Recently I went to Ohio to visit my son who happens to be a junior enrolled at the University of Ohio. It was Thanksgiving week, and I had not intended to travel back East but when I heard he had been admitted to the hospital and was eventually placed in the Intensive Care Unit, I did not hesitate because circumstances being what they were caused me to alter my initial plans. It turned out that my son had a severe case of mono, and after a two-day stint in the hospital; he was released in time to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Since it was too late for him meet up with his girlfriend, and he was a bit too tired to travel, we spent the next four days in his dorm apartment binging on episodes of Law & Order, SVU.
What a wonderful experience to be with my son during that time, and although I was not happy about what lead me to alter my plans to skip work to be there with him, I felt so blessed to be spending time with this young man. With each passing episode he seemed more and more interested in the issues involving sex crimes, to the point that he spoke vehemently about the issues. I do not agree with that argument, he would say, and then he would share his reasons as to what it was that he felt strongly about.
I have always known my son was smart but until this day I had never seen or felt such passion in his voice, with the exception of his discussions about sports. Until then, it was playing basketball that occupied his time and there was very little else on his plate that served to inspire him to such measure. “I want to go to Villanova Law School, Mom,” he said. “I want to study law.”
He still has a year to go at Ohio University, and whether or not he continues to have such passion and desire, let alone gets accepted remains to be seen, however, my gut tells me he’s on a mission. After making the Dean’s list this year, and moving up from Academic Probation, my son is on a mission to excel in school. He’s no longer envisioning himself a star athlete, who were his earlier dreams, but has taken a more serious and realistic approach to his future and he’s concerned about the issues involving sexual assault and campus rape.
Why is it that a person who is under the influence (self induced, by the way) of alcohol is punished when they get behind the wheel of a car, should they be pulled over? If this is fair, which I am not saying it’s not, then why would a person who knowingly puts herself or himself in a situation, that is unsafe because that person might have been intoxicated, is not held accountable? Should an intoxicated person who is victimized be held partially responsible for the crime? What if both parties are drunk? Does this make it okay? Should a person who is intoxicated be held any less accountable for rape than let’s say someone like, Darren Sharper? These are the types of questions, I discussed with my son during this past Thanksgiving week.
Years ago, I was young and naive. I was also very self-destructive. If you examine the variables of my past, you might understand what lead me to be this way. It’s the typical horrible childhood, which of course is relative, but it was pretty shitty. My mother left her first four children when I was an infant, and my father raised us with a stranger. Despite what some might think or have you believe, I was not spoiled but rather treated an outsider in my family, since the stranger pretended to be my mother, and lies upon lies where concocted. My father got arrested for a crime that you’d see on of those SVU episodes about, and my life, as a child was ridiculously chaotic. It was filled with guilt, shame, and fear. It’s no wonder I would be attracted to chaos and drama, and violent, controlling, abusive men. It’s also no wonder I would allow myself to be in a position that I would be subjected to this behavior when I was in my early twenties. But was it rape?
The issues surrounding ‘date rape’ and ‘sexual assault’ fascinate me because I’m often blown away at the way young men throw away their futures over a ‘one night stand’ and I’m equally or even more confused when they subject their girlfriends to horrific acts of violence. I understand that there are times when consensual sex is violent but that’s different, and you do not need fifty shades of the law to determine what is rape. Or do you?
This year, I’ll revisit my own radio show, after having the pleasure and honor of sharing the stage with one of the nation’s most prestigious lawyers, Brian Panish of Panish, Shea and Boyle (www.PSBLaw.com ). I’m excited to hear your thoughts about the various issues that are brought up, and I welcome all opinions, even if they differ from my own. In fact, I’m not even sure I have a definitive stance of the issue I brought up in this article. Those of you, who know me, know that I’ve completed all of my classes toward a doctorate in Public Policy Administration with a specialization in law. Although Hurricane Sandy, caused me to take a detour, and I now spend most of my time consulting about social media marketing, I’ve never let go of my passion to help educate about legal issues, and protect people from themselves. I find the sports world fascinating, and love the games but more importantly, I care about educating people to at least make choices with as much information that’s available.
Someday, perhaps my son will graduate from Villanova University, with a degree in Sports & Entertainment Law, and if so, what an honor it would be to have him on my show. Now back to sports….