Friday, December 7, 2012

Could we ALL just THINK for a minute?

A few days ago, some Australian radio station "pranked" a UK hospital, managing to convince a worker there that they were Royals with reason to be privy to information about Prince William's pregnant wife's condition.  A crappy, nosy, immature thing to do, but crappy, nosy, immature things are what we've come to expect from "radio personalities." 

This morning, it's come out that the poor nurse who was initially fooled by their act (and was almost certainly reprimanded) has committed suicide.

No, I'm not blaming the dimwitted DJs.  At some point, we have to take responsibility for our own stuff, and the blame for her death lies with her.


Can we all agree that maybe a little forethought here might have taken things in a different direction?  It's no stretch to predict that making this sort of call would almost certainly cause folks grief.  That, if they did manage to fool someone, that someone would likely be in a world of trouble.  The DJs call theirs "lighthearted intentions."  Of that, I have no doubt, but add to it carelessness, a disregard for the circumstances of others, and a complete lack of concern for the effects their actions might have on on the people unfortunate enough to be caught up in their prank. 

Personal responsibility.  What a concept.

And, since I'm on a roll, let's talk about rape, shall we?  More to the point, let's talk about teaching women not to get raped.  This is something near and dear, as I used to both teach 'rape avoidance" classes and work with rape and domestic abuse victims, mostly in the ER. 

We used to tell women that rape is like dodgeball.  In a just, moral, RIGHT world, we'd teach the men to stop lobbing that ball.  But it's not a just, moral, RIGHT world, and we seem incapable of inspiring the men to stop targeting us, so we're forced to teach the women to dodge. 

And that's crap.  Straight up. 

Every excuse you've ever heard, every lousy question that's ever come up when a woman's been raped?  Stop it!  Unless you really believe that what a woman wears, where she walks, how much she drinks, or who she dates should possibly earn her a rape, stop it!  And if you DO believe those things?  You scare the hell out of me.  This is AMERICA, I am an adult.  I should be able to walk where I want, wear what I want, drink where I want, and date whomever I want and not have to worry that I might wind up splayed on a bathroom floor somewhere with a goose egg on my head and a crushing societal condemnation because somehow something *I* did made me deserve that. 

I get why our culture does that.  It's not just the lingering religious ideas that make women the temptresses and men the tempted.  It's also because we don't want to be the victim.  Who does?  Even more so, we don't want to believe that we COULD be the victim, just as easily as anyone else.  So we scrutinize victims closely, and we decide that something THEY did must have drawn the violence to them, like some twisted "The Secret" garbage.  We give ourselves a pat and tell ourselves that WE would never dress like that, WE would never walk there, WE would never hang out with those kinds of people.  And when an octogenarian is raped in her home?  We ask things like "Was her window open?" or "Had she locked the door?" or "Why did she open the door without asking to see his ID?"

All of these things shift the blame for a sexual assault from the ASSAULTER to the woman assaulted.  And we have got to stop that.


Stop comforting yourself on the backs of victims.  Stop sending the message to our kids that the reasons for rape are tied up in a woman's wardrobe and recreational habits.  The reason for rape is simple--there are rapists.  Put an end to THAT, and rape ends.  Stop trying to convince yourself that *YOU* could never be raped because *YOU* behave better/smarter/more morally than do the women who've been victimized.  You're wrong.  you CAN be raped, and it doesn't matter where you are or what you're wearing.  So instead of blaming the victims, let's all stand together WITH the victims and put the blame where it belongs.

And let's do something about those messages we send our kids, daughters and sons, about rape, sex, and equality.

And that's all.  Went shopping at Costco and Wegmans last night.  Came out cheaper than the usual Wegmans/Walmart combo, and for more stuff.  Feels good to take Walmart out of the equation.   

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