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Pulse Nightclub and the Stanford Rape Case

Posted by Margaret Donohue on June 18, 2016 at 7:10 AM

I am as appalled by the media coverage of the Pulse Nightclub massacre and the Stanford Rape case as I am of the events themselves.  I'm chairing a dissertation on rape and I have a clinical practice that is LGBTQIA friendly.  The media turns these events into single incidents rather than common place occurrences.  The rape case stands out only because of the articulate first person account of the victim.  Rarely do we hear the words of the victims.  And 7000+ words not only captured the nation but put focus on the judge for handing down the light sentence to Brock Turner.  And there is a discussion about rape culture and the misrepresentation of men like Brock as boys and just drinking too much, and not as the face of the rapists they are.  So that discussion is well needed.  But the sentence itself is common.  The rapist I saw a week or so ago was given 3 years for breaking a woman's jaw twice during her rape.  He was out in less than two years.   He's already violating his parole.  I'll see 2 or 3 more just like him over the next few months.  It's common.  So women don't get to feel safe because we know.  We know that reporting gets nothing more than a slap on the wrist.  That going to court gets a laughably light sentence.  That we will be blamed for the rape instead of the rapist.  We know that.  I was told my rapist couldn't be convicted so no charges were brought.  He raped acquaintances.  I know three other women he raped.  There were no charges brought by the State.


The massacre at the Pulse Nightclub is marked by the lack of media coverage of it being a place of safety for people within the transgender drag Latinx community.  It was a continuation of the violence that has been historical from the time of colonization on.  It was the continuation of violence against the community that occurs within a daily basis.  This is a community that wakes up knowing people want to kill them every day. It's not about guns or Muslims.  It's about a massacre that normally happens piecemeal.  The media usurps the community by not naming them. By not calling this what it was, part of the ongoing massacre of people of color, of the homosexual and transgender communities, of the marginalized.


My cisgender white male friends of privilege do not understand.   They think nothing of walking outside, alone, at night.  They think nothing of going to a nightclub and maybe having a drink.  They do not understand why I own a gun, why I'm afraid, or what it means to be a survivor of crime.  A survivor of rape.  They think the police the police will help if something bad happens.  They think the police will come.  But what the media gets so wrong is that as members of these communities, we know the police will not come, if they do come they will come late and ineffectively, they will blame the community, and if we defend ourselves we will be vilified.  The script the media endorses is that these are gun crimes or terrorist activites or the problems of mental illness.  No.  They are the problems of marginalization and dehumanization.  There are countless murders and countless rapes.  It's not about guns, or terrorists or the mentally ill.  It's about a lack of safety and a lack of awareness of how often these crimes are occuring.

Categories: General Psychology, Ethics

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