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Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:21 PM

Rape, part two

{1} There is a core of participants on the Democratic Underground who have a solid grasp of 1960s/early ’70s trivia, including little-known or long-forgotten stuff about The Beatles. (And that includes some post-breakup information.) While younger folks may associate music videos with MTV, we older people know that the Beatles made some outstanding ones, too. John and Yoko did as well; more, they made some thought-provoking non-musical videos.

I’m not sure how many here will recall that John & Yoko produced a short film titled, “Rape, part two” (also known as “Rape”). Probably a few have actually seen it. After starting on a pleasant note, it made a deep and disturbing statement.


{2} I’ve told parts of this before in other discussions on this forum: 14 years ago, a racist hate gang attacked my nephew, a high school student who took his basketball team to win a state title. He had a lot of local and state-wide media attention, which the gang resenting going to a person with brown skin. Various gang members would come from another town, to watch my nephew’s team, and would call him “porch monkey” and things like that.

In time, it went from attempted insults at sporting events, to incidents where my nephew received threats. Progress has been made on “racial” issues in this country during my lifetime, but there is still a lot of hatred out there. Eventually, a group of five young men found my nephew in an isolated spot, and attacked him. My nephew “won” that day, in the sense that the leader of the group was hospitalized, two others were injured, and the other two ran as fast as they could when my nephew was not only fighting back, but getting the best of it.

About a month later, as he and a friend were leaving a canoe regatta at night, the full gang of 17 young men attacked them from behind, knocking them unconscious with rocks or bottles, then administering savage beatings. A lady who witnessed the assault described it as being “like a pack of wolves attacking.” They left my nephew for dead.

I know that some of the police, and one assistant DA, wanted to prosecute the crime as an “attempted murder.” But that didn’t happen. Long story short: the gang leader ended up getting fined $50 for having an open beer in public at the time of the assault.

The assault took place on the Friday night of the Memorial Day weekend. I remember on Tuesday morning at work, talking with my supervisor’s supervisor at the mental health clinic. She told me to feel free to deal with the situation, including making phones calls from work to police, prosecutors, and others, as well as taking time off as needed. Then she said, “The process that your nephew will be going through is almost the same as a rape victim.”


{3} A few of the gang members were still in high school; some were in college; and some others were a bit older, and employed in their community. But when the group that came to court every week, to support my nephew and his friend, and to demand justice be done, some members of one of the NAACP branches noticed something curious. Virtually all of the gang had, at some time or another, attending one of the non-violent dispute resolution workshops the NAACP brought to their high school. It’s not, of course, that their program was lacking in value -- but these fellows didn’t think the laws of a civil society applied to them. And, as I’ve noted, the local court tended to agree with them on that.

My nephew and I would discuss the assault quite a bit over the next year or so. I never questioned the way he was dressed that night, or why he opted to have brown skin. But I did talk about the importance of being aware of your surroundings -- including being aware of the nature of others in the area. That’s not to say that my nephew and his friend did anything “wrong” in walking by themselves to their car, which was parked in a large, unlighted field. But they had seen some of the gang were at the regatta hours earlier. Maybe if they had walked to their cars with a larger group of friends …..maybe ….. maybe.

I have sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews. And I know a lot of their friends. I have talked to these young people about a wide range of topics, over the years. These include some of the unpleasant realities of today: there are packs of wolves, and lone wolves, who do not adhere to the same code of conduct that we do. They can come in either sex; any color; rich or poor; young or old; and even wearing the garbs of authority. They have no more conscience than does a dog mad with rabies; thus, they can sit through a class or a lecture or a workshop on anything and everything from rape to assault and murder, and never think it applies to them.

Again, this does not lessen the value of classes, lectures, or workshops. They are important. Yet -- also again -- the wolves do not think the laws of a civilized society apply to them …..and far too often, despite the efforts of the good cops and prosecutors, the wolves in the legal system do not protect the innocent victims of violent crime.

It would be great if it wasn’t that way. But it is. And that being so, good people do need to be awake and aware of their surroundings, and all that involves.

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Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply Rape, part two (Original post)
H2O Man Nov 2012 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Nov 2012 #1
LineLineReply .
rhett o rick Nov 2012 #4
H2O Man Nov 2012 #16
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #22
LadyHawkAZ Nov 2012 #2
bettyellen Nov 2012 #5
H2O Man Nov 2012 #17
LadyHawkAZ Nov 2012 #18
Squinch Nov 2012 #3
Cleita Nov 2012 #6
H2O Man Dec 2012 #23
drmeow Nov 2012 #8
H2O Man Dec 2012 #24
Cleita Nov 2012 #7
H2O Man Dec 2012 #25
ProfessionalLeftist Nov 2012 #9
wickerwoman Nov 2012 #13
ProfessionalLeftist Nov 2012 #15
Maraya1969 Nov 2012 #10
sheshe2 Nov 2012 #11
cali Nov 2012 #12
H2O Man Dec 2012 #21
DaveJ Nov 2012 #14
riderinthestorm Nov 2012 #19
H2O Man Dec 2012 #20
coeur_de_lion Dec 2012 #26

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:41 PM

1. My dear H20 Man...

I do not have the words to properly express my shock and anger at what happened to your nephew.

