Sanctuary for the Abused
Saturday, March 26, 2005
A sad day for the human race
by Douglas Larsen (Manager: http://incestabuse.about.com/)
Once in awhile there comes a story that strains my ability to comprehend the level of hatred our society holds for women. In Illinois, four men were accused of sexually assaulting a sixteen-year-old girl. They had sex with her and wrote nasty words all over her body while she was unconscious. But after deliberating for only two hours, one of the perpetrators was found not guilty. According to the defense attorney, Robert Kuzas, "My argument all along was that it was consensual."
I wonder if he has a daughter.
Let's review the many, many wrong assumptions of this disgrace.
My observations are based on the law in Minnesota. Illinois law is probably different, although unless it was written sometime in the Stone Age, there's no avoiding the outrage, the harm to women, the insult to men, and the blame-the-victim mentality of this verdict.
Awareness of date-rape drugs has improved in the last few years, but apparently the jury missed out on one vital fact: the most common date-rape drug, by far, is alcohol. The other, more recent, drugs are just a blip on the radar screen compared to how often alcohol is used as a date-rape drug. In this case, a sixteen-year-old girl drank too much and passed out. She says she doesn't remember the events, which makes sense -- that's what happens when you're passed out.
The defense attorney made a big point out of this. A sixteen-year-old girl drank alcohol, and didn't know what her alcohol-consumption limits were. But what sixteen-year-old girl does? And four adult males, instead of helping her and protecting her as real men are supposed to do, abused her instead. A jury of eight women and four men apparently figured that that was appropriate punishment for one childish mistake.
There are several aspects of the law of consent that the trial ignored.
Consent means words or overt actions by a person indicating a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act with the actor. In the news stories of the event, even while describing the videotape, there is no mention of what words the girl said or overt actions she committed to indicate consent. Consent is active. A lack of "no" does not mean "yes." The lack of an active gesture of consent means that what happened was rape.
The jury didn't get this, so I'll say it again: words or overt actions are required to indicate consent. Apparently, at one point on the videotape, the girl groaned or moaned. For some reason, the jury decided that this fuzzy, ambiguous act indicated consent, and was not a noise of distress or confusion or fear from a child who had passed out. Unlike the jury, real men know that if you are not positive that you have consent, you stop and ask, and don't start again until you are certain.
Consent does not mean . . . that the complaintant failed to resist a particular sexual act. The fact that she did not resist does not mean she consented. Real men know that. Real men want more than a limp, unresisting body. Molesting an inert, helpless form is an act for sadists and weenies.
A person who is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless cannot consent to a sexual act. If she was passed out, or even if she was incredibly drunk, she could not consent. Real men know that too, and will refuse to take advantage. Wimps, weenies, and punks don't know the difference.
a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act . . .
The defense attorney asked the victim if she had consented to attending the party. He asked if she had consented to getting drunk. It amazes me that the judge even allowed these questions, because they are completely irrelevant to the question. Attending a party, and getting drunk, have nothing to do with whether she consented to gang rape and humiliation. The idea that a person -- especially a minor -- is not allowed one single mistake before "deserving" sexual assault is idiotic, unfair and completely un-American. The plain fact is, lots of girls attend parties, and lots of them get drunk. But in most cases, there are some real men on the scene who know that sex without consent makes you a criminal and a loser. In most cases, there are some real men who know that their duty is to protect this girl, not to torture her. To allow these four jerks to get away with their actions is a damned insult to every real man in the country -- and a message to women that the small minority of criminal males has society's permission to run amock.
A sad day for the human race
I can't imagine what those jurors thought. Twelve adults, and not one of them has a daughter? Eight women, and not one of them ever made a single error in judgement? Not one of those eight women were ever alone somewhere with a man, where if the man attacked her she would have had no defense?
Here's A Parallel
I remember once, in my late twenties, I attended a seminar at a college. I knew a woman there, and after the seminar I offered to walk her to her car because the neighborhood was not safe for women. As we strolled to her car, she began to talk about the Anita Hill controversy that was in the news at the time. She was vehemently against Anita Hill; didn't believe her at all, and found enormous fault with Anita Hill for having put herself in that situation.
And I remember, at the time, looking around at our surroundings. We were in a deserted, park-like area filled with trees. It was night. It was very dark, and there was no lighting in the area. We were completely alone. And I remember reflecting that if I assaulted her right then, right there . . . by her own rules, it would have been her fault. She had gone with me willingly. She would have had no witnesses to prove she had not consented. She had just confided that her boyfriend had recently dumped her -- and imagine what a defense attorney could have done with that! Just like the sixteen-year-old girl, the only thing keeping her safe was the character of the man she was with. But like the eight women on the jury, the irony of the situation completely escaped her.
I watched her get safely into her car, and waved as she drove away. I wondered if her attitude was one reason that neighborhood was not safe for women.
In Defense of Men
I've said it before, and I'll said it again. Real men don't take advantage of women -- much less girls! -- who have made one mistake, or made one questionable decision. When I was in college, a bunch of buddies and I were going to drive home from a bar. We'd been drinking. And a woman who also attended the college asked for a ride. We gave her the ride.
Should she have trusted us? Should she have gotten into the car with us? The twelve idiots on the Illinois jury would say no; that whatever happened to her next was her own fault. But me, and my buddies, and real men everywhere, shout out in enraged disagreement. Of course she should be able to trust us! Of course women should feel justified in expecting adult males to act like men! So when we dropped her off, safe and sound, it didn't even occur to us to feel virtuous. Assault her? Take advantage of her in any way? Ridiculous! Real men don't do that. Real men don't even consider it! And it's high time that juries, and our society in general, started expecting that too.
"Mother Of The Year"
After the verdict, the parents of the four men (they kept calling them "boys" even though they were over eighteen) celebrated. "I have a good feeling about all these kids," one mother said. Any evidence of shame? Any indication that her son had not been a fine, upstanding example of American manhood? Nope. Not a bit.
And the man who was aquitted? "I have a new life, I feel great," he said. He plans to join the Illinois National Guard.