Trigger warning for rape.
I really don’t want to talk about Penn State.
I’m pretty sure that you can tell that I don’t want to talk about Penn State, because this post comes approximately two weeks after everyone stopped caring about Penn State. But apparently a post will not write itself if I just ignore the topic long enough.
But I have David Bowie and Christmas-flavored tea and my family outside my room hanging the highly problematic Confederate soldier ornament on the tree, and if I’m going to say anything about that shit I guess I have to say it now.
This isn’t even Feminism 101 or Sex-Positivity 101. This isn’t even Being A Decent Human Being 101. It’s, like, Remedial Being A Decent Human Being.
If you see someone being raped, CALL THE FUCKING COPS.
I don’t care whether the person is your football coach, your boss or the late Mother Teresa. I don’t care whether they spend their free time rescuing orphans, puppies or orphan puppies. I don’t care how shitty it will make your institution look, because it will make your institution look hella shitty if it turns out you were covering up the rape of children. CALL THE FUCKING COPS.
Now, there are circumstances in which rape should not automatically lead to calling the cops. For instance, if your friend tearfully confesses that he was raped, but he doesn’t want to go through it all again for the justice system and circumstances are murky enough that he might not be believed and all that victim-blaming shit would do a number on his mental health, then you probably shouldn’t call the cops. The recovery of the survivor comes first.
But if you, for instance, as a completely hypothetical example, just witnessed a rape, don’t just leave. CALL THE FUCKING COPS.
And, no, do not just tell your boss. I realize that was all that mandatory reporter laws in Penn State required, but you know what? I don’t fucking care what they required. If you witnessed the rape of a child, and you tell your boss, and he didn’t do anything, CALL THE FUCKING COPS. Because our goal here is not to satisfy the laws! Our goal here is to not have children be raped!
Now let me direct my ire at people who have been defending Joe Paterno.
I cannot believe you people exist. But there was rioting at Penn State, and I almost screamed at my girlfriend’s boyfriend for saying Paterno didn’t do anything wrong, and a reader who calls himself a gender egalitarian sent me a letter defending Paterno, so apparently there is this huge bunch of people who exist in the world who think that aiding and abetting the fucking rape of fucking children is fucking okay, if you happen to be really good at coaching football.
I mean, Roman Polanski. I shouldn’t be surprised. (Whyyy, Johnny Depp, whyyyy? I liked you so much…)
But you know what?
Sandusky might have been the one who slipped his cock into the mouth of children who should have been playing with action figures, but he wasn’t the only one who caused their rapes. Mike McQueary, Tim Curley, Jack Raykovitz, Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Joe Paterno and everyone else who knew about the rapes and didn’t do anything– every rape Sandusky committed since they found out about his child-raping habits is their fault.
Because they could have stopped him, and they didn’t. Because they had it within their power to pick up the fucking phone and dial 911 and CALL THE FUCKING COPS, and they didn’t. Because they could choose between protecting their school’s reputation and protecting children from one of the most horrific crimes they could experience, and they chose the wrong answer.
I think being fired or indicted is getting off fucking lightly.
So when you say that Joe Paterno didn’t do anything that bad, when you’re an apologist for the Penn State coverup, you are an apologist for child rape. So forgive me if I get pissed right the fuck off at you.
Look, the best-run organizations occasionally end up with child rapists in them. Child rapists do not wear T-shirts that say “Kiss Me, I Rape Children” on them, nor do they generally state in job interviews that their biggest flaws are being too driven about their work and raping children. They tend to look like normal people. The thing that separates evil organizations from marginally competent organizations is how they respond.
I admit that there can be some confusion about what one should do if one has just witnessed a rape. To wit, I will now present the following guidelines about whether your plan to deal with the rape of a child is a SHITTY PLAN:
1) Imagine that kid. The one who was anally penetrated by Sandusky. Imagine him crying himself asleep at night, feeling the shame and anger and fear that rape survivors all too often feel. Now imagine explaining your course of action to him as he sits in front of you, redfaced from sobbing, tear stains down his face, his nose running with snot. Do you feel like a tremendous douchebag? Then your plan is a SHITTY PLAN.
2) Again, imagine that kid. Does your plan make him feel supported and loved, that although he has been horribly betrayed the adults in his life, even ones he’s never met, stand beside him? Or does it make perfectly clear to him that he is a sacrificial lamb for the sake of, as a completely random example, the reputation of Penn State football? If the latter, then your plan is a SHITTY PLAN.
3) Is your plan likely to leave any known child rapist in a position in which they could possibly rape children, i.e., any contact with children whatsoever? Then your plan is a SHITTY PLAN.
4) Does your plan involve CALLING THE FUCKING COPS? If not, then your plan is probably a SHITTY PLAN.
Alas A Blog, Be True To Your School
Angry Black Lady, The Jerry Sandusky Rape Case: The History of the PSU Coverup
Greta Christina, Child Rape, Penn State, and the Catholic Church: Is Religion Especially Bad?
NPR, Is Football Culture The Core of The Problem?
Scalzi, Omelas State University
The Onion, Nation’s Ten-Year-Old Boys: “If You See Someone Raping Us, Please Call The Police”