What a few weeks it's been for sexual assault news.
It's a wonder the cops don't lock up all the men to keep women safe.
Oh, right. That's not how it works, is it? Silly me.
So anyway, let us begin right here at home.
You remember how, this past summer, B.C. confessed rapist Fernando Manuel Alves walked out with a 9 month conditional sentence after the judge described the assault on his victim as ''rough play?'' An ''opportunistic event" because she was drunk, possibly drugged, and couldn't say no? You know, the guy who really didn't do anything -- although what he did do landed him on sex offender registry for 20 years? That guy?
He's been the subject of police warnings and faces four counts of sexual assault.
But former B.C. Lion Josh Boden has been granted bail.
The reasons for Josh Boden being granted bail are covered by a publication ban.
He faces four sexual assault charges, all from alleged incidents in Downtown Vancouver and in and around SkyTrain stations.
Police say most of the attacks involve women being grabbed from behind in August and September.
Imagine being grabbed by a 205 pound man in an elevator.
Moving across the pond, the Daily Mail asks if date rape drugs aren't a myth. (I added the boldface.)
A controversial study, published last week, claimed drink spiking is an 'urban myth', a modern scapegoat for a generation of women who cannot face the fact that the vast amounts of alcohol many are imbibing could be in any way responsible for a loss of control, which can have devastating consequences.
'Something very curious is going on,' says Dr Adam Burgess, who spent a year researching the issue at the University of Kent's school of social policy for a project funded by the British Academy.
'How can you account for this great big gap between lack of any evidence for drink spiking and what so many women believe is going on?
'There's a displacement exercise going on here. Why, despite all the evidence, do women so readily blame the spiker rather than the amount of alcohol they are drinking? That is the real issue here.'
Could it be that women instinctively feel that if they admit to themselves how much they had drunk they would also be admitting they were somehow to blame for putting themselves at risk?
Believing your drink was spiked transfers the blame to a malevolent, external force, something which women have no control over. It shifts responsibility.
Alcohol expert Robin Touquet, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Imperial College, London, points out: 'Women are demonising so- called drink spiking rather than facing up to the fact that drinking too much alcohol can put them in a highly dangerous situation.
'Most of the time, drink spiking does not happen. It always comes down to booze.
'Alcohol is a drug and in excess it adversely affects every system in the body. The message to women is: "Don't make yourself vulnerable."'
'Research has identified that alcohol is far more likely to be a factor in rape and sexual assault cases than drug spiking.'
Dr Burgess believes while fear of drink spiking prevails, too little attention will be paid to how much women are drinking. The danger is that underestimating the danger will put women at further risk.
Because whatever the risks of the drink spiker coming after you - the chances are that alcohol will get to you first.
Now I am willing to concede that not every woman who claims she was drugged was in fact drugged, despite the easy availability of the offending substances. (And by the way, my impression is that people in Britain have a tendency to get really much more smashed than they do.) But, even if a small percentage of women are drugged, it's still a big problem.
What bugs me here is that, if a woman is out of her mind crazy drunk, she is in no position to give consent. What's more, this report, as well as the experts it quotes, imply that, if women get drunk, they're responsible for getting raped. Its their own damn fault.
Does that make any sense to anybody out there?
Didja notice how this report never mentions the guys who take advantage of this ''opportunistic'' event?
Reminds me of this hateful scene from Mall Cop Observe and Report:
Not to mention last month's horrific gang-rape of a teenager in California, a brutal two hour attack that ocurred while some 20 other guys watched and did nothing.
In summary: She asked for it, because girls and women aren't supposed to wear dresses (apparently not even to their high school homecoming dance); they aren't supposed to hang out in all-male groups; they aren't supposed to go outside at night; and they aren't supposed to get drunk. Some see a violation of any one of these rules -- or the many others imposed on women -- as bestowing some responsibility on the part of the victim; she's guilty by virtue of being incautious. Most folks, however, will take the same approach but insist on a semantic difference: They aren't blaming the victim, they're blaming the violence on her violations. In other words: She didn't deserve to be raped, but she was raped because she made some stupid mistakes.
