Rape victims

I’ve long been of the opinion that, at least in most circumstances, media should report the names of rape victims.  Of course, the reason they don’t is because there is a stigma to being a rape victim, but how can we ever get rid of the stigma of being a rape victim if we as a society act as if there should be a stigma to being a rape victim (i.e., withholding names in media reports)?  Turns out Naomi Wolf has taken up this idea as a crusade of hers.  Salon’s Tracy Clark-Flory has a thoughtful take and rebuttal:

“This is bad law and bad policy,” Wolf writes. “Motivated by good intentions, the outcome harms women.” She argues that anonymity “serves institutions that do not want to prosecute rapists” by allowing “officials to evade responsibility for transparent reporting of assaults.” She also contends that “treating rape differently serves only to maintain its mischaracterization as a ‘different’ kind of crime, loaded with cultural baggage.” What’s more, “women are not children,” she says, and “if one makes a serious criminal accusation, one must be treated as a moral adult.”

Feminists have long stood behind the importance of women speaking out and saying, “I was raped” (just as they have announced, “I had an abortion”). It’s incredibly powerful to attach names and individual faces to a stigmatized epidemic — whether it’s AIDS or sexual assault. There’s a world of difference, though, between a rape accuser electing to speak out and a rape accuser being outed by the media. It seems kind of cruel to consider rape victims responsible for the punishing work of unloading all this “cultural baggage.” The real issue is that, by most estimates, rape is massively underreported, precisely because of that stigma. Thrusting accusers into the limelight only further discourages reporting — and that hardly seems an effective way to stamp out the stigma.

Point well-taken.  How the hell ever are we going to get past the stigma, though?  I’d like to see some more suggestions from Clark-Flory on the matter.  Yeah, its not so great that for some period of time women may have to suffer a stigma in being publicly identified, but if that leads to a long-term diminishment of the stigma from rape, than a greater good is accomplished.  Easy for me to say, of course.


I reject that the sky is blue!

So, what do the Republicans do when the CBO reports that their attempted repeal will increase the budget deficit, well, they simply reject it.  From the Post: “Republicans reject report on cost of health care repeal

With equal speed, Boehner and other House Republicans repudiated the forecast of the nonpartisan CBO, saying that its analysts had relied on flawed assumptions they had been provided by Democrats. “CBO is entitled to their opinion,” Boehner declared at his first news conference as speaker.

Specifically, the CBO, in what it called a preliminary analysis, said that the law’s repeal would cost $145 billion by 2019 and $230 billion by 2021, then swell after that, because various money-saving and revenue-raising provisions would be undone.

I guess if you’re used to rejecting the fact that the earth is getting hotter, you can pretty much just reject any inconvenient fact.  Must be nice.

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