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A Mea Culpa, of Sorts

After listening to the video of Chief Brown, and reviewing his statement about how his comments were taken, I’ve done some thinking.

Yes, you get more of an idea of what he was getting at, and it confirmed my gut reaction: He meant well. I don’t believe that David Brown thinks date rape is any less of a crime. But I also think that this showcases the universal importance of choosing ones words wisely. Could he have phrased his response better? Yes. Could I have, too? Yes.

If I had been at the meeting, or watching it, I admit, my response would’ve been more measured, something like the second post I made. I do think that more emphasis needs to be put on educating both men and women – because from reading the comments, I can see the debate surrounding what constitutes date rape is still very much a confusing outline in shades of grey. This may even explain why that rape number is so high – very few know what it is.

I do think that the resulting discussion was, by the whole, a good leaping off point for exactly the sort of thing Chief Brown said we needed – more preventive measures that educate both men and women. A commenter (actually, several) asked if a sober woman could be date raped. Others asked if men could be date raped. Still others pondered at what point someone is too intoxicated to be taken for their word, if they say they want to have sex.

All of these things illustrate that the city’s work should start with education – but not just for women.

15 comments on “A Mea Culpa, of Sorts

  1. You all will learn soon enough to stop using the observer as a source and especially Andrea Grimes. D magazine usually holds itself to higher standard and frankly I am disappointed.

  2. This is a perfect example of young, brash, fresh out of school reporters/bloggers manufacturing an issue in an effort to make a name, advance a career and increase their public standing. Where was the editorial oversight? More importantly, where was common sense? Grimes certainly showed a lack of common sense and Bethany, you certainly showed a lack of responsibility by piling on the story without listening to the audio first and formulating your own opinion.

    Your mea culpa, of sorts is weak and any back tracking by Grimes even more so. Both try to deflect blame without admitting fault. How about just a simple, “I was wrong?”

  3. If only we all had replay for things that make our jaws drop.

    My jaw dropped listening to Chief Brown personally discuss the “education” issue when 66 more women have been raped in the first 7 months of the year. My fingers curled when JSW (on another post) compared it to “Take, Lock & Hide” – this is exactly the issue that women are reacting to. It’s a violent crime being treated like a property crime, unless it happens to you, your daughter, your wife, or your mother.

    All he had to offer was a better communication system on how not to be a victim? Disappointing to me, and I’m certain to the 327 women in Dallas who have been raped so far in 2010.

    A woman got mugged at the neighborhood Whole Foods and DPD came out strong. Like for a month we had a team posted on the corner. Why not communicate what they are doing (unless, of course, they’ve done nothing so far) instead of what they need to do.

    So here are some questions to chew on: Does anyone really think an education program is going to lower the rape numbers? Is there a serial rapist at work? Is there any commonality between these (places, bars, parts of town, computer dating services) occurances? Are these “date” rapists resulting in more prosecutions-are they on the way to jail, or walking away scot free?

  4. @ Amy S – “Why not communicate what they are doing (unless, of course, they’ve done nothing so far) instead of what they need to do.”

    So what is DPD supposed to do in addition to an education campaign in order to reduce date rape?

    Have DPD officers escort women when they are out having a few drinks? Have mobile crime lab units testing drinks before women can drink them?

    Some are getting offended by the comparisons with burglaries. Well, let’s compare it to domestic abuse. DPD cannot stop domestic abuse in the act. So what do non-profits and law enforcement agencies do? They have awareness campaigns.

    @Bethany – “All of these things illustrate that the city’s work should start with education — but not just for women.”

    What do you mean by that? Guys need to be educated that they should not rape women? If that’s where we are, God help us all.

  5. This was another wasted opportunity to actually do some reporting rather than (once again) aggregating another media outlet’s news, as flawed as it was.

    narlin – you sound like Michael Davis who is using this issue to poop on the D.O. because they report on the Southern Dallas political machine. Exactly which standards are you referring to? Are you saying this is an unusual example of knee-jerking on these HTML pages?

  6. E de la F – The chief’s response came off as neither fully in grasp of the situation, nor reassuring.

    I would assume that prior to such a meeting, someone on his staff would have parsed out these figures to have better answers to a 25% increase in a crime OVER SEVEN MONTHS. Because it’s pretty obvious that the question will come up.

    When he answered “No” to the question if this was just a case of more people reporting, it’s obvious that some investigation has been done on the matter to come up with that response. But nothing else?

