Thursday, September 26, 2013

Score one for the good ol' boys' network...

First of all, I need to put a Trigger Warning on this post. I discuss in the post a rape case that is currently in the news. If it will bother you to read about it, come back tomorrow and I'll attempt to write about something more pleasant.

Now, I'll space down a few spaces, so if you don't want to read this, it won't be right in your face. If you do want to continue reading, just scroll down a bit, and the main body of the post will be there.

I started to write another blog post tonight.

I had it nearly written, nearly ready to post, and then I just couldn't do it, because I could not think of strong enough words to describe my disgust that an ex-teacher in Montana got out of jail today after serving only a month for the rape of a 14-year-old girl who was his student at the time. After he admitted doing it. This all is only made worse by the fact that the judge made statements blaming the victim during sentencing. Oh, and by the fact that about three years after the rape, the girl killed herself.

There just are no words to express my contempt for the rapist, for the judge, or for the rapist's attorney, who said that he and his client think the sentence is "lawful and appropriate." No it isn't appropriate. Not even with the fact that the rapist will be on probation for the next 14 years and 11 months. Not even with the fact that he will not be able to go anywhere where children congregate, or that he will not be able to have a cell phone that can take still photos or video or that can access the Internet.

All I keep thinking as I write about this is that the rape culture won again, and the good ol' boys' network is alive and well in America.

And those things make me immensely sad.

I'm not enthusiastic about the whole idea of "sending messages" that our culture is so fond of these days. On the other hand, exactly what kind of message is this sentence (or lack of it, really) sending to teenage girls who might be victimized by their teachers, or by other men? And what message is it sending to the men who might think it might a good time to rape a teenage girl?

The answer, in both cases, is that the message that is being sent loud and clear is that it is very likely that the rapists will get away with it. Oh, they might get a slap on the wrist. They might have to serve a little jail time. They might even have to find a new line of work. But how much of a penalty is that for ruining a teenage girl's life - or even an adult woman's life - or perhaps, as in this case, resulting in the victim taking her own life because it seems so much like no one cares that they were victimized and brutalized.

Even worse, it is sending the message to victims of rape that they might as well not even report their rapes, because they'll be put through hell - again - and they'll be blamed and people will never look at them quite the same again.

And so, fewer rapes will be reported and fewer rapists will even get as much punishment as the Montana rapist in this case received, as little as that is.

Yeah, I'm pretty much just disgusted right now. And I still don't have the words to adequately express that disgust.

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