Last night many watched the NFL Draft and witnessed the Oakland Raiders select a former Ohio State football player to its team. This happened toward the end of the first round, so that would make Gareon Conley a first round draft pick, and quite possibly on his way to a rewarding career in the National Football League.
I was watching the draft, amongst ‘the boys at the bar’ and tweeting congratulatory tweets to the players throughout the night. When Gareon Conley was selected most of those ‘boys’ spoke out about how the Raiders were taking a chance on Conley, not because of their thoughts that he might not be a great football player, but because he was recently accused of rape. I thought to myself, “Good for the Raiders, taking a chance on a young man who might be innocent, and thankfully there are still some out there who do not convict a man simply because someone makes an accusation.”
It’s not ‘victim blaming’ when people choose to reserve judgment of a man as to whether he is innocent or guilty of a crime until they hear the facts surrounding an alleged crime. Just because someone plays football, and happens to be accused of rape does not mean he is guilty. It’s a person’s prerogative to reserve judgment and in the United States, it is what our founding fathers aimed to achieve. Or at least that’s how it is written, and what we’ve been told.
Years ago I can recall watching the movie, Twelve Angry Men, and wishing that everyone had the strength to allow for the totality of circumstance to unfold before casting judgment based on surface evidence. Years later, I find myself astounding how many will cry it’s blaming a victim when some women and men wait it out to see what might have actually happened before painting someone a rapist. It’s not. It’s respecting the process and being mindful that a man (or woman) should not be labeled guilty without due process, and even then sometimes there might still be room for doubt. Our criminal justice system is flawed. It’s
Our criminal justice system is flawed. It’s inherently flawed for so many reasons and one of them is that it is made up of humans. That’s not to say that non-humans would do any better, but it’s just an imperfect system. Our education system is also flawed. We do not always teach responsibility for one’s own actions, or how to practice mindful behavior, and seem to focus on a quick fix. Our media can be looking for clicks and sales, rather than truth.
For many women who have been the victim of sexual assault, it’s difficult for them to see beyond their own experiences and realize that not all men are guilty when these accusations of rape surface. For some, a bite mark on a male made by a female is a sign that there was something other than sexual relations going on. There are also those who believe that just because a woman drank too much and went into a hotel room with a guy, she deserves whatever happens. Neither is true. However, it is important to note that bite marks can be defensive, as well as, women should be held just as accountable as men when it comes to being capable of exercising prudent judgment. No?