An Open Letter to the Students of Penn State:

Really? Really?

Children were molested. Your precious football coach did nothing, and your response to his getting fired was to riot in support of him?

Where is your integrity?

Where are your priorities?

Where is your perspective?

This should be a black-and-white issue. Raping children is wrong. Discouraging a witness to this atrocity from reporting it to the police, and allowing the child molester continued access to children is wrong.

Your precious football coach had an obligation–not just as the head of a athletic program, not just as a leader, but as a human being, to do everything possible to stop such a crime, and he did as good as nothing.

That is his failing.

You’re so concerned about your football team, and about your university’s image–yet you would riot for a man who allowed a rapist to go free? Who allowed a child molester to continue molesting children, and represent your university? That’s what you want?

You didn’t riot in defense of a beloved football coach. You rioted in favor of the protection and cover-up of child rape.

You are the epitome of the image of spoiled college students with mixed-up priorities.

I am disgusted and humiliated as a recent college graduate to be associated with the likes of you.

College students across the country are protesting for equal rights, against corruption, for increased access to education, against hate, for love for one’s neighbors, and they struggle to be taken seriously by media, by their representatives, by the general populace.

And then there’s you. Rioting. Destroying property. Assaulting police officers. For a football coach that got fired for his leading role in covering up the RAPE OF A CHILD.

It’s clear what your values are. It’s clear what you stand for. It’s clear what your priorities are.

I hope that, in the wake of this violence, chaos, and destruction that you have a change of heart. That you reflect on your actions. That you make amends to the community and the people for what you did, and most importantly, that you come out in support of the victims. I hope that you will come together and make a stand against rapists, predators, and the people who enable them.

The university is a place of learning. It is a place to share knowledge, and discover new things, for the betterment of ourselves and our society. Contrary to what many think, and how many universities conduct themselves, it is NOT an institution to support athletics. That you, the student body, would resort to violence and destruction in retaliation for the firing of an athletic coach who abetted A RAPIST, demonstrates your lack of understanding about so many things, one of which is the purpose of a university.

Your rabid, obsessive defense of him demonstrates to rape survivors all over the world that you think their suffering isn’t important. It’s silencing. I wonder, in your haste to destroy, did you even think about the message you’re sending to victims everywhere?

Naturally, no.

I’m disgusted and disappointed in you.

You should know better.

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A Question To GOP And Their Supporters

So, I’m really curious. What happened to the GOP agenda being all about the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs? ‘Cause it seems to me, that all of these attacks on women’s abortion rights and the narrowing of the definition of rape have nothing to do with either of those.

What Would a War on Date Rape Drugs Look Like?

Today I found this article. In it, the police speak about their stepping up on stopping crime during the holidays. But one snippet of the article jumped out at me:

“Operation Saturate has already seen drug dealer Leighton Foster, 21, jailed after he was caught with a £7,000 stash of the date rape drug GHB.”

When do we ever hear about police busting a date rape drug ring? Never.  So it was great to hear on that level—that there’s now that much less GHB on the street, and potentially, fewer women being assaulted.

But then, I asked myself, what would the American War on Drugs look like if it were a war on date rape drugs?

I pretended it wouldn’t be racist and classist like this one is. The more I thought about it, the better it sounded—why aren’t drugs that are slipped into nonconsenting women and men’s drinks, in order to commit a crime that is harmful to that non consenting person, given more of a priority? If it were, would it be possible that we would have a more constructive dialogue on rape and sexual assault? Might our dialogue be more focused on questioning, blaming, and prosecuting the one doing the raping rather than the victim? Might the reporting of rapes go up, since police would ostensibly take rape more seriously? Might we even be able to educate the masses on acquaintance rape?

Things might be a lot different.

Seizures in the News

This article concerns me. The headline and the lead-in speak of the seizures that Brian David Mitchell, the man who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart, has been suffering. The article quickly moves on to discussing Mitchell’s mental health.

Mitchell’s lawyer, the article says, is presenting the “insanity defense” and talks about both Mitchell’s, and his family’s history of mental illness. I find it curious that the author, Jennifer Dobner, chose to take the article in this direction, since after all, the headline is “Elizabeth Smart kidnapper suffers seizure in court.” By taking the article in this direction, it seems to imply a connection between seizures and “mental illness” or “psychosis disorders” which is not the case.

I do not and will not engage in armchair diagnosing of Mitchell—that is no place of mine. That is between Mitchell and his doctor.

My problem is with the tendency to equate bad deeds, such as kidnapping and rape, to mental illness, thereby implying that anyone with mental or psychological problems is a bad person—a ticking time bomb, if you will. It marginalizes those of us with epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorder, and many others, for no good reason other than different=bad. In fact, throughout much of history, those who were different were often deemed “mad” and power was wrested from them, and they were killed, or left to rot in a hospital, prison, or later, a “mental institution.”[i]

This also implies that if you do something “bad” then you must be “mad.” It implies that no good, normal person could or would ever do bad or terrible things—so if one could prove one was normal, then they could not possibly be guilty of any crime or wrongdoing. The wolf in sheep’s clothing, if you will, feeds and benefits off this idea.

This line of thinking is intellectually lazy, it is bigoted, and it has dire consequences for society.

Mitchell did a horrible thing to Elizabeth Smart, and I hope she will find peace, closure, and healing. But Mitchell’s deed does not make him mentally ill. If he does suffer from a “delusional disorder” or some other mental illness, that mental disorder does not make him a bad person. If he is ill, I hope he is able to find a way to live peacefully with his disorder—whether or not he accepts treatment. As of now, he has been deemed competent to stand trial, so he will face justice for his deed—but only that. His deeds. Not his illness.


[i] And this is why I’m skeptical of a family history of mental illness—because science and medicine wasn’t where it is today, and so differing from cultural and religious norms were often used in lieu of science. The victors write the history, so we have no objective basis for diagnosing people long dead of mental disorders.

Ministry of Justice Drops Rape Defendant Anonymity

So this is good news. Of course, when I say good news, I mean “Yay the MoJ decided against doing something extremely harmful to rape victims.”

I am glad they’re not going ahead with this, because it would be a Very Bad Thing. But I feel like I’m giving a cookie to an abled-bodied grown man for pooping in the toilet. Or rather, for not pooping on the carpet.

I am disappointed that acting Labour leader Harriet Harman and Conservative MP Louise Bagshawe were the only British Government representatives in the article that spoke against the proposal because of its [tw] rape-victims-are-lying stench , [/tw] though. The others were performed a elaborate avoid-the-elephant dance, or favored pressuring media to keep defendants anonymous in the window between arrest and conviction, rather than passing legislation.

It’s not lost to me that Labour Leader Harriet Harman and MP Louise Bagshawe are both women.

Though I do give the BBC props for quoting Women Against Rape, as well as avoiding the American “give both sides a platform, no matter how ridiculous the other side” tactic. Yay BBC!

Blood Pressure warning: comments are predictably, but sadly, MRAish.

This is a win, but it doesn’t feel like it.