Because of the fantastic, provocative, spirited blog ReelGirl, I read of the quote by Nicolas Kristof, a self-proclaimed feminist and co-author of the illuminating Half The Sky, in his New York Times op-ed:
Gender violence is one of the world’s most common human rights abuses. Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries.
This is 2013 people. We are raising young men and women to be the hope for a better tomorrow, and yet this is the truth of the world today. It is criminal, and yet all the criminals are going unpunished.
Unless you live under a rock, I am sure you know who this person is. That’s because everyone everywhere is talking about the boo-hoo athlete who was pranked or was part of a hoax or whatever. Exactly, whatever. Why are we even talking about him? Because he plays on one of the most prestigious football college teams in the country. However, there is a lot more that happens at that school that is sadly left out of the front page news.
But how many of you know who this is? This is Leezy Seeberg. She had loving parents. She had a brother and sister. She attended Notre Dame’s sister school, St. Mary’s. Two years ago she was assaulted by a Notre Dame football player. She went to the police and they pretty much did nothing. They didn’t even interview the accused until Lizzy killed herself. I am not even going to try and attempt to describe how awful rape is, but to go through that and then have the courage to seek help from the law and then be denied is worse than adding insult to injury, it’s adding tragedy to tragedy. She was terrified because of text messages that threatened what might happen to her if she “messed with” Notre Dame football.
AGAIN and AGAIN in this world, groups and organizations and schools are bound together by a sick twisted boys’ club mentality, at the expense (and, sometimes, the lives) of the women that came in their paths. According to the Washington Post,
Six months later — after the story had become national news — Notre Dame did convene a closed-door disciplinary hearing. The player testified that until he actually met with police, he hadn’t even known why they wanted to speak to him — though his buddy who’d warned Lizzy not to mess with Notre Dame football had spoken to investigators 13 days earlier. He was found “not responsible,” and never sat out a game.
He never sat out a game? Can we hardly be surprised when a big jerk like Mani Te’o is asked to do interviews with Katie Couric? What are people accepting as news?
Violence against women should never be tolerated. Ever. It should not be condoned. Those who perpetrate the crimes should be held accountable. It is so fucked up that this girl committed suicide because of what happened to her at Notre Dame while a stupid football player is given a million more articles and interviews.
We are aghast at the gang rapes in India and when we hear about sex trafficking of children. We know that rape is wrong. This is our world’s new problem. And it’s not just in developing nations. Read this provacative piece by Susan Milligan to add even more fuel to your fire.
Now go and ask your congressperson to renew the Violence Against Women Act.