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Thursday, May 31, 2007
(7:08 AM) | Stephen:
Placing Blame Where It Belongs

I want to expand a bit on my last post with a simple thought experiment.

Let's say that someone breaks into my house and steals all my stuff. He's caught and put on trial, during which it is revealed that I left my house for several hours one day with the front door and my garage open. The burglar - who is my neighbor, by the way - knows that I have a computer (true) and a 62-inch plasma TV (yeah, right) in my family room because he's been over for barbeques and stuff. So he walks in, goes straight to the family room and steals, among other things, my computer and my plasma screen TV. The question is, will I be put on trial, or my neighbor? Will my neighbor be able to admit that he took my TV and all my other stuff and still walk away from the trial a free man, all because I forgot to lock the door?

The responsibility for a crime lies with the criminal, not with the victim. Perhaps I should close and lock my doors when I leave my house. But in all areas of life, we expect people to act within the bounds of the law no matter how tempted they may be or how little common sense the rest of us show.

Except rape. At a rape trial, the victim is always prosecuted. The victim is held to an arbitrary standard of "common sense" or, more accurately, complete moral purity in order for the crime of rape to actually be considered a crime. In rape trials defense lawyers are allowed to act in ways that would get them disbarred in other settings.

And the basis for all this is simply the idea that women are not full moral agents. The paternalistic nonsense coming out of the Supreme Court is proof that the highest levels of our government are populated by men who think women can't be trusted to make their own decisions and are not entitled to protection under the law equal to that accorded men.

So if you think that women are equal, if you think that feminists are trying to get special rights, if you think that our nation's laws and practices actually favor women, even in some cases, you are wrong. There is no nuance here, no complexity, no room for differing opinion. This is a black and white issue, no grey. It's time for women to be recognized and accepted simply as human beings.



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