Okay, it’s entirely valid to demonstrate that rape victims are more likely to have been incapacitated by alcohol than by drugs.
But rape is caused by rapists – not by women who are drunk or drugged,or by other risk-factors mentioned by the researchers such as walking alone at night.
Young women should of course be warned of the dangers of the world. But let’s be clear: Female students, or any woman of any age, should be able to get drunk, even make the mistake of getting too drunk, or walk home alone, or for that matter wear tiny skirts, without fear of sexual assault or rape.
I’m sure the good researchers of Kent University didn’t mean to suggest otherwise, but women aren’t raped by lager, alcopops and tequila slammers. It’s just important to remind ourselves where the crime is when studies like this are published.
So now, we go Down Under. (No jokes please.)
A group of past and present University of Sydney students set up a ''pro-rape'' page in the sports and recreation section on Facebook, describing themselves as ''anti-consent''.
The male students, mostly from the elite, all-male St Paul's College, initially ensured the ''Define Statutory'' group had an open, public profile, and proudly displayed their membership on their personal Facebook pages.
Both the commander of the NSW Police sex crimes unit and the head of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre condemned the site, describing it as ''grooming perpetrators of sexual violence''.
The Facebook page, which has since shut but ran from August until late last month, is part of a broader culture at the residential colleges that demeans women in a sexist and often sexually violent way, experts say.
The outgoing master of Wesley College, the Reverend David Russell, was much more frank about the issues facing the university's residential colleges, saying in his eight years in the role he had spoken to several female students who felt they had to leave college. ''They say 'I just don't feel safe.'''
For Mr Russell, ''this is a story that has to be told. There is no question in my mind, women are seen as meat. That is the awful, ugly truth of it.''
The commander of the NSW Police sex crimes squad, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, said when operational, the Facebook page - tagged ''pro-rape, anti-consent'' - was ''inciting people to sexual violence''.
Over at Feministing and Jezebel, they're asking why it is that Facebook would allow this while banning groups that promote breast-feeding. Good question. But I am far more disturbed by the fact that these brats thought it was okay to rape young women -- and I'm certain they're not the only ones.
Coming back States-side, Feministing considers the validity of rape statistics after two researchers from the Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund question how data are collected for government reports.They maintain that the rape figures are understated because the methodology used by government agencies is flawed.
And so, while the agencies may be reporting that rape incidents are being reduced, in fact the opposite is true.
Next, the H1N1 flu hysteria, and its connection to rape. Bitch magazine wants to know why we're not doing as much to prevent rape as we are to prevent the flu.
Now, I don’t want to diminish the grief of those who have lost loved ones to H1N1. I don’t even want to question the scientific validity of the Center for Disease Control’s decision to declare it a pandemic. But the fact remains that the impact of H1N1 is far less than that of other public health crises that receive a fraction of the attention and resources. The CDC reported just over 43,000 cases of H1N1 between April and July of this year and estimates that it will affect a million people, or 0.3% of the total population of the United States. Compare this to the 2.5% of women and 0.9% of men who reported being raped or sexually assaulted in the past year. The most recent statistics about rape available from the CDC are from last year. Swine flu? Last week.
What would our media, our public discourse, and our institutional responses look like if people cared as much about rape as they do about H1N1?
I imagine the federal government urging colleges to stop the epidemic of rape by developing protocols for quarantining students who have tried to use drugs or alcohol to incapacitate women who would otherwise not consent to sex. Or university officials directing students to stay off campus or out of public areas until they are free of the belief that they are entitled to sex any time they want for a full 24 hours. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
Sure, it sounds great. But, if anybody were to get quarantined, it probably would be the women, at least that's what I think. Because, we know that, women walking around late at night or having one too many cocktails are just begging for it.
Wouldn't want them leading on all those poor unsuspecting and helpless guys.