In the New York Times today there is an article about a then 18-year-old male student at an elite boarding school in New Hampshire who allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl, despite her supposed repeated pleas for him to stop. If nothing else, this story is disgusting for the sheer fact that -- according to the article -- an atmosphere of male, sexual predatoriness against girls has existed at this school for a very long time to the point it is considered a "tradition."
Trying to escape this story, I clicked on the front page of the Times just to find the breaking news that 37-year-old Jared Fogle, former Subway spokesman, plead guilty to sexually assaulting 14 underage girls, "the younger the better." (The pig also admitted to being in possession of child pornography featuring unwitting participants as young as 12 years old, filmed by the former, jailed executive director of Fogle's non-profit.)
Not to be outdone, America's favorite dad Bill Cosby was also back in the news for (ahem) allegedly using his wife and mistress to score Quaaludes from their doctors to (ahem) allegedly rape at least 50 women - women who up until recently were publicly vilified and accused of lying for attention and financial gain.
Finally, don't even get me started on all the sexual-assault cases across college campuses in the headlines. What is even more frightening to me than the actual sexual assaults is how many fellow students turn a blind eye to what's happening right in front of them. Don't any of these guys have sisters, cousins, nieces, mothers?! How difficult it must be for a victim to come forward just to find that she is dismissed or ostracized, sometimes by her own college's administration.
In reading the testimony from the boarding-school case, I can identify with the victim when she says she tried being polite while repeating "no, no, no." I grew up in the 70s and was raised in a traditional household. I was taught to be a good girl: to follow rules, not make waves, and to respect authority. So, I totally get when a 15-year-old girl says that she didn't want to seem dramatic during her school's graduation weekend or to cause a conflict or to hurt her older, more popular alleged attacker's feelings.
As a mother of two teenage sons, I am acutely aware that there are women who falsely accuse men of rape (though in my heart, I don't believe that's the case with Cosby or the girl at the boarding school). Such occurrences of false accusations make me sad. And discouraged. And outraged. I am, of course, outraged for the men in these instances, but I am especially outraged for the real victims of sexual assault whose voices are oh so politely asking to be heard.