WISE Words Blog

Herman Cain and Penn State Round Up

14 Nov 2011 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
It was too depressing to post individually to Facebook, but for those of you interested, here is a round up of what I found to be useful or well stated articles on the recent big coverage sexual abuse. While reading, I think it may be useful to reflect on how these stories provide contrast to the hundreds of stories that we hear at WISE, and are happening around the world daily. The ones that don't get covered in the news. Would it be a big story if the people assaulted and covered up by athletics were women instead of children? What does it say that Herman Cain supporters stated they would vote for him EVEN IF he was guilty of the sexual assault accusations that have come to light?

Please note that these articles further points of discussion around topics which are important to WISE, but do not necessarily reflect WISE opinion. 

Here's your round up:
Herman Cain
"I just haven't believed it," says Pam Bensen of the accusations. "In fact this morning, I actually went online to donate again, just to show him that we were supporting him."

Please think, too, about what the media framing and language use around these accusations does to frame our cultural understanding of Rape and sexual assault. If we never see the word used even as we read descriptions of those things, how can we connect the two?
Penn State
In 2003, less than one year after Paterno was told that Sandusky was raping children, he allowed a player accused of rape to suit up and play in a bowl game. Widespread criticism of this move was ignored. In 2006, Penn State's Orange Bowl opponent Florida State, sent home linebacker A.J. Nicholson, after accusations of sexual assault. Paterno’s response, in light of recent events, is jaw-dropping. He said, "There's so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson

New York Times - The Molester Next Door
This molester had a job. A house. A wife. Two kids of his own. And he gained access to his victim not through brute force but through patience, play and gifts: help with his homework, computer games, a new bike. To neighborhood observers, including the victim’s parents, the molester’s attentiveness passed for kindness, at least for a while. A molester’s behavior very often does.
Feministe - Institutional Cultures
It’s not just one guy raping little boys. It’s a culture that values a game over basic bodily integrity and physical health; it’s a culture that values that game over education, even at an institution of higher learning. Of course, in the context of that culture, a child rapist is going to get a pass if he’s integral to the game. Of course people are going to cover for him, or look the other way, or make small changes so that they can feel better but don’t actually go to law enforcement, which might threaten the game.

And a side note related to the culture of football and masculinity.
HuffingtonPost - High school football coach resigns after "Hurt Feelings Survey" given to team. (Keeps his position as guidance counselor.)

WARNING: The survey contains lewd language. Discretion is advised.

Under a list of reasons for filing the "Hurt Feelings Report," the survey offers choices including "I am a pussy," "I have woman like hormones," "I am a queer" and 'I am a little bitch." It asks for the "name of 'Real Man' who hurt your sensitive little feelings," "name little sissy filing this report." and the filer's "girly-man signature."

This is my fifth year presenting to youth about healthy relationships, rape and dating violence prevention, and the culture which breeds gendered violence. I fully expect that these young people can do a better job for one another, but they're going to need much more help if these are the news stories of their environment.
The mission of WISE is to empower victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking to become safe and self-reliant through crisis intervention and support services. WISE advances social justice through community education, training and public policy.

WISE provides services to victims/survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking regardless of gender or gender identity/expression, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental or emotional ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation.

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