It is fairly certain that when people around the world think of America, they imagine a highly civilized society in which every citizen, regardless of gender or race, is given the same rights and respect as equal members of society, and nothing like harsh Islamist culture under Taliban-like rule. Some Americans cited the horrendous treatment of women in some Arab and African nations dominated by strict Islamic and archaic notions of a woman’s role in society as why America is superior and justified in launching pre-emptive war in Afghanistan to save women. However, although Americans are not yet stoning women and young girls for being brutally raped, there is a segment of society that sympathizes with rapists and tarnishes the victim’s character for being the object of a vicious sexual assault.
When photos of the Steubenville rapists carrying an unconscious victim around and videos of them bragging about assaulting the young girl started making the rounds on the Internet, decent Americans were repulsed and rightly cried out for justice. As media attention grew, the rapist’s parents, football coaches, and local rape-advocates defended the young men and angrily decried the negative attention was ruining their lives and promising careers. However, there was little concern from the rape-gang’s advocates for the young girl who was brutalized and publicly shamed with photographs and video celebrations, or how her life was forever marred by criminals defended by their parents, coaches, and football boosters because in America’s highly developed society, victim-blaming is still accepted and encouraged; especially when rapists are athletes.
America holds a special place of honor for athletes, so much so that the Steubenville rape-advocates complained their “children’s” future dreams were being jeopardized. The football coaches went so far as to claim the outrage was a conspiracy to take down their successful football program, and not because the rapists carried out, and bragged about, sexual assault of the most heinous nature. On CNN, after reporting the guilty decision on Sunday, they could barely contain their sympathy and remorse that the judge’s verdict shattered the promising football dreams of two brutal rapists.
CNN’s Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow were sensitized to the wrecked football careers of “two young men who had such promising young futures” and were “very good students,” but showed no sympathy for the victim. Prior to the trial’s beginning, Good Morning America emphasized the “shattered football futures” of the rapists by reporting “there was no jury” and that a lone judge would “decide the fates of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, who face incarceration in a detention center until their 21st birthdays and the almost-certain demise of their dreams of playing football.” Indeed, after the verdict was read, Richmond fell into his lawyer’s arms sobbing, “My life is over. No one is going to want me now,” and it informed that after being deified as a local football hero, his life was over and it is part of America’s reverence for sports figures regardless their criminal behaviors. However, the tragedy is not that two young men were “cheated” out of promising football careers because they committed rape, it is about the victim; and all women in America.
From the minute the savage photos and video recap of the assault began circulating, there was a steady chorus of rape-advocates blaming the victim because it was a young girl and it typifies America’s patriarchal society. Long before the Steubenville rape gang made the news, Republicans attempted to re-define sexual assault as legitimate rape, or pass legislation forcing women to undergo rape by medical instrument, or defame a Georgetown law student for advocating contraception coverage in health insurance plans. There is a patriarchal mindset in this country that automatically demeans women whether it is wage disparity, the right to vote, or ability to serve in the military alongside men. American society has been set up to keep women in their biblical roles as subservient and submissive; even to rape. When women do speak out against injustice, or report a criminal for brutalizing them, they become pariahs and targets for aspersion as a matter-of-course. After Fox News aired one of the rapist’s apologies and failed to redact the victim’s name, she began getting death threats for reporting the crime that led to her attacker’s convictions, and for ruining her assailants lives and promising football careers. It is the American version of stoning the rape victim, and it has been a decade’s long practice because in America, women are always guilty.
America’s culture, like Islamic culture, is still male-dominated based on religious dogmata dictating man’s superiority over women, and the vile treatment the young girl suffered at the hands of her abusers naturally warranted sympathy for the males brought low because the victim reported the crime. At the CPAC conference last Friday, and young white Southern male questioned by a woman said, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public,” and although pathetically disgusting, it highlights the second-class status women in America are given by this vile patriarchal society. Despite losing the 2012 election in part because they lost women’s vote, Republicans are still passing legislation in state after state giving supremacy over a woman’s body to politicians and religious fundamentalists steeped in the bible’s admonition to women to “be in subjection to a man;” even if they want to violate you with medical instruments, or “legitimately rape” you and force you to carry the bastard to term.
Although America has made infinitesimal progress in regards to women’s rights, women still earn less than a man for the same work, pay more for health insurance than a man, and needed a special law for funding parity for women’s athletics. Nothing comes easy, or naturally, to women in America because this society is steeped in archaic religious doctrine that women are second-class citizens, and little more than a man’s, any man’s, property to dominate, underpay, and rape. And if they dare complain, or report being assaulted, they are chastised, demeaned, and sent death threats, because in this country when a 16-year old girl is brutally raped by promising football players, society mourns their ruined careers and finds myriad reasons to blame the victim.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.