I spent the morning reading the statement by the Stanford rape victim, Ann VosKamp’s excellent post on the issue, a couple of related Guardian articles and a whole slew of comments on a Facebook post.
Over and over I saw these two comments: “Rape is about power.” “Rape is violent.”
And sometimes it is. But not always.
Sometimes rape is about stupid.
Violent, power rape.
A guy lurking in the bushes, or in the backseat of an unlocked car, a guy who slips through a window at night and holds a knife to a rudely awakened throat, these are the guys who rape for power. These are the guys who use violence.
Date rapers are in this category, too.
Then there are the sexual predators. The teachers and youth pastors and older neighborhood boys. Their weapons are smooth words, positions of authority, trust, naiveté.
I’ve tangled with this kind.
Sometimes they are so smooth they can rape a girl and, though she was completely sober when it happened, may not realize she was raped until years later.
And then there’s stupid rape.
Here’s how it might look:
A freshman on a swim scholarship with a head FULL of STUPID stuff like “college is supposed to be one long drinking and sex fest” goes to a frat party. He drinks, ‘cuz that’s what college is all about. Check.
He encounters an inebriated young woman and he sees an opportunity for sex. Alright! About to check another one off the list. About to be a bona fide college student.
The inebriated girl falls down. Outside. Behind a dumpster.
He has his way with her. HIS WAY with her.
Because it is all about him and his awesome college experience.
And not at all about another human being.
Instead of being horrified by his drunken behavior, instead of profusely and sincerely apologizing, he takes the low road. The really low road. He hires an attorney.
The attorney victimizes the woman all over again. Repeatedly. A strategy of verbal rape. A verbal rape that is all about exerting power, making someone feel weak and afraid.
In the victim’s eloquent (talk about the pen being mightier than the sword) statement she said, “You said, ‘During the trial I didn’t want to victimize her at all. That was just my attorney and his way of approaching the case.’”
Instead of saying “NO!” to the attorney, he allowed him to further victimize his victim. And he wasn’t even inebriated or passed out when he gave his consent.
Because it wasn’t about being a man of honor. It was about saving his own young hide.
When my daughter totaled her car (some of you will remember that story) because she was reading a text while driving, I was furious. I told her so the whole 40 minute ride home from the tow yard.
Over and over I kept telling her that she could have killed someone. Another driver, a child crossing the road, a dog…. “IF YOUR CAR IS MOVING FORWARD THEN YOUR EYES ARE FORWARD!,” I’m sure I yelled more than once. Yelled because she had a previous texting-related fender bender. Yelled because I didn’t know what it would take to get the text monkey off her back.
My first thought (since she didn’t call from a hospital) was for the harm she could have done to someone else. Because her life would have been ruined if she had killed someone. And every person who loved that someone would be ruined. And my life would be ruined if her life were ruined.
Forty minutes of trying to drive home the point that our actions and choices are not all about anyone of us. It’s about us and others.
Maybe his stupid dad forgot to teach him that.
Maybe his stupid dad forgot to teach him to say, “I’m truly sorry.”
But how can a stupid dad teach what he doesn’t get. Really? Your son won’t eat his steak anymore? Stupid fuel to the stupid fire.
Everyone is up in arms over the stupid sentence and the stupid judge.
I feel for the boy. I really do. And I do believe that prison would harm him. And I do believe that it is a darn shame.
6 3 months?
I think he should be sentenced to 7 years, as the prosecutors asked.
Not seven years in prison, 7 years of community service. Working a rape hotline all day long. Sitting in on rape support groups in the evenings. Listening to heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story.
Sitting with Jesus a good long spell.
Until he gets it.
Until his heart is truly broken.
Then he will be able to give his victim all she ever really wanted: A heartfelt apology. An acknowledgement that he hurt her, an understanding of what he did to her, took from her, and that he was WRONG to do so.
“don’t forget that women are advised to “cover their heads” in the scriptures.” – comment in a discussion of the factors that contribute to rape.
But that’s a whole other
How ‘bout we turn college back into what it was intended to be: A place for the serious pursuit of a higher education with the goal of contributing something useful to society.
How ’bout we teach our sons and daughters strength of character. How ’bout we model it.
How ’bout we practice respecting and treasuring one another.
How ‘bout we ALL sit with Jesus a good long spell?