The gang leader ended up getting fined $50 for having an open beer in public at the time of the assault. How is this possible?

I can see why people turn to retribution, to mob hits, to anything which will relieve their anger when they do not get justice in our courts. Yes, your nephew was raped.


And so were we all. When we allow this sort of thing to go virtually unpunished, none of us walks away unscathed. Do not misunderstand: I am not diminishing what happened to your nephew.

We all suffer at the hands of unlawful people.

My god.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:08 PM

4. .

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:24 PM

16. My biggest fear

at the time was that one summer's night, a group of my nephew's friends would travel to the other town -- about 15 miles away -- and seek revenge. Young men do, at times, engage in that type of behavior.

I also had a couple men (who were serious and capable) ask me if I wanted them to do me a favor? Indeed, I did: do not take any action beyond attending the court process, which lasted from June to October. Or write a letter to a newspaper. But definitely not go out to try to violently get revenge, even if they were confident they would never get caught.

Yet I fully understood why all those people felt that way. In fact, there were times when such thinking played in my mind, late at night. But we won't curb violence with more violence, or cure hatred with more hatred. Somehow, as difficult as it can be, we need to continue working towards being a nation of laws, a land where social justice becomes our reality.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 10:59 AM

22. When the creep who raped my friend got aquitted I wanted to kill the fucker.

I had rather sick dark fantasies of torturing the SOB to death.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:43 PM

2. It's not only thinking that the rules don't apply to them, specifically

as people; it's also finding reasons why the rules don't apply to the specific situation they're in. "I'm not a racist, but..." "It's not rape if..."

Even people who generally accept and approve of the rules society sets for them can find reasons why those rules don't apply to their situation, when they want to badly enough.

Great post. Deserves a kick.

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:11 PM

5. knowing that the local police will not enforce laws emboldens them....

Both his nephews attackers and acquaintance rapers in many cities and college campuses. On top of education of how the law works- they need to stop seeing others gets away with it.
It's a big cultural change, but it's something we need to whole heartedly focus on.

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:29 PM

17. The fellow who

wore a black robe and heard the criminal cases -- and I cannot in good conscience call him a "Judge," perhaps an "Injustice," instead -- heard testimony that the gang leader had repeatedly called my nephew a "dumb nigger." But, the Injustice said, he didn't think that calling someone a "dumb nigger" meant the assault was racially motivated.

That was a gross example of how people, and not only easily-identified "thugs," do not see rules as applying to everyone.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:46 PM

18. My heart goes out to you, your nephew and your family

It's an awful story.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:05 PM

3. I too am so sorry that happened to your nephew. But forgive me, I am not sure what your

message is.

First, your nephew was not raped, is that correct? I am not saying that the assault was any less horrific if he was not, but I am unclear from your post if that was part of the assault.

Second, is your message that many violent crimes, like rapes and assaults of this kind, might be avoided if the victims were more careful?

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Response to Squinch (Reply #3)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:12 PM

6. I believe he was trying to say that rape is really a brutal assault no different

than an assault that leaves you bloodied and broken even though there was no sex involved. Rape, like getting a beating is not about sex. It's about power and the powerful humiliating and hurting those they deem inferior to them.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:32 PM

23. Thanks.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #3)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:56 PM

8. I also think his message is

(and correct me if I'm wrong, H2O Man) that we need to teach both "how to avoid getting raped" AND "don't rape".

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Response to drmeow (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:32 PM

24. Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:16 PM

7. I hope your nephew is well today and has

been able to put this behind him, not to drink the soma to forget, but to find something in it that will serve him in his lifetime. Too bad those wolves as you call them haven't paid the price of their hatred, yet. But as I grow old in life, I have found some truth in the old adage, that what goes around comes around. You don't have to take vengeance, nor is it your job, but it will come in ways that are often surprising.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:34 PM

25. I agree.

What goes 'round, comes 'round. We might not always see it, of course. But life happens in strange ways.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:08 PM

9. I have always resented the fact that the targets or victims of violent crime

are always admonished to change their behavior (or even told their behavior was the cause of the attack ie: blame the victim), while no one asks the "wolves" / perpetrators to change their behavior and no one blames them for their own behavior, least of all the legal system.

No one - absolutely no one - can control another person's behavior. They can only control their own. It's too bad that society and the legal system does not require behavioral control from abusers/criminals - but rather only from their victims.

