More than a decade ago, my oldest son, then 10-years-old, limped home from school. He explained that two older boys had grabbed him and a friend, and had tried, over the course of an hour, to force them to engage in indecent acts. Fortunately, my son had the good sense and courage to refuse, and he was beaten mercilessly.
I came to the school the next day to express my outrage, and the offenders were sent home for a week, but attitudes at the school soon changed: "This couldn't possibly happen here." Next came the explanation, "It was all a game."
When a third child came forward and said that he had been raped by the same older boys, there were those at the school who said that this child was a liar. And so began my war with the school board, which ultimately ended in new regulations for the treatment of victims of assault in the school system, but left me with nightmares and anger that won't go away.
My daughter? Barely in her teens, she went off with friends to a bar and later that night was dragged into an alleyway by a total stranger. Fortunately, one of her friends immediately responded to her screams, and the would-be rapist fled into the night, but not before he declared to my daughter's friend, "She's to blame!" It took my daughter years to inform me of the incident.
Is rape "unusual" or "rare"? No. As reported by The New York Times a little over a year ago (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/health/nearly-1-in-5-women-in-us-survey-report-sexual-assault.html):
"An exhaustive government survey of rape and domestic violence released on Wednesday affirmed that sexual violence against women remains endemic in the United States and in some instances may be far more common than previously thought.
Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women have been stalked, according to the report."
My guess is that the numbers are much higher.
In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "America’s Military Injustice" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/opinion/dowd-americas-military-injustice.html?_r=0), Maureen Dowd expresses her outrage over sexual assaults in the military. After describing the arrest of a US lieutenant colonel, responsible for sexual assault prevention programs in the Air Force, for sexual battery, Dowd concludes:
"The military brass cossetting predators are on notice. The women of Congress are on the case."
Well, rape is epidemic and not just in the military. Dowd would put her faith in "the women of Congress" to remedy the situation? Good luck.
Is Dowd sincere in her outrage? In a March 2010 Times op-ed entitled "Loosey Goosey Saudi" (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/opinion/03dowd.html), Maureen Dowd claimed that Saudi Arabia is upgrading the rights of women:
"But after spending 10 days here, I can confirm that, at their own galactically glacial pace, they are chipping away at gender apartheid and cultural repression."
At the time, however, Dowd ignored an abomination involving the Saudi legal system pursuant to which a Saudi woman, who had been gang raped, was sentenced to a one-year prison term and 100 lashes for committing adultery and trying to abort the resultant fetus (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2010/03/shame-on-maureen-dowd.html). As reported by the Saudi Gazette (http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?contentID=2009020828735&method=home.regcon), "the girl confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse with a man who had offered her a ride."
Unusual in the Desert Kingdom? No way. As reported by The Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273719/Torment-mother-Lama-al-Ghamdi-raped-tortured-death-celebrity-cleric-ex-husband-Fayhan-al-Ghamdi.html) in February of this year:
"The mother of a five-year-old Saudi girl who was tortured to death by her ‘celebrity cleric’ father, has said she wants him brought to justice.
Lama al-Ghamdi died in October having suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm as well as extensive bruising.
It has been alleged that she had also been repeatedly raped and that the injuries she sustained from the sexual abuse had been burned.
It was previously reported that her father Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a prominent Islamist preacher who regularly appears on television in Saudi Arabia, had been released after paying ‘blood money’ to his ex-wife, and Lama’s mother, Syeda Mohammed Ali."
During her visit to Saudi Arabia, Dowd also remained silent concerning the issue of "honor killings" in her host country. Had she written on this issue, her pleasure tour would have come to an abrupt end.
Sorry, Maureen, but sexual abuse and other violence against women need to denounced wherever and whenever they occur, not just when it suits your agenda.