Paterno fired from Penn State

This past week, Joe Paterno received a good bye letter in the mail. As a college student myself, I am very proud of Penn State’s decision, but many other students weren’t. There were riots that seemed to have gone on forever hailing their ‘hero.’ Why? Because he’s the all-time winningest coach? This is beyond appalling. He raped many children while he was there, and he wasn’t held accountable (reminds me of the Catholic priest scandal still going on). Why is rape being lifted up as a normal part of life, as though women have less worth than a man of the same age.

Just recently, Facebook finally deleted all the ‘rape-joke’ pages, after numerous bouts of pressure from women about how many teenagers have accounts and what we’re teaching them as a society. Facebook silently deleted the pages, without an announcement to the public. It just goes to show how far we still have to come to overcome rape culture.

Many fans of those ‘rape-joke’ pages said that feminists are destroying the fun of life. What is so fun about rape? What is so fun about having your body violated? When a little boy or man gets raped, people tend to go up in outrage. When a woman or girl gets raped, people get angry, but in a sense it is seen as a normal part of life.

Rape is not a normal part of life. It is the greatest hate crime against women that is being committed right now. And sometimes, people are being enablers without even sincerely knowing it.  It is very common to call someone a ‘B,’ a whore, slut, etc., just to get a point across. These derogatory words need to be stopped and out of America’s vocabulary.

Students at Penn State outright cheered for a man who molested children just because he’s an all time-winning coach (but kudos to those students who were wearing blue shirts who protested the rioting students). In a few years, many of these rioting students will become parents themselves, and will wake up one day to what they were cheering for. But why do we have to wait for these Penn State students to become parents before teaching them about simple justice? We don’t. We can work to end rape culture together, and it will take every man, woman, and child to band together to achieve this.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted November 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Just to clarify: Jerry Sandusky is the one accused of child rape, Joe Paterno was fired because he is said to have covered it up thereby enabling it to continue.

  2. Posted November 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re confused about some facts in this case. In the news I’ve read about it, there haven’t been any allegations that Joe Paterno himself raped or abused anyone. The man who is being charged of those crimes was an assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. The people who fired Paterno did so because he did not take sufficient action to stop Sandusky or to follow up with the people to whom he reported what was going on. That’s still pretty immoral, but it’s not the same as actually raping someone. And as far as I know, no one is protesting in support of the man actually accused of rape.

    Another odd thing: you say “When a little boy or man gets raped, people tend to go up in outrage. When a woman or girl gets raped, people get angry, but in a sense it is seen as a normal part of life.” From the articles I’ve read on this subject, it looks like most or all of the victims here were boys. I don’t know whether your claim is valid overall, but it certainly doesn’t seem to apply in this case, where the abuse of boys has become of secondary importance (in some people’s minds) to a football coach’s reputation.

  3. Posted November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, I’m just learning. I’m pretty young still. But Joe Paterno still takes responsibility for covering up the crime. Covering up the crime is like taking part in it, in a sense. And yes I am disgusted about how the students are sticking up for Paterno. I am a college student myself, and this is horrible. It looks really bad, and it just goes to show rape is seen as ‘normal’ still. Rape is rape, and it needs to be addressed as a culture. Countering rape culture starts with the youth, and Penn State is truly showing how far we still need to come.

    Yours in sisterhood,
    Jessica

    • Posted November 19, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      I’m really not sure that being young is an excuse for posting on a subject where you have clearly not done any research- maybe take it as a learning experience, but before you go posting about a news story, you need to actually familiarize yourself with the facts. To do otherwise is incredibly irresponsible, because you’re contributing to the sort of media panic and misinformation that can end up hurting a lot of people.

      Covering up a crime is NOT the same as taking part in it. Under certain circumstances, it’s a separate crime, and it’s obviously a terrible thing to do, but it’s dismissive of actual victims of actual rape to try and brush off your glaring factual error as “oh, well, failing to report a crime is the same as committing it anyway.”

      Certain rape needs to be addressed on a cultural level, but I doubt even the people protesting Joe Paterno’s firing would argue that they believe that a grown man raping young boys is “normal.” They’re misguided people who need to get their priorities straight, but the forces at work here are much less about normalizing rape and much more about the power of institutions to blind people to priorities. It’s a symptom of rape culture in its own way, but blanket statements like the ones you’ve made don’t do anything to clarify what is an intensely complex and nuanced issue- instead, they obscure the real problems we need to work to combat.

      I don’t mean to be harsh (though I do mean to be a bit critical, because irresponsible blogging/reporting without checking facts causes a LOT of damage in our society), but I really urge you to consider taking some time to read more deeply into the issue. Familiarize yourself with all the facts of the Penn State situation, and familiarize yourself with the feminist commentary on the subject. (And while you’re at it, familiarize yourself with the statistics about the social treatment of male versus female rape victims, since davenj’s post below is completely correct.) And then come back, and post again, and we can maybe have a more productive discussion about rape culture.

  4. Posted November 15, 2011 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    “What is so fun about having your body violated? When a little boy or man gets raped, people tend to go up in outrage.”

    This isn’t true in the slightest. Many instances of men getting raped are met with laughter, scorn, or simple disbelief.

    Note that there is a rape epidemic in prisons that primarily affects men. Is this met with outrage? No. Instead, there is a TON of prison rape humor.

    The same is true of men as victims of statutory rape. Those victims are told that they enjoyed it, and thus were not truly raped. The penalties for women who admit to raping boys are significantly less than those for men who commit the same crime.

    Beyond that, most men are taught that, barring male aggression, they can’t BE raped, meaning that what happened to them didn’t, in society’s eyes, happen. The revised FBI definition of rape still doesn’t really acknowledge that a man can be raped by a woman.

    Society tends to be outraged at only a very specific group of rapists: men who rape people who are not in prison.

    The Penn State case shows how far we need to come, but so do statements like the ones you have made.

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