Tag Archives: feminism

Make It Harder to Rape

I’m never going to understand modern feminism.

A few days ago, Catholic blogger Matt Walsh lamented via Twitterr that he found it sad that it was politically incorrect to warn young women off about the potential consequences of hook up culture. I publically agreed, saying I was sad women didn’t have more common sense.

We were of course talking about the infamous Brock Turner case. He’s the ex-Stanford swimming star who dragged a young women behind a dumpster after she blacked out at a frat party and raped her. Remember, his dad wrote that sickening letter asking the judge for lenience and actually got it?

Before I share , I want to say this : I think rape is more reprehensible than murder. I don’t know why men keep doing it (since ancient times), and I don’t know why we aren’t throwing the book at these jerks (Mr. Turner got a whole six months out of a possible 17 years). I do not feel victims are to blame in any case. I’ve known some and I know their plight. But I also know some women lie about rape (Rolling Stone, anyone?), damaging real victims credibility and hurting innocent men. I teach my daughters to protect their bodies as much as they can.

I have never had a response on Twitter like I have had to that comment. In fact it’s still going. More than 48 hours later. I see where it could have been misconstrued, but I was sure to explain myself. Ad nauseum. I’ve stopped that now. I’m belaboring the point, and it seems there is no end to the number of people who, without reading the conversation in its entirety, want to tell me I’m wrong.

Numerous young ladies want me to know they SHOULD be able to walk down the street naked and not fear rape. I don’t disagree with them. But unfortunately, reality does.

There seems to be no shortage of men who are capable of rape and assault. They won’t be stopping anytime soon. As a strong woman, I feel my best defense is to avoid situations where rape is likely to occur. If I’m in a situation of that sort, preparedness is prudent. Any women can still find herself in too deep, we are human. But if I can lessen my chances of becoming a victim, I’m going to do it. Wouldn’t you? It’s not about fear. It’s about odds.

Frat house rape is nothing new. I went to college and grad school. I lost a friend my freshman year to suicide. She’d gone home to regroup after being raped. We see major stories like the Stanford one in the news when college is in session every year. People study it. Law & Order recreated it on its various shows a million times. Every woman alive knows what a rape kit is.

Drinking too much elevates a woman’s risk of rape – for the very reasons we like it so much. It eases tension, blurs our decision making, makes us feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof. Unil it doesn’t. I’m not saying don’t have fun. Go out. Party. Be young. But also be smart and respect yourself. No, that does not mean that every single rape victim that ever lived asked for it. No one asks for it, let alone the aftermath.

But why risk the horrific possibility by getting black out drunk? Is drinking to excess that important? Do you really want to make yourself sick? Pass out next to a toilet on a filthy bathroom floor? Have – hopefully – some annoyed friends carry you to your bed? Maybe check on you once or twice if your lucky? Go to a hospital to have your stomache pumped? Get alcohol poisoning? Wonder what happened when you come to?

If you need more than me to tell you drinking can lead to bad situations, how about God? Wine is enjoyed a great deal in the Bible. But Paul warns us, “do not drink wine to excess.” Sirach chapter 31 hits the nail on the head, “…wine drunk to excess is bitterness of soul, with provocation and stumbling. Drunkeness increases the anger of a fool to his injury, reducing his strength and adding wounds.”

Men who want to rape will. What’s wrong with loving other women enough to warn them that even though men should stop, and be taught to respect dignity, reality hits a little harder? Rape will never be the victims fault – woman, man or child. But smart, strong women will avoid behaviors and situations that elevate risk simply because they SHOULD be able to do anything men do.

Ladies : Protect yourself. Protect your friends, sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins and nieces. Looking back on my younger days, I think I may have had many near misses. I was lucky. I’m more conservative now that I have more to lose. Life, it turns out, has much more to offer than a party and a good buzz.

Including the love of a decent honest man. We should all think about what could lie ahead before throwing caution to the wind for a good time.

Let’s pray that Brock Turner’s victim can rediscover the peace he took from her that awful night, and support all women, men and children who have experienced the horror of rape. We honor them by respecting ourselves.

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It’s Not About Me

There’s a scene at the end of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade where Indy is attempting to save his way-too-skinny-Nazi girlfriend from certain death, holding her by one sweaty hand as she dangles above a seemingly bottomless crevice that has opened in the floor of the tomb from where they have discovered Chirst’s Holy Grail. The fabled cup is sitting on a ledge within her grasp. As she fearlessly reaches for it – and the immortality it’s told to bring – our hero can, alas, no longer hold on.

