Sports websites have a well-earned reputation for being dens of iniquity at best and flat out rape apologia at worst. But over at Addicted to Quack (which deserves, if not cookies, a mention for not tolerating victim-blaming), Rusty Ryan absolutely killed it with an article covering the Oregon basketball rape investigation and rape culture in the sports world and the world at large. The whole thing is worth a read, but there are some choice quotes:
Denial, ignorance, or even encouragement of sexual harassment, and specifically, the objectification of women as sex objects, has been institutionalized and permissible in colleges, sports, and society. According to the The New York Times the federal government identified 55 colleges whose handling of sexual assault cases were so poor that they may be in violation of Title IX.
In sports specifically, the machismo/testosterone involved clashes with feminism because of opposing ideals. Men who perform at a very high level in sports are considered to be some of the most masculine, and thus, stereotypically, are seen as dominant and superior to all women. After missed field goals two years ago I heard both men and women in the student section say, "That kicker isn't getting any tonight." Or after a big play someone will say, "He's getting so much p**** tonight." James Franklin at Vanderbilt would judge coaching candidates by how hot their wives were. Male sports stars are assumed to be alpha males in society. Women, especially in sports settings, are typically viewed as prizes and objects.
The Oregon rape case is an example of sexism at its worst. It is very difficult for me as a [Spoiler Alert] white male to put myself in the shoes of a woman. It is absolutely ridiculous on principle and face value that women have to be concerned with getting too drunk or behaving a certain way or else deal with sexual assault. Those types of concerns are simply things I've never had to worry about when going to Taylor's, Max's, Rennie's, Webfoot, or any college party. It is an absurdity to me that this is a part of life for over half of the Oregon student population.
It is especially important in these situations to not blame the victim. Just because someone got too drunk or didn't say "no" and put up a fight doesn't mean that they deserve blame for being sexually assaulted. If anything, intoxication should be a red flag to anyone and the lack of a "no" does not mean "yes." I don't want to go back to this specific case too much but it has got to be awful seeing the story of what is most likely the worst part of her life being discussed everywhere and on national news, and that is after going through interviews with the police.
This isn't a problem that only concerns women. This concerns every single one of us in society. We are all people, and when I read stuff like this, I really wonder how people can be so mean to others. I wish this problem could be solved by simply telling everyone to be nice to each other. But if we as a society don't take the stand now then the societal norms and behaviors will be passed down to the next generation and this will only beget more of the same.
It falls apart a bit when he starts quoting Tupac Shakur (himself convicted of sexual abuse) at the end, but these are articles that you don't read enough of on a sports website, let alone the most prominent site supporting the very program that housed the perpetrators. It's to be encouraged and hopefully emulated.
ETA: Forgot to link the actual article.