woman or child, or it may be more nuanced as is the cases of Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby or Kevin Spacey. In those cases, they used their political or economic power to force or coerce their victims into a compromising situation, an act of inappropriate touching or rape.
However it occurs, it is truly unacceptable behavior in modern civilized society. The United Nations Security Council noted that, “women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” [Emphasis is mine]. In effect, these perpetrators are declaring and waging a personal war against their victims.
How has this type of behavior been allowed to exist in our society?
Let’s look at the case of Brock Turner, the Stanford University student mentioned earlier. Turner was convicted of raping an intoxicated and obviously unconscious school mate behind a dumpster at Stanford University. The following excerpt from Fox News describes Turners defense:
In a letter to the judge, Turner had portrayed himself as an inexperience drinker and a person with high moral values.
“Coming from a small town in Ohio, I had never really experienced celebrating or partying that involved alcohol,” he wrote. “Living more than 2,000 miles from home, I looked to the guys on my swim team as family and tried to replicate their values in how they approached college life.”
The judge received several letters supporting Turner.
Retired federal prosecutor Margaret M. Quinn blamed the entire assault on alcohol.
“There is no doubt Brock made a mistake that night — he made a mistake in drinking excessively to the point where he could not fully appreciate that his female acquaintance was so intoxicated. I know Brock did not go to that party intending to hurt, or entice, or overpower anyone,” she wrote.
Turner’s older sister Caroline asked the judge to spare prison time because of a “devastating irreversible effect of what she described as “a series of alcohol-fueled decisions.”
Turner’s father, Dan Turner, added to the controversy, writing that his son’s life “will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life.”
From Wikipedia, “Turner was a student athlete at Stanford University on Jan. 18, 2015, when he sexually penetrated an intoxicated and unconscious 22-year-old woman (later called ‘Emily Doe’) with his fingers.” For this, he was found guilty and sentenced to six months in jail, of which he served three.
My mind is reeling here. He received only three months for raping an innocent, unresponsive victim. Assaulting her in an act the United Nations has described as a tactic of war.
Is there a war being waged right now in America between men versus women and children? That may be a bridge too far, but there is an apparent culture of condoning such behavior. Judge Aaron Persky in the Turner case stated, “… a prison sentence would have ‘a severe impact’ and ‘adverse collateral consequences’ on Turner.” To my mind, that of a Progressive, maybe the judge should have considered the impact and consequences on Turner’s victim.
These events will not change until the way we view them as a society changes. Fathers have to tell their sons and daughters, “no means no, and if it is not a yes, then it is no!” Friends have to tell friends, “no means no, and if it is not a yes, then it is no!” Coaches have to tell their athletes, “no means no, and if it is not a yes, then it is no!”
And this narrative must continue until, “no means no, and if it is not a yes, then it is no!”