I’ve been trying to wrap my hands around the Stanford rape case without running to a box of sexism, cronyism, classism or racism. I try to look at it objectively and figure out why a judge would only give this kid 6 months. Nothing else makes sense but the above. It’s hard to tackle what the bigger issue is. Is it that men in general have a problem with viewing women as more than prey? Is it an unjust justice system? Is it that being affluent buys you your own justice? Or is it alright if it’s all white?
Last night I stared at my daughter while she slept and couldn’t imagine her going through something like that. I couldn’t imagine being her father and having to try to deliver a sentiment that everything is going to be alright. How would I deliver that when in my heart of hearts I know that it won’t. I’m the uncle to 7 nieces and anyone of them could fall victim to an asshole that ignores “no” or takes advantage of them while in an intoxicated state. At the same time its my responsibility to keep my 4 nephews out of situations like this. While the father of the rapist is concerned that his son won’t be able to eat his favorite food of steak – the parents of the victim is concerned that their daughter will never feel safe in the world…ever.
Growing up I had friends that would brag on having sex with a woman who was intoxicated or ‘caught slippin’. I could have easily fallen into that same boat if it wasn’t for a conversation I had with my sister while in high school. She simply posed the question of: “Why does she have to be caught slippin for you to have sex with her?” It’s a simple question that sent off a myriad of questions in my mind. Most of them were aimed at the emerging male ego that made me question how tight my game was. She followed that question with a simple statement that I took all through adulthood – “If she’s drunk…its rape, period”. And since that time I have been in many compromising situations where I had to be the bigger better man and just say no. Only to be clowned by some friends and acquaintances about missed opportunities.
This issue doesn’t start when the rape happens. This starts in middle school(and sometimes earlier than that) when it’s a game to ‘feel’ (a game where a boy tries to touch a girl without them knowing) a girl. Then it evolves with other small things as boys grow older that is classified under the “boys will be boys” box. Early on its girls then eventually women will be apart of many games that they may or may not be aware of. It’s been instilled in us that women are merely trophies to collect and characters in mythical stories that we can pass on to our friends. First, men have to understand that women are human beings – for Christ’s sake you have a mother (or two depending on your situation)! It sounds elementary right? I think some men don’t respect women as their human counterpart. The only answer is men need to learn how to relate to women in other ways other than through the lens of their penis. If you relate to someone as a person the thought of violating them should disgust you. But if you view them as an object of achievement then it’s impossible for you to even consider there is a chance of violating them. The problem is a lot of men don’t see it as a problem.
A lot men say that if this happens to their daughter “I’m going to kill the guy”. Fathers have to face the reality that this is a culture that we have inadvertently (and sometimes purposely) supported through our silence. We all pray that the chickens never come home to roost.