Saturday, May 06, 2006

Let our "unreal" rapists go!

That seems to be the message in Kathleen Parker's column Sex, lies and prison. As long as the rapist is "a good son" and his victim isn't a stranger he snatched off the street, then he isn't a "real" rapist no matter what a jury decides. So much for the argument that rapists are "innocent until proven guilty."

For Ms. Parker, rapists are innocent until she decides otherwise.

For the past six months, I've been staring at a 30-pound box filled with court documents and what's left of a young man's life following one college night and a 5- to 15-second disputed sex act. That is, 5 to 15 seconds into the act of sexual intercourse, she said, "Stop."


The moral of Gorman's story, which can't be proved or disproved in this limited space, is that boys and men accused of rape have little hope of reclaiming the life they once knew, regardless of whether they're guilty or innocent.

Really? Tell that to Kobe Bryant.

And isn't it interesting that Ms. Parker makes all accused rapists, those innocent and those guilty of rape, sound like the only ones we should be concerned about in rape cases. Rape victims are only important if something about them can be used to make them seem less than "good."

Apparently, those of us who have been raped by "good" men or boys are only "good" if we shut up and let all "good" rapists continue on with their lives as if they've done nothing wrong. I bought into this destructive advice for far too long and paid a steep price for my silence.

If squashing victims' voices means those "good" men and boys continue with the same type of rapes, Ms. Parker doesn't care or will continue to blame the "bad" victims for the actions of "good" serial rapists.

Ms. Parker is blind to the irony that many "good" rapists pick victims who are vulnerable to attack and who are least likely to be believed if they do report. Ms. Parker's disbelief that "good" men and boys commit "real" rapes is so strong that she sees all prior reports of rape as proof that the alleged victim must be the real perpetrator.
One minute a junior at Florida State University majoring in business/computer systems, the next a prison inmate labeled a sex offender.

Uh huh, it happened just like that. But somewhere in that minute, the accused had time to turn down a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and given him twelve months probation. But does Ms. Parker scold him for his stupidity at not taking the deal? Nope. She continues to paint him as the only victim in this case.

With so much glossed over in this article, there is no way I can trust that Ms. Parker has accurately given readers the full picture of the events that led to this man's conviction. With her "I only see wrongly-accused men" glasses, she can't do anything except discount all elements in this case that counter her vision of who is a criminal and who is not.

But all is not lost for our wholesome convicted rapist. He reconnected with his high school sweetheart and got her pregnant. No marriage yet for this wholesome father and convict, but in this case Ms. Parker approves.

This backlash against the prosecution of "good" rapists will continue to grow as the minimum sentences for rape convictions go up. Of course another irony is that those behind the backlash are often those behind the push to increase minimum sentences given to "real" rapists.

For you men who would never rape any girl or woman, not even the "bad" ones, it should bother you that Ms. Parker lumps you in with "good" rapists.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:43 AM   0 comments links to this post


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