Maybe that is a clue as to why these types of crimes have never decreased. No one expects them to completely stop, but the incidence - particularly of rape - has only increased.

Only when it hurts violent offenders to hurt other people, only when THEY are told THEY must change their OWN behavior or be hurt themselves (professionally, academically, legally or financially), will these types of crimes even begin to decrease.

One thing I've learned in this world: there is only ONE thing that stops abusive or violent offenders and that is when it hurts THEM to hurt someone else. It's the only thing they understand - their own well-being. When THAT is threatened, they become big chickenshits - and they stop.

Too bad our society and legal system instead chooses to encourage and protect violent offenders rather than holding them responsible for their own behavior. Particularly racists, homophobes, and rapists, but also abusive partners and spouses, as well.

It's a bassackwards world we live in.

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Response to ProfessionalLeftist (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:53 PM

13. And to take it one step further,

part of the reason the legal system encourages and protects violent offenders is because of the underlying mentality that the victim must have been doing something provocative or at least could have been doing more to promote their own safety.

A culture shift that emphasized the absolute wrongness of all kinds of rape and borderline rapey behaviour and which promoted respect for others, for women, for minorities and for oneself and taught clear boundaries for acceptable behaviour towards others would also increase the likelihood that law-enforcement and the criminal justice system would pursue these kind of crimes more seriously.

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Response to wickerwoman (Reply #13)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:58 PM

15. +1000 n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:09 PM

10. This is just awful. I hope your nephew heals from this and I hope your family does too.

I am so sorry.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:25 PM

11. I am so very sorry H2O man.

I wish your nephew and family have found Peace.

She

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:29 PM

12. I'm so sorry about your nephew, but I think the message you're conveying is wrong

There is, I think, a thin line between being aware and being hypervigilant. I honestly don't believe that going through life thinking that there are gangs of "wolves" out to get you, is a healthy way of being.

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Response to cali (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 10:53 AM

21. Okay, then let's

use the example of snapping turtles. And not flocks of snapping turtles -- just individual ones.

I don't encourage that anyone walking down the streets of Brooklyn, during any season of the year, be on the look-out for snapping turtles. No need to.

But if anyone is walking through the bog that I like to explore, a few miles from my home, and especially during a particular week during the summer when snapping turtles lay eggs, I do suggest being aware of snapping turtles.

(Still, I plead guilty to being "hypervigilant." A friend from mental health once said it would be odd if I wasn't. See, in the bigger discussion of rape, I've had numerous relatives and friends who have been raped. Mostly females, but two males as well: one in prison, one raped and murdered hitchhiking. And I've had way too many relatives and friends murdered, both male and female. Add to that the number of times I've been assaulted, had guns aimed at me, cut with knives, and just plain old threatened.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:56 PM

14. It might have been avoided if people were more educated.

People agree, "how to avoid rape" is not the best approach.

Standing Up Against Violent Rape Mentality would be better.

Fact is, people least in danger of being raped need to be alert and vigilant and willing to stand in support of those who are at risk.

You mentioned a gang and that gang did not form in a bubble. You said a group of 17 and those were people who had families, friends, etc., who turned a blind eye, and ultimately the law also turned a blind eye. That is where the tragedy lies. Your nephew could have been warned by others if he was in love, at the peak of his life, and not too concerned about things that led to what happened. It was tragic. I'm so sorry that in this situation, in many ways society failed.

Being good is great, but even greater are people who stand up against evil. If we teach anything it should be that being good is a powerful thing. Being good is not a simple just a passive existence. Good people should not tolerate horrendous people around them. Good people should speak up, try to change things. Then we will have fewer victims.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:04 PM

19. I'm sorry for your nephew. However rape isn't analogous to his situation

"Being aware" of one's environment because of the "wolves" doesn't cover most rapes in this country. They are date/acquaintance rapes primarily.

Trying to equate getting physically beaten up in a gang situation, as though its anything like a rape is wrong. Getting physically violated sexually is NOT analogous to being beat up (are you really a social worker or just pretending to be one?)

Sorry but I actually work regularly with my local women's shelter (do you need proof of that as well?)

Unrec.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 10:36 AM

20. "Bitterness

contaminates the vessel which contaiins it."

Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:28 AM

26. Beautifully said H20

As usual. I don't have much of an idea what it might be like to be a young person with brown skin in today's society. Maybe my Irish ancestors would have a better understanding.

In spite of the progress we have made recently (elected a black president -- twice!) the wolves are still out there and still as dangerous as they were in 1950.

I think there are fewer of them... But they are still there and they still scare the hell out of me. And I am a white middle aged woman. Just imagine, if my skin were brown. Well I can't. Plain and simple.

What is that old saying from the sixties? Bless the beasts . . . . and the CHILDREN. God help them.

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