I first want to say, thank God for the first amendment which grants me and you, my American readers, the freedom to say whatever the hell we want.
*Steps onto soap box* Today, news broke out that a theatre teacher at my alma mater was arrested and charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly engaging in inappropriate behavior with a student.
To be fair, I will share that I knew this teacher, and was quite fond of him, and thought of him as a genuinely good person, I had no reason not to. I also knew the girl who may have been the victim. I have not received 100% confirmation that she is the victim, but you know how news spreads through high schools. Either way, this is irrelevant information, but I thought I should share. The victim was a nice girl, I didn’t know her too well, but generally normal teenage girl.
The problem I’m having right now is that kids from the school are posting things like “Wow, glad I didn’t do theatre,” and “what a horrible person.” And I might agree with them if he had been convicted, but even still the case and cases like it are frustrating to me.
I understand that rape is a very real and malicious crime. I understand that often in rape cases the perpetrator is an older person than the victim, or holds a position of power over the victim. What I cannot comprehend is why the law says if you’re 16 and have sex with a person who is say, 30 generally older than 20 or so depending on the state, it is rape. In what world does a 16 year old not know what they are doing when they get into bed with an older person? Of course, there are situations where they don’t know- mental illness or impairment, but I am talking about a “normal” case.
Imagine, if you will, a “normal,” healthy, smart 16 year old girl, falls for a 40 year old man. They are friends first, then they grow closer, romantic intention becomes involved, and they engage in sexual intercourse. Whatever happens next, for better or worse, anyone who finds out about this over the age of 18 is legally obligated to report it, and that man is now a rapist.
I’m not trying to say that that is what happened with the teacher from my school. I do not have the evidence to make that judgment or draw that conclusion, but the situation made me think about sex laws, and I’ve pondered it before. I don’t think romantic relationships should happen when the age difference is that great, at least until the younger party is more developed, but I think it’s possible they can happen. Again, I know in some situations the older party persuades or manipulates the younger into “consenting” to things they otherwise would not do, but I think it’s a tragedy when both parties know what they are doing, and one of them ends up having to legally inform their neighbors that they live nearby.
I’ve been 16. I made mistakes as a 16 year old, but I generally knew what I was doing. I knew it would have been wrong to engage in sexual relations with a man twice my age. Wrong not just because of social standards, but because if anyone found out, I could ruin that man’s life. Again, I do not know the details of the case in question. He could have been a serial rapist, and he’s just now getting caught. But before we jump to that conclusion, I want people to think about all the repercussions he is facing in a best case scenario. Best case: he is found not guilty, and he might have a wife who believes he’s not guilty, and he might be able to find a job at Target, but he’ll never work for a school again. The man has kids. No matter what actually happened, and no matter what they can prove happened, his life is over.
As for the girl, I am sorry she has to go through this- whether he actually raped her or not. A trial like this will be traumatizing for her and will also impact her life no matter what verdict is given. If he is actually guilty, she is probably already dying inside, and is now praying for justice. If it was consensual, she is living with the fact that she has ruined this man’s life, on top of the gossip people are already spreading around the school. If he raped her, I hope he is punished. But remember, if he didn’t rape her, he’s still being punished.
Last week the world lost one of the best comedians of all time, in my opinion, Joan Rivers. If you’re an avid reader of my blog it shouldn’t take you long to figure out why I love her so much. She was a bitch. I’m a bitch. We could’ve been great friends, I’m sure of that. Hearing the news a fews weeks ago that she had gone into cardiac arrest was shocking, and watching the news unfold- medical induced coma, life support, death, was devastating.
I’m not one to get emotionally attached to celebrities, but I did feel very sad at this loss, especially the reactions that followed. All the celebrities that gave statements had very kind words for Joan. They joked about how it wouldn’t be the same wearing silly outfits if she wasn’t around to mock them. They praised her career and the impact she had on comedy for women and for the whole world. You could tell these friends of hers were deeply saddened by her death. Then there were the people who didn’t know her.
I saw horrible posts on tumblr and twitter about how Joan was a homophobe, racist, transphobe, who deserved to die. These posts were from people who constantly post about feminism and wanting equality. They were celebrating the death of a “bully.” This enraged me, not only because I worship Joan, but also because of how wrong these people are.
Joan Rivers made a lot of jokes. It was her job. She was a comedian. She made people laugh. Yes, a lot of her jokes were offensive, but they were jokes. That does not mean she hated people. How could she be a homophobe? She ran Fashion Police. Without gays she would hardly have had a job. That’s not true, but you see my point. She made a lot of jokes about plastic surgery and we ALL know she loved that.
Not only was she making jokes, but according to all her peers, she was full of kindness. I believe that. Not one celebrity who knew Joan had a mean thing to say about her. She had love in her heart for her family and friends.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, I’m just getting started. Joan knew pain. She did not have it easy coming into the business. Sure she gained success fairly quickly early on, working for Johnny Carson. But as soon as she was offered her own show, a huge career advancement, she was blackballed by NBC for leaving Carson. 25 years she was hardly able to show her face on the network because she chose to have her own success. That didn’t stop her though, obviously. she built her own empire without them. If that’s not an empowered woman, I don’t know what is.
Beyond that, she knows pain. Her own husband killed himself. Sure, there are obviously people who have had it way worse than Joan Rivers, but she is undeniably a fighter, and a hard worker, and has paid her dues for the respect she deserves. And she can laugh about it. That’s why I love Joan is because she laughs through the pain. She makes jokes to get through. That’s what I do. Sure, that’s not everyone’s style, but it was hers, and the attacks people are making on her are uneducated, ridiculous, and rude. Forget everything I just said, and think about her family that is dealing with her death. The loss of a mother, a grandmother. Think about them reading tweets saying “Ding dong the bitch is dead.” have a little class, people. Let the woman rest in peace. I love you, Joan. Rest easy, you crazy bitch.