Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What a World

First, I have failed at my two-post-a-week goal.  But I shall try to meet it henceforth.  Second, I realized that if something keeps bouncing up in my mind, it's probably worth writing about.  Third:  the forthcoming rant is related to having a child.  More or less.

Why do people become professional athletes?  I'm starting to think it's because they are dreaming of having a status where the rules no longer apply to them.  In high school, I read a science fiction story set in a future where instead of having wars, there were regularly scheduled war games.  People still died, but it contained the mess.  The survivor(s) of those games could do whatever they wanted to after the games were over.  They were heroes.  The story ended with the survivor raping his underaged neighbor because she was just something he saw and wanted, and no one could tell him no.

Enter Ben Roethlisberger.  #7, because typing his name is a pain, and I don't like saying it.  Clearly he read the same story (if he, you know, reads) and instead of being saddened was intrigued.  The man has thrice eluded very well documented rape/assault charges.  How?  A small army of well-paid attorneys and the might of the NFL.  The NFL, which suspended another player a year for DUI-related vehicular manslaughter.  Yep, a year, for killing someone with a car.  Given that precedent, perhaps the lightness of #7's suspension should not be a surprise.  And, in the end, they are just a business, and can do what they please with their employees.

However, society as a whole... did not rail against #7.  This bothers me.  We live in a world where so many actions have a clear message:  women do not matter as much as [fill in the blank].  In this case, women do not matter as much as a professional athlete.  Am I saying the women involved are poor innocents who couldn't have known better, or who were conducting themselves like nuns?  No.  But I will very firmly defend the idea that no one deserves to be sexually assaulted.  Ever.  No one is asking for it, or being a tease.  A mistake in judgment or a flaw in character should not result in your being violated.

Out and about this weekend, I saw a little girl in a pink and white #7 jersey.  That prompted a big "what the heck?" from me.  We need to teach our daughters - AND our sons - that women are just as important as men.  We are not second-class citizens.  We need to teach them that just because someone can throw a touchdown or hit a home run (skills which are ultimately not that useful), they do not get to live by a different set of rules.

So I'm glad that rapist had his nose broken.  I doubt it will make him respect women, and it's a far cry from his being jailed and having his livelihood taken away, but it's something.  And parents?  Maybe don't put a rapist's jersey on your little girl.

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