Tuesday, April 19, 2016

John Kasich and Kimberley A. Johnson: Rape and Victim Blaming — and Prudent Warnings

I dislike "human interest" openings, but I'm going to start with a personal experience before I get to a brief addendum to Kimberley A. Johnson's "Open Letter to John Kasich About Rape and Victim Blaming," from The Huffington Post.

Once staying in Boston in the 1970s, I was surprised and a little saddened that my hosts were appalled that I'd jogged in the morning at a nearby downtown park. In one of the birthplaces of American freedom — Boston, not the apartment I was staying in — I clearly had the right to jog where and when I wanted and thought my hosts mildly paranoid to let fear so dominate their lives (you should have seen the security on their front door!) that they'd avoid a beautiful neighborhood park. However, I was in my late 20's, in good shape (if small), and a White male; if I'd been otherwise and a child in their care, the advice to avoid the park in the early morning probably would've been an excellent idea.
With this experience in mind, I'll add this much to balance Johnson's rebuke of Kasich for his "recent advice to a female student concerned about sexual assault [...]: 'Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.'”

John Kasich governed Ohio from the hard-Right and would make a bad President for a number of reasons, including what he said about rape. On the other hand, there is the issue of prudence and that what people have a right to do is not always prudent to do. Americans have a right not to be obsequious to police officers and even to mouth off to them. Whether acknowledged by the law or not, Americans have the right to refuse to get down on our knees before cops or prostrate ourselves before the law and "the Man." Parents, however — and especially Black parents — should still tell their teenage sons to be respectful and sometimes downright docile in dealing with cops. Even so, parents, and especially mothers, should tell their daughters to be careful at parties with a lot of liquor and not to get drunk when partying with guys.

People have the right to be free from fear of rape and mugging and police brutality, and victims should not be blamed. That's one clear point. Also, however, older folk have the obligation to warn younger people of the dangers of rape and mugging and police brutality and tell young people to act prudently.

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