She falls to her death, kicking and screaming as her dreams die with her. The movie almost instantly forgets her.

I think of her sometimes as I struggle to live a truly Catholic life. Her story, albeit sans the blonde-hair-blue-eyes and romance with Harrison Ford, seems familiar to me. 

I grew up on the ’70s and ’80s, when the women’s movement was at its peak (IMHO), giving us the “see, we told you you could have it all!” Few women had climbed high enough to fall yet. I still remember my favorite advertising for Enjoili perfume. “I can bring home the bacon, ba-da-da, fry it up n a pan…..” And so forth.

In so many ways, my friends and I were the promise of the future. The young ladies who would finally have the great education, the great job, the perfect husband, family. The life every woman wanted to live, complete with the availability of abortion should we find ourselves slowed on the path to greatness as CEOs, entrepreneurs, presidents, heads of state, etc.

It was discovered that I was smarter than the average bear somehow, and I was encouraged to be anything I wanted career wise. I spent grade school and high school thinking I was going to be a psychiatrist. Now, I need one. You see, the world led me on. Not one specific person; my parents pushed only gently. Teachers gave me grades I earned. Friends achieved and achieved alongside of me. It was how you did things.

There were awards. I found writing was my talent, and I pushed out of pre-med and never looked back. There was the college newspaper, a free-ride to grad school I earned on my own. Internships, accolades, and the job that would lead me anywhere I wanted to go. It should have, according to some.

I fell in love, got married. I had worked hard, stayed out of trouble for the most part. I earned the privlege to have children, earn a lucrative living and grab the golden ring. “You’ve come a long way, baby!” Right? 

I didn’t land where I expected to. And I wasn’t the person I wanted to be. The cheerleaders had been quieted. Life had become more like a trapeze act, where the artist accidentally looked down, saw everyone gaping at her feats, and realized she was scared. Maybe I really wasn’t as great as people told me I was going to be someday.

I should have started “dying to self” as Jesus asks us to a long time ago. Nothing comes easy in this life, but when your on a roll, with so little in your way, nothing comes too hard either. Sometimes, you start to believe your own hype. And then, if you’re lucky,  God steps in and starts working in your life.

I got that great little family I wanted. I also got post-partum depression, lots of therapy, and for the first time ever, hit what could be called a glass ceiling. The work-life balance thing wasn’t popular with my co-workers when I tried working again. I tried consulting from home. I used technology to my best advantage. But God was trying to show me something I wasn’t seeing.

For other people my kids weren’t the number one priority. My work wasn’t the issue – my schedule was. Eventually, employers lost interest in me. I cared more about what was really important and less about the machinations of the system. I silently implore the young “I-can-have-it-all” women I see. Don’t let the world tell you what femininity is. You can’t have it all – not because you aren’t able, but because real living gets in the way.

Being a stay-at-home mom has taught me a lot about myself. And about my own self-centeredness. “Dying to self” to one steep hill to climb. Transitioning to domesticity and parenthood has been difficult for me, the girl who almost always succeeded. Who was sure to set the world on fire with something. It’s hard to let that go – that “I could have been a contender” feeling. 

Lately, I’m struggling with the lack of motivation in my two daughters. They’re in the 5th and 4th grades – that’s 11 and 9 years old. They aren’t bad students, but they have little desire to be the very best. They study, they do homework, and there are topics they excel at. But they aren’t about getting an A every time. This is hard for me to understand. Yet again, my children are my true teachers.

They know me only as mommy, home doing laundry, picking them up at school to take them to their activities. The lady who has a mental breakdown over uncleaned rooms, too much screen time and unfinished spelling homework. Not as the me who planned public relations programs and smoothed public crises for a living. They aren’t real sure why excelling is so important to me, and why I stand by biting my tongue as they learn the right way – at their own pace, as the individuals they are, not as MY daughters.

Our conventional wisdom about what makes a person – particularly a woman – successful is horribly wrong. I find that brilliance everyone is looking for in parenting. I never once found it in a board room. I’ve found life is better when you live for others. But that “me, me, me” is still out there, making me feel like my life will never mean much if I don’t achieve what society says I should. Wrestling with ME makes for stress, bitterness and distraction. She makes me wonder if I would have kept reaching for the Grail even in the sight of the Angel of death.

I pray God will let me finally out grow her.