Yesterday I watched Ariel Castro claim that he is not a monster, that the sex he had with his victims was mostly consensual, and that he isn’t a violent person. It is not in his character. When I heard the word character, I could not believe that he could even speak about it. What could he possibly know about character? He wanted us to believe that his problem is a compulsion perhaps for sex. However, I don’t equate rape with sex, so I had a hard time following his form of logic. I wasn’t planning on writing about this topic as he repulses me, but I think there is a bigger issue in our nation where women are concerned. I don’t know the name of the woman on the talk show I was watching on MSNBC yesterday but she was upset that Castro hadn’t been tried for civil rights violations. She talked about the issue of human trafficking and the fact that these women had their civil rights violated for years. She said that he targeted women, which indeed made it a civil rights violation.
From my point of view, I have concerns not just about this case, but also with the treatment of women throughout our country and of course the world. Granted Ariel Castro is a deranged person but he felt that he had the right to do what he wanted with these women. He said his wife would argue with him and he implied that because she touched him first that he had the right to put her in her place. Something in his makeup, and I think in the way women are treated by many in our country, made him believe he could do what he wanted with these women, including his wife.
Our society, no matter how much we scream and protest about women’s issues and rights, is still patriarchal. As a country, I believe we look to men for the answers and give them undo regard when it comes to major decisions whether it is at the local, state, or federal level. We excuse their behaviors, no matter how crude they are, and we still have that “boys will be boys” attitude ingrained in our minds. I see this even in school when I am teaching. I don’t have that attitude but it is there for many. When I tell some boys to clean up in art class, I still have some boys telling me “That’s women’s work.” In politics, we have many men that exhibit disrespectful behavior to women on a regular basis. On the far right wing, there is a constant effort to discount women’s opinions to the point of forcing them to have a vaginal probe if they mutter the word “abortion.” On the left, we still have to hear about Bill Clinton’s Monica moment in regards to whether Hillary is going to run for the presidency. The woman that sticks by her man, like Anthony Weiner’s wife, is marginalized as though she isn’t thinking clearly and she has been coerced into accepting her fate. Maybe she has and maybe we don’t know what really goes on in these relationships. In these cases, the woman is made to be an appendage to the man, just another “helpmate” for the big daddy that is the boss in the relationship. In entertainment news, we recently discovered that Simon Cowell is going to be a daddy. The woman involved is a “gold digger” and immoral because she is still married to her husband. The last I knew, it takes two to make a baby. We aren’t hearing what a slut Simon is, it is all about his girlfriend.
The point I am trying to make is that we and I think both men and women, still have different standards for the two sexes. I received an email last night from Credo action to sign a petition. The petition deals with the fact that a number of colleges and universities across the country don’t call rape, rape. It is referred to as nonconsensual sex. This must be similar to the Republican that talked about forcible rape and rape as though they were two different things. I don’t know how else to say it but rape is rape. Women are continually demeaned when their voices are not heard and they are treated like a dog getting their heads patted when dealing with serious issues.
The other day I was talking to my sister and I told her about this video I saw which I assumed was staged but was funny. A person was showing the excitement his cat had for him after he was gone for six months. Now we all have witnessed the excitement our dogs show us after even very brief periods away from us. Cats, however, are a whole another being. I have two cats and one greets me and the other hides. I have a dog and he’s always anxious to see me. The reason I bring this up is that I jokingly referred to women as being like dogs and men as being like cats. However, I think there is a bit of truth to this. Men can take or leave us as women. Much like a cat, they are used to being pampered. They are used to being at the top of the food chain in respect, expectations, and affection. They expect women to care for them and love them. They have expectations of what they want and how they are going to get it. Women on the other hand are starved for affection and will do just about anything to get that pat on the head, just like a dog. They will jump through hoops to make sure their man is taken care of and are afraid that someone may see them as not being a good caretaker. Women nurture and when they don’t everyone notices it! Women have expectations but they often will subjugate their desires for their mate’s desires. Obviously, there are exceptions but from my point of view, women are always last.
Now you could say that I have a unique way of looking at things because I grew up with ten brothers and I admit this, but I have noticed many things over the years. We women were the last to get the right to vote! Slavery was finally ended and blacks could vote but women were still chained to the concept that they were less than a man. One of my brothers always talks about the Constitution and I just have to laugh because from my point of view, the Constitution is a living document that needs to change and grow as time changes. So many politicians want everything to stay the same, don’t rock the boat, and just keep the status quo. If we do this, half of society would never count for anything. It still irks me that we could never get the equal rights amendment passed. Those simple words of equality are very scary to some people.
We live in a time of potential great knowledge for all people. The internet has opened the doors and the minds of anyone that is willing to learn. Sure sometimes you have to sift through many websites to find the truth about something, but in all reality if you want to learn about any issue or how to do something the internet is a terrific resource. I think the more people are educated the more we are apt to all be treated equally in society. I have found the internet a place where I can discuss issues with other women that are interested in politics. With this blog, I have an opportunity to get others to think about things. None of us would have known about the small town in Ohio where high school boys raped a girl and nobody seemed to care until anonymous bloggers got involved. Today I want people thinking about women and their place in the world. Women are more than just nurturing helpmates for men. I think until they are taken more seriously, women will continue to see much physical, social, and emotional abuse by men that think they can have what they want when they want it. Women need to stand up and make things clear to those men that abuse. Men that are “evolved” need to help move this issue along. The women that are abused are their mothers, daughters, and sisters. If we want to stop people like Ariel Castro, we as a society, have to make sure that little boys grow up respecting little girls and that gender roles are not so defined that women think they are less than men and are willing to accept less pay, less love, and less worth.