||[Sep. 26th, 2005|09:23 pm]
There's got to be something interesting about a weekend in which I am told that I help make life hellish for the victims of rape. (Yes, I know; you can stop laughing now.) There's something doubly interesting about it when I realize that, on the whole, it made me feel good.|
See, the situation was this. I was involved in a disucssion about fly fishing... okay, you got me, it was about rape, but it would have been more believable if it had started off about fly fishing.
The topic was raised that there was a situation in which an 11 year old boy, who had been raped himself, had raped an 8 year old girl. That was the sum total of the knowledge we had.
Now, some of you probably know how they write rape laws. In a college discussion in New Jersey, a person who knew the law said that there was no "rape" in New Jersey state law, there was "gross sexual imposition", involving touching a non-consenting person on the breasts, thighs, buttocks, or genitals (or forcing the person to come into contact with the perpetrator's own, maybe - it was a long time ago). They're written broadly, to avoid having a rapist walk because some specific action didn't occur. (For example, I have yet to hear of a rape law that required any form of penetration.)
An 11 year old boy who's been raped, his sense of proper boundaries could well have been shattered. I'm sure he did something pretty bad; I doubt they'd have used the term "rape" otherwise. Nevertheless, I can imagine a dozen different scenarios in which there was nothing nastily malicious in his actions. Kids who've been abused in that manner often have screwed up senses of proper boundaries, and have often been convinced that there's nothing bad being done to them.
I can also, of course, imagine some scenarios that are inexcusably brutal. But, geez, while they're possible, this is an 11 year old child! They are *not* the only possibilities.
So, what caused it to be said that I was helping to make the lives of rape victims hellish? I said we didn't know that he had to be incarcerated. We didn't have enough information to make that determination.
See, that's caring more for a RAPIST than the VICTIM. Note, not a hypothetical 11 year old boy who was raped... no, somehow thinking an 11 year old rape victim might not belong in jail meant that rapists were more important to me than their victims. Lord and lady, save us from extremists!
Well, I gave the only answer that make sense to such a ludicrous accusation. I said it was bullshit. Apparently, to other extremists, that was not the right answer. :-)
The good feelings, though... I didn't rise to obvious bait. I stayed calm in the face of some really stupid-ass slander. And, I tried to respond in a manner that might allow understanding to follow, though I had already acknowledged to myself that it wasn't likely to.
More importantly, I didn't get angry, because I realized that these people were blinded by the word. They heard "rape", and they were sure it was an aggressive, malicious act. They didn't want to know more because they didn't think they needed to.
For all that I stayed essentially calm, I do have to admit... this is one of those situations where, if life was fair, there'd be a button you could push, and force a person to know just *how stupid* the statement they just made was. I mean, it'd put Rush Limbaugh and a host of others out of business... but there's probably a downside, as well.
Anyway. There was a time of my life when this would have been upsetting... more upsetting than it had a right to be. I can now hope that it's another time of my life.
Oh: and if I'm ever such a fanatic about *anything*, to the point that I'll get angry because someone else says that there's a possibility that an 11 year old child, about whom nothing is known, doesn't belong in jail, please shoot me. Somewhere besides the head, because, by that time, it'll be clear the head is not a vulnerable target anymore. :-)