I started out with the intention of posting a rant about the media and the way that nothing positive is ever reported. I went to CNN.com and of the featured articles the first three are about rape. My focus changed.
Stories of gang rape seem to be all over the news. Human bodies , people with feelings and emotions, abused, humiliated….destroyed. For most of us the horror of such atrocities is overwhelming and we are repulsed. I/we want to believe that everyone except the monsters committing these acts, would feel the same. We need to believe that only a few in our midst would participate or condone evil like this. That everyone we know, if they were witness to these acts, would step in, stop it, defend the victim and testify, ensuring the monsters were punished.
It isn’t true. It is a terrible reality that very few are courageous enough in these times. Self preservation overrules good human decency far too often. Everyone says-I would help. I would do the right thing-but would you? If faced with a crowd of testosterone fuelled animals, would you risk becoming another victim by stepping up. Would you draw attention to yourself and risk a similar fate or would you fade into the background and hope to escape to safety? Can anyone be judged for doing what nature dictates…..survive?
The ones I feel we can all judge, can all direct our rage at and who I feel should be punished right along with the vile cretins committing the violations…..are the ones who egg it on. Who videotape, photograph and mock the atrocity. If it can be argued that it is human nature to protect oneself, fine, but what defence can be given to anyone who finds entertainment value in the suffering of another? Are they not merely monsters themselves? How can anyone claim that a woman who drinks too much or wanders alone deserves to feel the extreme physical and mental anguish of violent sodomy, rape and abuse? How can teenagers take pictures on their cell phones of the poor victim and post videos laughing at her and later defend the perpetrators? These pictures and videos, then uploaded to Social media for the world to see. What level of degradation do we draw the line at? What level of cruelty do we deem too much? If we are going to forgive the person who walks away because they fear for their own safety should we also forgive the one who laughs at such evil and not punish them because they didn’t participate? Then again, are they not participating in the crime by posting images of it online, furthering the pain and humiliation of the victim?
As a female, I can honestly say that sexual abuse has affected my life. While I was not raped I was molested by someone in a position of power over me. I was terrified and the feeling of helplessness that I experienced is not something I will ever forget. For me , it was a one time incident and I was able to remove myself from the situation eventually. I never pressed charges since at the young age of 15, which is when it happened, I was on my own and had no idea how to get help. Also, at the time I didn’t recognize it as a crime, just as an awful occurrence. I share this now of my own free will and I can not image my humiliation being available for anyone with an Internet connection to see and possibly delight in.
So what is the solution? First off, education. At home and in the schools. Our children need to be taught that these acts are beyond painful on many levels. They need to know that they are wrong, legally and ethically. They need to know that they will be punished for any level of participation. We need to instil morals in our children so that if they witness crimes of this nature they know that it is fundamentally important to stop it, report it and never ever celebrate it. It sounds like common sense to most of us but just take a look at Steubanville, Ohio and what is happening there. Not a city in a “third world“,impoverished country but a supposedly civilized North American city. They are not the only city in this part of the world that is seeing atrocities like this either but maybe because of the coverage this case is receiving we can all hope for change.
So while I set out to rant about negativity in media and its effects and while I still think the world would be a better place if we glorified the good as much as, if not more as, the bad, , I will hold that for another rant. Sometimes we need to shine the spotlight on the ugliness in order to get rid of it.