Monday, February 9, 2015

Upon Reflection

I just watched Dr. Phil's interview with Cory Batey, one of the first former Vanderbilt football players convicted of rape, and found myself overwhelmed by not just memories but by the reality of the world we live in.  I found myself almost jealous of the survivor, not for what she went through but that there was enough evidence to not just get the players charged but also convicted.  A huge percentage of rapes go unreported, and if reported they go no further, simply because in order for there to be a conviction there has to be an overwhelming amount of evidence to convict.  The "consequences" of reporting a rape (much less identifying your rapist) are often heavily weighted against the survivor, who becomes the victim yet again of both the justice system as well as society.  The general public seems to be unwilling to accept that there may be a rapist among them, and therefore finds ways to deny reality by blaming the victim in anyway it can come up with- her clothing, was she drinking, her sexual history, her hair color, how high her heels were, how did she walk, is she flirtatious?  When I am faced with a seemingly insurmountable struggle (for example, being raped) I tend to switch off emotions and try to deal solely in facts and logic.  I need to understand not just what happened, where and when, but why- Why did he do this?  I begin to sort out how I will handle things by formulating a plan.  With each assault and rape, my plans never included "call the police" because logically I knew what they would do, that there was no evidence or proof of the lack of consent- if I didn't have enough evidence to convince my friends there was no way the police would have enough to do anything but draw unwanted attention to my pain.  THIS IS NOT HOW OUR SOCIETY OR LEGAL SYSTEM SHOULD FUNCTION.  I don't pretend to have all the answers for a solution to the struggles of prosecuting rape cases, but I do know that one of the most important aspects is simply creating a society where rape is not a joke nor is it ever treated as anything less than the deplorable crime it is.  Men talk about the "bro code" and all the BS that goes with that- and I get it, stand by your man.  But what if the former Vanderbilt players had not gone with the "bro code"?  What if even just one of the numerous witnesses had spoken up and said "STOP"- there might have been one less rape, and several men wouldn't be facing decades behind bars.  Not to mention the fact that there would be one less rape survivor out there.  That segways into bystander intervention- I can't help but wonder how many guys saw my drinks drugged, guys who I considered my friends and trusted.  Not to mention the number of strangers who witnessed various things that should have led to someone intervening.  

I shared "part 1" of my story, but have struggled with sharing the rest several reasons, but a big part is that I know there are men out there who may read it and remember, men who could have prevented things from happening, men who told me I was lying or at fault when told afterwards what happened.  The number of men who witnessed various parts of the Vanderbilt rape and said nothing is deplorable and disgusting, even more so because it is not in the least surprising.