The Dark Side and the Sound of Silence

I love the meme that goes around social media roughly wondering, “If May the Fourth is Star Wars Day, and the next day is Cinco de Mayo, then is the day after that the Revenge of the Sixth?”

Revenge of the 6th

Ah, the pun is very punny.

Notwithstanding the joke, some pretty bad stuff has gone down on 6 May. In 1536 it was both the day the Rome was sacked, with the bloodbath and massive rapes (including nuns) that resulted from it, and the day the Anne Boleyn theoretically sent one of the most heartbreaking letters ever to Henry VIII wondering wtf was going on with her imprisonment. The USA passed also passed the uber-racist Chinese Exclusion Act on this day in 1882 because now that rich white men had used Chinese immigrants to build railroads they didn’t want any more icky Chinese people being allowed into the country. Finally, on this day in 2016 I read how coach Joe Paterno knew his friend and assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had been raping little boys since 1976.

JoPa lovng on Jerry Sandusky

Yep. Good ol’ “JoPa” stayed mum while Sandusky raped boys for more than 30 plus years before the scandal broke in 2011.

“Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance, had claimed that “in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky.” According to the order, the insurance company further claims that in 1987 and 1988, other assistant coaches witnessed “inappropriate” or “sexual” conduct between Sandusky and children, and that in 1988, a similar allegation was referred to Penn State’s athletic director. The order was first reported by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.”

It really puts the whole interview wherein JoPa whined he didn’t know ‘nuthin into perspective doesn’t it? No wonder the reporter who conducted the interview and subsequently defended Paterno later called Paterno a liar when it was proven he had knowingly enabled child rape.

To me, complicity in child rape to preserve your own power is an evil that makes the efforts of the Sith on behalf of the Dark Side of the Force pale in comparison.

How did this happen? How could a man renown for morality be complicit in this level of evil? Simple. It’s a one-two punch in patriarchal cultures; winning sports games is lauded to the point where winners are demigods along with the fact that children of both genders are like physically weaker men in that they are ranked with women as “not-men” who are inherently worth-less. As Dr. Don Sabo explains:

“rape and sexual assault statistics and their concomitant cover-ups by the male elites and leaders in four patriarchal social hierarchies, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Catholic Church, jock-fraternities in some universities, and the United States prison system.  I noted that these examples illustrate various forms of patriarchal sexual violence–between men and women, men and boys, and men-on-men in the prison setting.    One common pattern across these hierarchies was that, when evidence came to the surface that men were sexually abusing women, boys, or one another, there was an attempt to smooth over, deny, or rationalize the events by persons in the upper echelons of power and authority.  In short, denial functions in ways that protect the institutional hierarchy, particularly those who benefit the most from the status quo. The distribution of privilege within the existing hierarchy is thus preserved … Complicity takes many forms but individuals, either knowingly or unknowingly, may have gotten caught up by powerful forces that tend to preserve the hierarchical status quo.  From popes to wardens, and generals to athletic administrators, men opt for silence in order to fall into rank.”

As I explain in The Jezebel Effect, one of the ways that rape victims are punished and silenced is via slut shaming:

while men are axiomatically impervious to slut shaming, boys are not — so long as their attacker is an adult male. Dottie Sandusky defended her husband by calling his victims things like “clingy” or “a charmer”, and has implied more than once that the boys who accused Jerry Sandusky were gold-digging liars (Lohr, 2012). Dottie wasn’t alone in blaming and slut shaming the victims. The mother of the first victim to come forward had to withdraw her son from Central Mountain High School because of the actions of the school’s vice principal, Steve Turchetta. Not only did Turchetta casually “out” the teen as Sandusky’s accuser, he told the parents of other football players that the charges against Sandusky would “never stick”, and Sandusky would be able to “walk away” (Buell, 2011). Turchetta also actively humiliated the teen in response to the Sandusky allegations, insinuating the teen’s friendship with a volunteer coach was another attempt by the teen to lure an older man into his slutty clutches. “Mother One claims her son developed a close bond with a 28-year-old volunteer coach, which Turchetta abruptly ended. One day, she recalled, her son told her that Turchetta was in his face, yelling at him: “With what you’ve done already, no 28-year-old man needs to be around you.” “I think he was accusing my son of having some kind of relationship with him,” she said. “That’s how my son took it, too.” (Buell, 2011) The slut shaming that targeted Sandusky’s first accuser is a twin of slut shaming that frequently happens when a girl or woman has been a victim of rape. People excused Sandusky by accusing the male rape victims of being liar and/or slut who “asked for it”, or had somehow coerced Sandusky into assaulting them. As it is with women and female rape victims, other men and boys slut shamed the victims so that the violation was distanced from their own experiences. This is a way they can, erroneously, assure themselves that they will never be raped, because they don’t act like a “slut”. Slut shaming further lessens the chances of a victim demanding justice, since it takes away almost all of the support of his social circle and community.

Frankly, JoePa and his ilk are horrors that would make a Sith Lord shudder and flee toward the Light Side, because some things are just too low for self-respecting evil to participate in.

 

 

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