Oh…where to being this week. How about with famed gossip columnist for the NY Post, Cindy Adams, who, regarding the story of the NY1 reporter suing for sexual harassment, told women to just “deal with it.” Jezebel was one of many outlets to respond in outrage, noticing that Adams herself noted two instances of harassment in her own life: “The men who assaulted and/or harassed Adams when she was a child went unreported and unpunished; the laws we have today are intended simply to protect today’s girls and women from such crimes.”
But Adams wasn’t the only one to tell women to suck it up when it came to their own abuse. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly (also on my favorites list) emphasized on her show how women are running to the court rooms to report sexual harassment (if only it were actually true – like how Obama is our most progressive president and that health care reform is an abortioner’s dream). Jezebel, again, offered perspective: “The obsessive focus on the handful of women who do pursue that option suggests not that these people think the legal system is being abused, but that they ultimately think such behavior is acceptable.” Feministe came out with a great response about how victims of sexual abuse DO get over it, entitled “PTSD and Healing After Sexual Trauma.” But instead of just “walking away,” they explain the trauma of triggers and clinical treatment.
Now, onto Roethlisberger. Jezebel posted the 4 ways the cops ultimately failed the victim in this case: Sgt. Blash reportedly intimidated the alleged victim and tried to discourage her from filing charges; no one secured the crime scene; no one formally questioned Roethlisberger; and the police were cozy with Roethlisberger from the beginning. What is with the stars in all the authorities’ eyes about this guy that keeps them from doing their job? Jason Whitlock over at Fox Sports may at least admit that Roethlisberger did a dumb thing, but that doesn’t stop him from wholeheartedly blaming drunk sorority girls from getting raped in the first place: ”Statements made by drunken sorority girls are not facts. Statements made by sober sorority girls about an evening spent bar-hopping and drinking are not facts.” Say what you want about sorority girls, but are they not people too with the rights that all citizens have?
He also devalued the case by belittling words with quotation marks like “witnesses” and “evidence,” and brought in the victim’s own dress and behavior (hey, don’t we have a law protecting against that??) into consideration: “Big Ben’s accuser was allegedly wearing a name tag that read DTF — “down to f—.” She engaged in a lewd and highly flirtatious conversation with Roethlisberger.” And of course, relayed good ‘ol-fashioned advice for sorority girls everywhere: “Don’t drink the punch. It might be laced with a roofie” and ”Don’t go anywhere in the house alone.” And yet DOESN’T tell football players NOT TO RAPE. Amazing. Ms. Magazine attacked Whitlock’s “poor perception of humanity,” while Jezebel scolded NPR reporter Frank DeFord for making similarly outlandish remarks to “let the thugs play.” As Twitter user @DancingGrapes tweeted directly to NPR itself: “‘At some point don’t you just stop caring about whether athletes behave’?! NO especially when ‘behavior’ is really multiple RAPES.” Amen.
And now, onto the weekly games of Victim-Blaming 101 and Is it Sex or Is it Rape? First up, this headline from Daily Intel: “Jenna Jameson’s Husband Says It’s Her Fault He Got Arrested for Hitting Her” (pretty self-explanatory, I think). Then, Fox News used the dreaded quotation marks to describe an 11 year-old rape (guess where the quotation marks were??) victim, implying that a girl aged 10 is capable of consent (I’m guessing she’s not!!), and The Curvature reported on a devastating case (trigger warning) that was reported as “having sex” and not “rape.” Cara writes: “You cannot have sex with someone who is vomiting and drifting in and out of consciousness. You can only rape someone in that state. And yet, here they are, using the word sex. Minimizing.” And then there’s this frightening story of a date gone completely wrong when the man, after saying goodnight, broke into a woman’s hotel room and tried to rape her. What do we teach our men that this seems like perfectly acceptable behavior?
You know, every week I don’t think I’ll have enough ammo to write this post, and every week I’m unpleasantly surprised.
Amanda is the author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess.