The Brock Turner rape case and The Bachelorette are connected however bizarre that may seem. And it does seem rather bizarre.
I don’t like to get political here. I really don’t, but the political is personal, and so I find myself needing to speak.
Actually, I said it all on Facebook last week, and a good Facebook post shouldn’t go to waste. So I decided to collect some of what I said here. After all you might have missed it, and nobody wants that.
I didn’t want to write about the Brock Turner rape case because, honestly, I think I’m at the point of injustice fatigue. When I read the news I just slumped over my computer keyboard, muttering, “Not another one.” I knew the internet would be flooded with posts, and I didn’t think I had anything intelligent to add to the conversation. So I kept quiet. I’ve already said what I have to say on rape and the culture that keeps it thriving in this country on The Good Men Project. The Stanford rapist, the father whose statement makes it clear how exactly to raise a rapist, and the judge are just another sickening example of that.
But then in the wake of that horrible news last week I flick on the TV and, against my better judgment, tuned into “The Bachelorette.” It’s one of the worst shows out there, I know, but when you’re exhausted and depleted and desperate for something mindless and open to endless mockery, The Bachelorette is the program to watch. When I turned it on, the contestants were in a football stadium where the males could literally battle it out in some sort of demented, 21st Century contest for JoJo’s love because clearly tests of brute strength is the only way men can prove their worth and demonstrate their compatibility as a mate. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed my husband to tackle another man for me. Usually it’s while we’re shopping in Costco, and someone has taken the last pizza bagel bite from the little red sample tray.) But that’s not the point I wanted to make.
The point is as the camera sweeps across the football field, looming large in the middle is Ben Roethlisberger. All of the male contestants are all clearly enamored with this man, and in true Bachelor/Bachelorette style, they are all gushing profusely over him. I new nothing about this person because I try my hardest not to know anything about sports – it only upsets me – but my husband happened to be in the room, and he made a comment.
“Out of all the football players, that’s they guy they pick? A rapist.”
“What?” I scrambled to sit up in my seat. My husband typically doesn’t take any social, political or moral stands. He cares. Just not enough to get outraged about things. He leaves that to me. So this statement came as a bit of a surprise. My husband briefly explained that Roethlisberger had been accused of rape and although he wasn’t charged, his reputation was not untarnished.
This came a day after the recall petition for the California judge in the Brock Turner rape case and two days after the news broke of the paltry 6 month sentence the rapist received after the prosecutor had won a unanimous conviction, which is pretty close to miraculous. And here we are putting a known assailant on national TV – a dating show no less – and celebrating him. The men and one woman on the show could not be more sycophantic over this accused rapist. It was heart-warming to watch.
While I know Roethlisberger was not charged in the most recent case (which sadly is fairly common and is also no indication of his innocence) concerning a 20-year-old student who was plied with alcohol by Roethlisberger and then taken to a back room in a bar by Roethlisberger’s bodyguard who then blocked the entrance, the fact that he received any kind of disciplinary action from the NFL who likes to protect its rapists and wife beaters, tells you something. Roethlisberger is also being sued in another previous sexual assault case so his connection to this crime is not new. While he may not have been found guilty (yet), the fact that he has been implicated in a vile and contemptible crime (twice) should be enough to keep people from lionizing him and major television networks from chasing after him for television spots.
But this is our society where none of that matters. You can treat women however you want because what are the repercussions? Typically you won’t be convicted, and that’s if charges are even brought. On the off chance you do, you’ll only face 6 months in county jail because more time in an actual prison is far too harsh, and as Judge Persky, the judge in the Brock Turner case, said would have a “severe impact” on the criminal. We wouldn’t want that, would we? On the bright side, the rapist might get a T.V. show or book deal out of it so you really have to look at the positives.
This is rape culture at its best.
Why is rape the only crime for which people – the general public, the media, the very people charged with enforcing the criminal justice system – feel bad for the rapist?Why is rape the only crime ppl-the public, the media, the ppl charged w/ enforcing the law-feel bad 4 the… Click To Tweet
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