No Means No

While driving to work this morning, I listened to the Russ Parr Morning Show during the People Poll question segment.  (I’m a notorious channel surfer.)  The question dealt with the recent news surrounding former NFL player Darren Sharper, who has been accused of sexual assault on a total of nine women in five different states; so far he’s only been formally charged in two states-most recently Arizona-with charges pending in other states, along with Erick Nunez. There are even reports that state some of these women were drugged.  Parr asked, “Do women bare some of the responsibility if they are sexually assaulted?”  I genuinely wanted to hear what people thought, so my ears perked up.  And I was shocked at what I heard.

Most of the callers, especially the women, stated that women do bare some of the responsibility if they are sexually assaulted.  I.was.floored.  I was even more shocked when a victim of sexual assault called in and said she deserved to shoulder some of the responsibility of her attack.  The only person who said anything that made any type of sense was the show’s “intern”, Brittany.  If a woman is drunk, has been drugged, or is otherwise incoherent, she cannot consent, and thus anything that happens to her is rape.

Now, let’s chat for a minute.  Growing up, heck even now at 31 years old, my mother told me to always be careful, be extra cautious when I’m out by myself, and to not go out alone at night.  Essentially, she was telling me to never make myself a target for a predator.  Now, since I am not a parent and I don’t have any brothers, I wonder what the parents of sons are teaching them.  Are they being told to respect women?  To not take advantage of women?  To not attack them?  To leave a woman alone when she says “no”, REGARDLESS of what is being done when she says it OR what she has on?

As I’ve stated in a previous post, we live in a patriachal society, so I doubt it.  At least not to the degree that little girls/women are told to not make themselves a target.  Not to the degree that we are told to not dress provocatively.  Not to the degree that we are told to behave like a lady to not give people the wrong impression.

If I can make an educated guess, little boys/young men are taught to be assertive, go-getters, and to weild as much power and prowess as they can.  And due to no limitations being put on them, they are used to getting what they want.  They are not used to hearing “no”.  And God forbid he’s an athlete AND attractive.  That’s a recipe for disaster.  He’s used to getting what he wants-the girl, the (fixed) grades, the acceptance letter to a big college, and the chance to go pro.

Clearly non-professional athletes are guilty of sexual assault as well.  But some men like to feel powerful.  And when someone, anyone, wants to take that power away, they feel threatened.  And a huge disservice is being done when we make our children think they can get whatever they want.  Why?  Because they become adults who think they can get whatever they want and will take it, regardless of what has to be done to get it.

A friend on Facebook once updated her status to say that we teach our girls about sexual assault and how to avoid it, but are boys taught the same thing?  If not, I implore parents of young men to sit your sons down and talk to them.  Tell them that when a young lady says “no” she means “no”.  Tell them they can’t always get what they want.  Tell them how to protect themselves and to not put themselves in a compromising position.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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Here We Go Again…

You know, Michael Dunn may spend the rest of his life in prison, but Jordan Davis still has not received justice. And as Southern Dad pointed out to me this weekend after the jury came back with a verdict on 4 of the 5 counts Dunn was charged with, Dunn’s punishment for his misdeed may not come on this Earth, but it will come from the Lord. While I know he is right, I find it completely unfathomable that he (Dunn) could not be found guilty of murdering an unarmed CHILD but found guilty of attempted second degree murder. As I mentioned in my personal Facebook page, I think the prosecution overcharged Dunn; I think he should have been charged with second degree murder. And Angela Corey, the state attorney, mentioned that the state intends to re-try Dunn for the murder of Davis, but they (the prosecution) will speak with Jordan’s family before moving forward.

Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, has the right idea; she has said that she will pray for Dunn and his family. Would it not be amazing if we ALL thought as she? Without having hate or malice in our hearts. Although the state of Florida plans to re-try Dunn, is it worth it? As long as he does not become free after any appeals, which he plans on doing, he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. Should the state use time and resources to do this all over again? I honestly don’t know. Hopefully, if Dunn does appeal his convictions, they will not be overturned, and he will have to spend the rest of his days in jail.

Lastly, I’m going to share some names with you, and I hope you all do a Google search – Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Hadiya Pendleton. And let’s not forget Jonathan Ferrell and Renisha McBride. Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Blame the Victim

People have been known to blame victims of date rape.  Others have said that the victim of a car or home burgarly are to blame.  And now, a few folks have taken to blaming Trayvon for his own murder.  If you’re an American and haven’t heard about Trayvon Martin, you obviously live under a rock.  In an effort to de-humanize Trayvon and justify George Zimmerman’s actions, reports are now coming out saying that Trayvon had been suspended from school for having a baggie that had drug residue.  And Geraldo Rivera commented that Trayvon’s hoodie is as much to blame for his death as George Zimmerman. *blank stare*

Just so we’re clear, folks, let’s state the obvious-George Zimmerman, riding around his neighborhood, spotted a young boy.  He called the police and reported a “suspicious person”.  Even after the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow the young man, he did anyway.  Not only did he follow him, he exited his car, with a gun, and approached this “suspicious person”.  No one, besides Trayvon and George, know what happened next, but we do know that the end result was a 17 year old kid who lost his life.

Let’s try to imagine things from Trayvon’s perspective-he’s a 17 year old CHILD.  And if his parents were like mine and most others, they probably told him to be weary of/don’t talk to strangers.  And this man who’s following him and eventually approaches him, is a stranger.  Honestly, I’m almost 30 years old and still give people the side-eye who approach me and I don’t know who they are.  But I digress…A stranger approaches you and asks you what you’re doing in the neighborhood.  Now, if he’s like most teenage boys, he might be feeling himself and give a smart remark.  Or, if he’s a little more mannerable, he might answer with a little more respect.  But if we want to be honest, Trayvon does not owe this man anything.  He’s not an officer, and he’s not an official- he’s an overzealous neighborhood watch captain.  IMHO, anyone who exits his car with a firearm is looking for trouble.  And I honestly believe that even if Trayvon told George he was visiting his father and his girlfriend, it would not have mattered. 

Now, for you people that seem to think this is only about race, it’s not.  The fact of the matter is that this unarmed boy was shot and killed (murdered, if you will), and his killer walks free.  In fact, his killer was never arrested.  It appears that the police department is serving double duty and has done the job of the attorneys.  Just so we’re clear on how this works, the police normally take the shooter in (ESPECIALLY if they have confessed), question them, then book them.  It’s up to the DA or prosecutor to decide if they want to take this to trial.  And honestly, because this man has still, one month and one day after this shooting occured, not been arrested, tensions are high and the family (along with the world) want answers…and more importantly an arrest. 

To those of you that ask what justice is, I’ll tell you- Justice, in this case, is for George Zimmerman to be arrested and charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin.  He can either plead guilty or plead innocent and go to trial and let a jury of his peers decide his fate. 

I’ve said all I will for now.  But please don’t doubt for a second that this is the last time you’ll hear about Trayvon on this blog; I can guarantee you it won’t be.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.