Sunday, May 11, 2008

On this Mother's Day,

I am thankful for my Mummy and Grammy.

With that out of the way, here's what I'm angry about. It started with this Feministing article which led me to the source: My Spring Weekend Nightmare, by Melissa Bruen at The Daily Campus. Most of the comments following the original article were supportive. However, some other people had the gall to write the following responses, emphases mine, sic implied. First the doubter:

This story seems like a graduating journalist's cry for fame. If I'm mistaken, then I am sorry, but I don't buy into any of it. Sweet picture on the front page, and nice "swimmer's build," but I feel sorry for anyone who is actually a victim of assault and doesn't have such a romanticized story to tell.

Then the critic:

Let me first start off by saying that I feel sorry for what happened . . .

Now, on to some journalistic criticism. This is on journalistic matters and how this story was handled, NOT about the situation itself. I felt that the article was poorly written and should not have been put on the front page above the fold. If anything, it should have started in the Commentary section and continued elsewhere. Normally, any story that is printed a week after the occurence rarely gets on the front page of any paper. Yes, I know it was traumatic, and if she couldn't bring herself to write it before, then perhaps a reporter should have done an interview, so she could get her story out there and more timely.

Maybe if she had been killed, then she would have been front-page material. But being assaulted by multiple men on a college campuse belong in the "Commentary section". Right. He continues:

Secondly, the picture is totally inappropriate for the article. The first thing I honestly saw when I picked up the paper was the three words "SOME GIRLS LUCKY". We all know that "lucky" is another word for having sex, and to wear that shirt and talk about being sexually harassed, well that was just in very poor taste. After looking closer, I saw that there were smaller words, but from afar, no one would honestly see them. Another photo should have been used, or a different shirt.

Thirdly the article being released when it was was poor timing. Yes, I know taht she might not have been able to talk about it right away, but I ask that you go back to where I said that she should have talked to a reporter. To have the Editor-In-Chief who is graduating next week tell this tale without another issue for anyone to comment about the article seems also in very poor taste. This article should have run sooner, or it should not have ran at all. From my perspective, it seems like she wanted to get her story out there (and I give her full credit for that and support it), so she used her power as Editor-In-Chief and put it on the front page above the fold for the last normal issue.

Finally, because accused rapists allegedly hurt more than the people actually being assaulted:

Oh wow, you're sooooo brave. Please. There's a story of a kid in Georgia who was imprisoned for several years for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 16. THAT'S injustice, not whatever minor shenanigans happened with you. There are COUNTLESS instances of false rape accustations that lead to arrests, convictions, or simply the staining of a guy's name. (Duke lacrosse is only the foremost example).

When it comes to "rape", the vast majority of the time the only injustices are felt by men, not girls. I'm sick of supposed to be feeling sorry for girls (and yes, I say girls just to annoy feminists). This editor will probably have here future paved with gold by newspapers who will hire her only because she's female, while far more qualifed male reporters/editors, etc. get the shaft. Happens every day, in companies, newspapers, etc. across the land. Who's getting raped there?

The anger hit me again when I read this comment under a related post on Feministe from kayline:

. . . Anyway, I wanted to contribute to the larger discussion evolving here about campus rape culture. In my second year of college I dated a a guy named Jake for about a month, before I decided that I was feeling emotionally manipulated and pressured to engage in sex even when I really wasn’t interested. (In one instance he came into my room at 2am while I was asleep, crawled into my bed, and started fondling me. Sounds romantic? Is actually really unpleasant.) After I broke it off I mostly avoided him, but one night about a month later I was at a small party in a mutual friend’s room. I had been having a really bad week, and drank too much too quickly. When I decided to go to bed I was a little unsteady on my feet. Jake offered to walk me back to my room, and I shrugged and said sure. When we got to my room (I had a single) he helped me into bed, then crawled into bed with me. I blacked out after that. When I woke up he was gone and I was completely naked. I know for a fact that I got into bed with all my clothes on.

When I woke up I didn’t quite know what to think. I was hung over, and confused by the gaps in my memory of the night’s events. But as the day went on and I started thinking more clearly, I realized that I was feeling OFF. I couldn’t stop thinking about, but I kept talking myself down. “You don’t know what happened, it was probably nothing, don’t be so dramatic, you’re just looking for attention.” This was happening inside my own head. Finally I called my mom, and though I love her dearly, she failed me that day. I told her what had happened and she basically said: You don’t really know what happened, you’re never going to know, there’s nothing you can do about it, so just don’t think about it . . .

If you read the rest of the comment, the situation ended Jake getting a six-semester suspension from the college and his classmates throwing him a going away party, while simultaneously shunning the multiple women that he raped.

. . . the worst part was what my classmates did.

I went to a REALLY small college. 75 students per class. I’d literally lived in the same building with these people for 4 years, and they abandoned me, and abandoned my roommate. They offered us none of the support that they offered Jake, because they couldn’t stomach coming to grips with what had happened to us. When I go to alumni events and visit with people from school, I look at their faces and think “The night I cried myself to sleep alone in my room, you were at a party for the man who raped me.”

I then thought to myself, I wouldn't just think that, I would say it to their faces. But that's me now. That wasn't me in college. That's not other people, nor does it need to be. I'm the one who screams about things, both here on the interwebs and also on the phone to my Mummy. I'm the one who won't shut up because there are stories that must be told. I'm the one who gets acutely annoyed when women who think they "haven't experienced much oppression" make posts like this:

. . . It's time to realize that you win nothing by exaggerating your own victimhood or claiming that all individual problems are systemic. Above all, it's time to stop saying "It sucks to be a woman," because really (I've been one for like a whole bunch of years now), it doesn't. Being a woman is not yet like being a man, but it does not suck...

I think it sucks for the 1 in 6 women (and 1 in 33 men) who will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. I think it sucks for Senator Hillary Clinton who is being blamed for the entire downfall of the Democratic party, although Howard Dean has been the chairman of the Democratic National Committee since 2005.

As far as I know, Mike Gravel and Ron Paul are still running, too. Ron Paul is very popular among the passionate and growing Liberterian sect of the US. Yet why aren't we seeing any media coverage on them? And why no coverage on the effect that the $2 billion a week war is having on our failing economy? Think about that.

Why is there a picture of the latest Menudo group up there? I watched Dance on Sunset last night on Nickelodeon, and Menudo performed. How does this relate to rape or Mother's Day? It doesn't, but one of the earlier episodes of Dance on Sunset featured a performance by Akon. Yes, that Akon. That one, too. Note that the latter throwing was at a Radio Disney concert. Ooh the irony. This same video documented child attacker is now a-okay to appear on a Nickelodeon show.

But what about Menudo? To make my long brain process short, why are all five members of the by-definition Puerto Rican musical group some of the lightest people in the United States? Latino people come in every shade, despite what the commercials on Univision would have you believe. Also, why are both of the hosts on Dance on Sunset men? You know the show's audience has to skew female. Don't girls deserve at least one female role model . . . on a dance show?



Tobes said...

Oh dear God. I knew the quotes on that article would be horrible but these people are just... beyond. I feel like "HULK SMASH" right now.

I need to make it a point to email that girl and thank her for her bravery.

If you want to read a truly amazing story about rape.

Check this series out:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Tobes said...

Hmmmm, none of those links look right. Check out the story here. The video is very good too but I really recommend reading the whole story

Bianca Reagan said...

That's a lot to read, but I will get through it.