Which Is It . . . Rape or Sexual Assault?

Rape is an ugly word describing an ugly behaviour. This week we have heard about two or three rapes in the news but the most recent, I believe, is the one involving a young swimmer from a prestigious American university. This poor excuse for a human being should not be walking around feeling as though he had dodged a bullet.

As a father I would have wished that he had gotten off completely so I could have hunted him down and relieved him of his ability to procreate. He is an embarrassment as a ‘man’ in the world and someone who provides a shameful description for what men are not supposed to be about. After listening to his father’s comment I can understand where the kid learned his lessons and values. They have both proven to be a pair of losers. Any man who has to intentionally drug or take advantage of another human beings’ momentary weakness to satisfy himself is saying he doesn’t have what it takes to partner with anyone on an equal basis. He is gutless and he is a coward.

When we look at the legal system we have to wonder what the judge in this case was thinking? Was he late for a tee time somewhere? Did he have something else of greater importance to attend to? Did he make a little on the side for his ridiculous sentence in this case? He is as big a part of the problem here as the waste product who perpetrated the rape. His explanation of being concerned about coming down too heavily on the young man shows he has no right to be on a bench of any kind deciding the futures of any one who has broken the law. He lost his perspective if not his honor. How about the person who was actually deserving of, at least, some recognition by society that there had been a heinous crime committed here. Society needed to speak for her and impose a severe penalty as a statement saying that this type of behaviour will not, ever, be tolerated again no matter who you are. Instead, he might just as well have kicked her in the guts and showed her the door with a “have a nice day” on her way out.

I’ve written before that we need to rewrite the books concerning how we see each other. To avoid future travesties such as the treatment of this woman by a system that is supposed to be fair we need to take the ‘gender’ issues and references out of our perspective and begin to see each other as ‘human beings. We are males and females by a quirk of nature but we need to see each other and accept each other as valued human beings. This concept is not about androgyny but rather about true equality. Let’s also remember that men sexually assault/rape other men; that women rape/assault other women as well as men and that they both sexually assault children. Although the greatest number of victims tend to be women it is not a behaviour directed exclusively at women.

With that focus in mind we need to treat everyone with the same dignity and respect that we ALL deserve. The laws of the land need to be applied equally to everyone regardless of who they know or how much they have. But instead of seeing all people as human beings first we are stuck with a paradigm that has slowed the move toward universal acceptance. That ‘old’ focus has reared it’s ugly head in this recent incident showing us that patriarchy, and some argue misogyny, is alive and well at least in that part of the woods.

My last point and more to the title of this article is the need to simplify the definition of sexual assault versus rape. There is too much ambiguity in the current definitions and in some cases they are interchanged to mean the same thing. That was evident in the case above. There are to many exceptions to consider and too many individual states and districts that have their own cultural peculiarities that enter into law making. A rape or sexual assault in Tennessee, for instance, should be seen as no more or less egregious than a rape or sexual assault in Ohio or South Dakota. You do that here or there it shouldn’t matter. I understand that there are some practical reasons why they, the laws, can’t be completely the same everywhere. Age restrictions or accomodations, for instance, can vary dramatically but the bulk of the law needs to be uniform and outside the influence of the various religions that seem to think they have a right to determine human behaviour outside their spiritual and physical jurisdictions. The Constitution was pretty clear about the separation of church and state. Perhaps its time to move back a bit closer to that tenet.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best, JIm

If you have a comment or another point of view please send it along to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

If you could send this along to friends and family members and ask them to do the same–with thanks

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