Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Of Primaries and Priviledge

Today is the California primaries.  At long last, Californians have a say in this election.  Fittingly, I was up most of the night with a wrenching bad gut.  Swell.  I vote by mail and so my vote was tallied two to three weeks ago and I've had my say.  What is going to happen is anybody's guess.  In this strange through the looking glass election anything it seems can. and does. happen.

I have sworn to not post any political rants on Facebook.  I can only manage this because I made a bet that if I did post something, I would pay $20 to the person who spotted it first.  I needed a little financial incentive.  Of course my dear friends, and I mean that sincerely, piped up and asked "Have you won the lottery?" I guess I've been a little more vocal than I had thought.   The arguments and discussions I was getting into on Facebook were leading nowhere and it just became exhausting and I knew I had to stop.  Cold Turkey, baby.  That's how I roll.

And yet another out rage has taken the place of politics: the Brock Turner sexual assault case in Santa Clara, CA.  A slap on the wrist for rape for a white privileged private school punk rapist molester felony criminal.  A walking piece of garbage.  The only uplifting thing about this case is the widespread public outrage and condemnation of Brock Turner.   Rape on college campuses is nothing new.  It has happened to people I know.  Rape off of college campuses has happened to people I know.  I know the distress a victim goes through when questioned on the stand in court.  The constant implication that she somehow brought this crime on herself .  How is it still OK for a victim to be asked what she was wearing or how much she was drinking?  How is that still permissible?  Many years ago, my father was brutally mugged and beaten on the streets of San Diego.  They never caught the guy so there was never a trial but I can't imagine an attorney asking my father, "What were you wearing when he mugged you?"  Never the implication that if maybe he had a few drinks at lunch then he was just asking to be mugged as he walked back to his office mid day .

Rape culture is the dance partner of privilege.  They sway to the sounds "I. Me. Mine."  All through the day.  The culture is changing, and it is a slow hard slog.  Too many women are still discouraged from reporting assaults because they know the anguish that will bring upon them.  I leave you with this great letter written by Matt Lang, posted on FB:

I've been drunk many times, even in the presence of promiscuous women who were also drunk, and I managed not to rape them, so I don't think drinking and promiscuity are the problems.
This here is the problem: some guys are entitled pricks, and they're entitled pricks because their fathers and coaches and friends taught them to be entitled pricks. Because they are entitled pricks, they think they can have whatever they want, and that their worth is defined by what they have and what they take.
Alcohol has this capacity to unlock what, deep down, we've always wanted to do. For me, that means, occasionally, running naked in places I probably shouldn't, like through libraries or deserts (remember for next time: deserts=cactuses). But even at my most intoxicated, I've never lost sight of the fact that rape is wrong, because I was raised to know it's wrong. No amount of alcohol can depress that value.
Brock Turner and his ilk were never taught that. They were taught that they can have what they want, when they want, including women. And that's called being a man. Brock Turner thought he was entitled to a little "action" any way he could get it, and he thought that long before he got drunk. The alcohol didn't introduce that thought, it unlocked it. That thought: "I can take whatever I want, including her", was planted and watered by a whole, rotten village.
It is right that we shame him, and his father, and the friend that came to his defense, and the judge, and every other entitled prick we meet.
Just as importantly, we need to love our boys, and teach them the dignity of the body, and how to live through disappointment and confusion, and how to navigate confusing feelings, and how to separate feelings from action, and how to communicate and listen. We need to redefine for them what it is to be a man, that their worth doesn't come from that which they have and take.


  1. It couldn't have been said better.

  2. The more I heard about that family, the worse it sounded. But I did see today the two young men who saw what was happening, stopped the guy and when he tried to run tackled him. Definite heroes as otherwise, he'd have gotten away with it. I also saw a man in prison for the rest of his life for growing pot in his son's backyard00 just three plants... he happens to be black. This is affluenzia all right and permeating our courts where the rich get off from what the poor would be thrown in jail forever.

  3. I love what Matt Lang wrote. So true. I've had my share of alcohol and pot, and never once did I ever want to hurt anyone. Such a revelation.

    1. Most women enjoy getting high just like men. Unlike some men, women don't rape when high. Go figure.

  4. beautiful post Tara, Matt Lang's post is wonderful. So very proud of you.

    1. Matt's statement particularly resonates because he is a man. A decent man. A respectful man.