    How about a rape task force to help resolve this dangerous uptick in assaults? Not to monitor drinks, but to help prosecutors nail these violaters. Do we even have an SVU in DPD?

    That’s a message of action anyone could appreciate.

  7. The Observer “reporter”‘s response reminds me of my sociology professor, when I tried to make this exact same point in a class once – that while men are absolutely pigs and evil and out to rape you that there are still certain behaviors that maybe should be avoided or altered to make safer. I was almost tossed out of class after my debate became a one-sided shouting match.

    While victims should not be outright blamed, there are still preventable measures that are questions of individual responsibility. It’s one thing when date rape is due to roofies or other involuntary druggings, it’s another when it happens with two drunk people. There are degrees here.

    The Observer should be read and sourced like The Onion or Wikipedia.

  8. Andrea Grimes lifts her schtick from pandagon.net. That site is run by 30-some-odd-year-old perpetual grad students who smugly regurgitate the social-studies academic pablum that real-life experience would have supplanted long ago, had they ever ventured more than four blocks from the student union.

    In Andrea Grimes’ defense, I think she’s still, like, 25 or 6. Plus, she’s sometimes quite funny.

  9. After the original story over at the Observer started to fall apart under the tremendous weight of evidence (the video), a friend and I were speculating how likely it was that author would be able to step back and re-evaluate her original statement.

    She didn’t but I respect the hell outta Bethany for doing just that. We can all get swept up in emotions but cheers to Bethany for realizing that, tapping the brakes and reassessing. It’s very refreshing to see.

  10. First, I am female.

    Second, after listening to Chief Brown’s comments, I think people are just digging for something to be pissed off about.

    I totally agree that women often set themselves up to be in positions where they can be victimized in any number of ways and they should be made aware of it.

    It’s time for women to start taking some responsibility for their own well being and stop blaming everything on being a victim.

    If you get raped, you’re a victim. But you can minimize the possibility of this happening.

    Be aware of your surroundings. If you get drunk and go home with someone you don’t know, bad things could happen. Keep you head up walking through parking lots. Lock your doors. If someone’s following you, go to an area with lots of people.

    Chief Brown may not have been highly articulate, but he did NOT say getting raped was the woman’s fault.

  11. “Do we even have an SVU in DPD?”

    Please, you’ve been watching too much television.

  12. I am just going to cannibalize the response I posted on the Dallas News article:

    I am an uber-feminist, and I agree that women shouldn’t have to take the burden of ending rape. It is the most heinous man-on-woman crime possible, and I certainly place all fault upon the perpetrator.

    However, it’s the height of independence to be able to take responsibility for one’s own safety. This includes being physically capable of defending oneself, mentally capable of navigating dangerous situations, and of being wary of your surroundings at all times. This is the essence of “survivalist training”, something that is often seen as very “manly”, though I don’t think it should be.

    I think that, paradoxically, women who claim to want ‘all the freedom men have’ in going out getting sloshed and acting irresponsibly are often the least likely to have embraced this survivalist mindset and seem to expect that the police, world, anyone but themselves will be looking after them. Advocating that women be more smart and capable couldn’t possibly be more diametrically opposed to Saudi style oppression that both limits a woman’s freedom to protect herself and blames her if something goes wrong. Rather, it blames the perpetrator completely and encourages self-protection as much as possible.

    The only way to be a strong, independent and “free” woman is to take responsibility for your own safety, whether that be on a solo African safari or trolling Elm street. Rape will still happen, and it will never be the fault of the victim. Whether or not it is “fair” for us to have to worry about it, I do warrant that rates would drop if women were known to be capable and dangerous opponents who will take an eye, ear, or more “intimate” part out with them if attacked.

  13. Is there one father on this blog — or, for that matter, one mother — who hasn’t given a daughter precisely the same advice as Chief Brown? So, are we parents being sexist pigs?
    It goes without saying that parents also inculcate in their sons a strong sense of respect for women and their right to be unmolested.
    But there is such a thing as prudence and, in fact, many people become victims of crime when they fail to exercise that virtue. That doesn’t make the victim responsible for the crime. But it does mean the crime might have been avoided.
    I think that this blowup has very little to do with the crime of rape and everything to do with politics as usual. Too bad. Also as usual, we’ve allowed our politics to muddle clear thought.