Grandma, Apple Pie, Baseball. And Sexual Assault?

I rarely blog any more. Too busy with other things, I guess. But something caught me this week and here I am.

A friend posted an article from Slate Magazine about the striking differences in reactions to the horrific murders of Celia Barquin Arozamena, the Iowa State golfer and Mollie Tibbetts, a sophomore from the University of Iowa. I ran across another in the Chicago Tribune.

Interesting, isn't it?

Today, I caught a short interview from CNN in which a reporter was asking some Florida women what they think of the sexual assault accusations leveled against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. They questioned why Dr. Ford would wait so long before sharing her story, etc. Just shy of a minute into the video, Gina Sosa said something that grabbed me in a way that nothing has for quite a while.

Ms. Sosa says, "We're talking about a fifteen year old girl, which I respect, you know. I'm a woman, I respect. But we're talking about a seventeen year old boy, in high school, with testosterone running high. Tell me what boy hasn't done this in high school. Please. I would like to know."

Let that sink in a minute.

It's what high school boys do. Expect it. Grandma, apple pie, baseball and boys coming of age via sexual assault in high school. They'll be fine. Let's be realistic, boys will be boys.

My God.

I'm sickened on multiple levels.

As a former seventeen year old boy, I'm sickened.

As a father of a daughter who damn well ought to be able to go for a run, play golf, attend a concert, get a job, walk down a sidewalk, and be valued as a woman rather than an object of dominance, I'm sickened.

As a father of a son who ought to be seen as a human being and contributor to a better world rather than a predatory animal from which sexually violent behavior is seen as inherent, I'm sickened.

As a coach who tried to teach boys something more than how to shoot a free throw or break a full court press, I'm sickened.

As a former teacher of high school boys who tried to teach a little history while maybe contributing something to their integrity and humanity, I'm sickened.

As a member of a society in which far too many people are comfortable dismissing and normalizing sexual harassment, assault, and rape as an automatic part of young men (not to mention older, accomplished, sometimes successful ones of immense power and adoration), I'm sickened.

I'm sickened by the the actions themselves and the extent to which people like Ms. Sosa expect, excuse, trivialize, and perpetuate it.

I have a wise mentor who once told me, "an empire in decline is not a pretty sight."

I have another who urged me to understand the difference between being disappointed and discouraged. Disappointment is temporary. Discouragement, he said, is more dangerous because it can be permanent.

I'm pretty sure the first one is right. I'm working on the second one's counsel.

Around the time of Senator McCain's funeral, I heard a lot of people saying,"We're better than this."

I'd sure like to think so.


  1. I can't find the link now, but read an item briefly summarizing an interview with two researchers in New Hampshire who have studied sexual assaults by adolescents on peers. Three things struck me on their short summery: 1) According to their estimates, 20% of females have experienced such assaults and 3% of males; 2) The impact of these assaults on the victims vary i.e. some experience less trauma and life-changing affects than others; and 3) Preventative rograms to deal with the problem are effective-- and they named several.

    So it is a significant problem that we must deal with and educational programs can make a positive difference but it will take political action and resources to do it.


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