A copy of my column from last week’s Platte County Landmark. You can get a full year of the Landmark delivered weekly for only $15. Call 816-858-2313 and ask for the Fake Ned special.
It’s been a terrible week for this country, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something that will likely get swept away with all the other news in the world.
On Saturday, our big, dumb, older step-brother The Kansas City Star published (online and in print) an op-ed piece in their “Midwest Voices” section about rape prevention. I’m certainly never going to be critical of how someone writes, except this article was long and constructed poorly. It’s thesis statement was that women play a part in rape and rape can be prevented but that when men drink too much, they should be given a pass for making poor decisions.
So that I’m applying the correct context, here is the exact point of the article, “When men drink, their decision-making abilities are also limited. If a woman was too drunk to know what she was doing and should be excused for what happened, then why are men not allowed to be too drunk to make good decisions?”
The author is wrong. Her point is wrong. Her conclusion is damaging and it is a disservice to advancing the discussion on college campuses and in urban cities about how to stop the 250,000 rapes that are reported annually and countless others that are never reported. The column read as if it was defending rapists.
The Kansas City Star issued a retraction within hours on social media and their website. “In hindsight, it never should have been published.”
The point here is simple, the rapist is the one to blame for rape. The person committing sexual assault is the one to blame for sexual assault. The one committing domestic violence is the one to blame for domestic violence. Not the girl in the short skirt. Not the one at the bar who has had too many to drink. And not the mouthy spouse. Apples and oranges to the discussion.
The Star, to their credit, realized their mistake although the article still went out in print. But I wanted to spend a few minutes explaining my proposal for preventing rapes. It’s quite simple.
If you are a man or a woman considering rape, don’t rape.
There. Pretty easy, right? This philosophy can also be used in some other contexts as well. If you’re considering murder or shooting someone, don’t murder or shoot someone. If you’re considering committing a violent crime, don’t commit a violent crime.
The philosophy becomes a little more difficult when you apply it to carbs and chocolate, but you get the idea. The responsibility and blame is solely on the criminal.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way the world works anymore. People rape and murder and steal. And some of the suggestions in the article were valid. Women should learn self-defense and they should practice good “buddy-system” actions when out with friends. But not doing so doesn’t make them culpable if a violent crime is committed against them.
To say otherwise is an insult to the victims, it forces them to relive their trauma over again, and The Star should have known better.