glosswatch

It was incredibly emotional — incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believe their life fell apart.

CNN reporter Poppy Harlow on witnessing the Steubenville verdict

Like most women, I live in fear of ruining promising lives. The trouble is, it’s so easy to do. We can even do it in our sleep. It doesn’t matter what we wear, where we go, whom we’re with, whether we’re drunk or sober – any one of us could end up ruining a promising life. It could even be the life of a friend or partner (obviously some lives are less promising than others, but as women we don’t get to choose).

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9 thoughts on “

  1. I saw a quote from one of the convicted in which he “apologized” to the young woman by saying that the pictures should not have been taken or distributed. That’s not quite a direct quote but it’s close. Passive voice and all.

    Uh. How about “I shouldn’t have raped you”?

  2. Tonight, I don’t feel much like listening to the “we need to teach young men not to rape” position. We teach them and teach them and teach them; we talk and talk and talk, but you know what makes “don’t rape” real clear? Prison time for rapists.

    I do not have much faith in the efficacy of rehabilitation for sexual predators. I do have some faith in prevention, but tonight is a rough night.

  3. Yeah, that.

    “Teaching young men not to rape” always sounds a lot to me like “teaching young people about the dangers of” drugs/alchohol/unprotected sex/etc. You can teach until you’re blue in the face, but you’re not going to get through to all of them, or even the majority. Not when you live in a culture that glamourises risky behaviours and teaches young men that they’re entitled to take what they want.

  4. I should add that what really infuriated me was not that apology was for the wrong thing but the use of the passive voice. Which, in retrospect, should not surprise me in this world, but is still a breathtaking denial of agency.

  5. Also, do we ever talk about “teaching young men not to murder?” No, we do not, because “don’t murder” is pretty obvious, while “don’t rape” seems to have all these confounding grey areas. Because women’s bodies.

  6. I still see it all the time. Newspaper stories where rape is referred to as “sex.” It is not sex, it is a hate crime.

    It’s somewhat like not naming the agent and use of passive voice. It obscures the reality. The reality that in the US, a woman is raped every 1 or 2 minutes, for instance. That’s a hate crime, a crime against a group. No other group that I know of has had this level of hate directed at them.

    Has anything changed since Dworkin wrote about this? Yes. The pornography is available to many more men and at very young ages. It has become more violent. it has gotten much worse. Again, many people refer to the use of pornography by young males as “sex education.” It is education in how to violently oppress a whole group with hatred.

    yes, prison terms are most appropriate. Aggressive reinforcement of these crimes is most appropriate. As opposed to things like marijuana possession. Plus, added time for it being a hate crime.

  7. They’re juveniles…so no good would come of sending them to adult prison where they in turn will be brutalized and therefore worsen. Their attitudes about women would also be reinforced there. Is there another alternative that serves justice but also serves to rehabilitate?…

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