Because of the new bathroom laws, I am seeing memes and video posts in which men are saying they are doing this to protect their women and girls from rape.
WARNING!!!! I am about to let loose some opinions that will not please people.
You know, as much as I appreciate the concern for my safety and my daughter’s safety and the safety of all women out there, I can think of a few things that might actually do a better job than bathroom laws.
- Believe Rape Victims. How do rapists get away with what they do? The first thing a woman reporting a raped is asked “What did you do that sent the wrong signal?” or “Why should we believe you because you are a known whore, liar, druggie, female, or all of the above?” We are not believed that all we did was be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Worse yet, every guy has a story in the back of his head about how some guy’s life was ruined by a false allegation. That is what rapists such as Daniel Holtzclaw count on. The former Oklahoma City police officer was convicted on 18 out of 36 charges of rape and sexual assault in January 2016. His thirteen victims included a 17-year-old and a 58-year-old grandmother.Most of his victims lived in the poor part of the city and have a history of arrests for drug and prostitution charges.These women knew they were not going to be believed and did not report the sexual assaults. That is until Holtzclaw forced himself on Jannie Ligons during an unauthorized stop after his shift was done. She reported his behavior which led to other discrepancies in Holtzclaw’s records. Yes, some women do lie about being raped, some have regrets about sexual behavior, or are forced to call it rape by their parents. But most women don’t lie and they don’t tell because they know they won’t be believed.
2. Test the Rape Kits Strange things happens when rape kits get processed as they should. Serial rapists, the ones that should frighten the bejesus out of everyone, get found. Cleveland found this out the hard way after two reporters, Rachel Dissel and Leila Atassi, in 2010 began a series of stories in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about rape kits that were not processed. Starting in 2011, 4000 rape kits were tested, 1600 kits held usable DNA, 350 cases were prosecuted, leading to the conviction of 100 rapists. Another interesting fact came together, 30% were committed by serial rapists. These are the guys who don’t care who they assault, they just want the feel of power that comes from violating another human being. One man, Elias Acevado, confessed to a number of rapes, at least two murders, and the sexual abuse of three of his daughters. One of the girls thanked Dissel because she reported her father’s abuse but was not believed. Another strange result? Violent crime is down in Cleveland.
3. End the Statue of Limitations on Rape and Sexual Abuse Whatever you might think about Dennis Hasert, his case showed that it is hard for people to come forward with allegations. Worse yet, the laws that were relaxed to make it possible for people to report abuse would not have helped Hasert’s victims as they were too old to report what happened by 2000 when Illinois changed their state laws saying you have until 20 years after your 18th birthday. While several states have no statute of limitations for sexual assault, especially that involving children, there is no single rule. Some might allow 3 years, others give you a ten-year time frame to report. The Bill Cosby case is making California consider a change to no statute of limitations because of the scope and length of time of his accusers. Ask Corey Feldman why he cannot file charges against the men who molested him.
4. Stop the ‘Boys will Be Boys’ ideology Would the athletes of Steubenville had been better served if they grew up thinking their actions do have consequences? That perhaps raping a passed-out girl and creating a video as they were doing it might have ruined their futures more than the girl filing an assault report? Was the girl stupid for getting so drunk she passed out? Probable. But nor does that mean it was OKay to assault her. No way, no how. Stop telling boys their bad behavior is OKay, stop laughing at their sexist antics, stop playing along with them so adult men can feel like they are still one of the boys. Stop demonstrating to boys it is OKay to cat-call and comment on a woman’s tits, ass, or body as if it is your property despite the woman being a stranger.
Do we live in a rape culture? Yes and no. It is not as in your face as it is in some cultures. Instead, it is insidious. We are constantly told how to act without being told outright. We are judged constantly on our looks, on our dress, on what body parts we do or don’t have. And if we speak out – as Beyonce has started doing – we are told to be quiet, that our opinion is not needed. Those in charge will take care of everything.
The men in charge, the men not testing rape kits, the men raping the women.
If my opinion is not enough, listen to Samantha B tell it like it is in her own unique way.
Editor’s Note: I wrote this a week before the Brock Turner sentencing. I thought it would be a good idea to sit on this essay and make sure it was the right thing to post. I have no doubts anymore.