Rape culture in a nutshell

2013-03-17 15:02

I used to be pretty skeptical of the notion of “rape culture”. The idea that there was a strong cultural bias towards excusing, justifying, and overlooking rape struck me as, frankly, insane. I have since been reminded: Humans are, in fact, generally insane.

The linked article captures the essence of “rape culture” in a way that is clear, simple, and direct. A couple of rapists got sentenced to jail time. The news coverage on this is about how horrible it must be for them. See, they were football players, and they were popular, and they will now be in jail long enough that they are unlikely to get good scholarships and go to college and maybe get to make a name for themselves in college football. This, we are explained, means that their lives are falling apart. And that is a grave and serious tragedy, that these promising young men will suffer so.

Seriously. People are distraught that rapists might do jail time.

If the argument were in terms of the need for restorative justice or rehabilitation or anything like that, hey, I could maybe get behind that. I am not at all convinced that punishment is a sound model for how to correct wrongdoing. But it’s not. It’s just that these kids are losing out on opportunities because of our society’s mysterious belief that raping a sixteen-year-old girl is in some way a bad thing. None of the distress has to do with the suffering of their victim, or the problems in a society that led them to think that this behavior could be remotely acceptable. No, it’s just that it’s tragic when rapists get caught and face some kind of consequence for their actions, because these kids were promising football players.

In America, it is a tragedy if a football player goes to jail for rape before making enough money playing football to never have to work again.

Dear Mister Rogers, please pray for us sinners.

Peter Seebach




  1. You know what? You could do a hell of a lot worse in choosing entities to pray to than Mr. Rogers. A lot worse.

    Jack Maney · 2013-04-04 13:43 · #