Somebody please tell me that it’s all a mistake and that the names that of the Michigan State football players that are the latest to be accused of sexual assault and face severe prison sentences is all a mistake.  Surely, they saw what happened to those players who played football at Vandy, and ended up initially being sentenced to thirty years.  What on earth is happening and why is the madness that’s been happening for years, still happening?  Or is it?

As we sometimes forget, people who are indicted for crimes are not necessarily guilty but many times the media will bombard us with information that might not necessarily be factual and it’s wise to stop and pause, if only to remember we live in a country that was founded upon the premise that there would be justice for all.

So many times I’ve referenced the fiction book, Limitations, by Scott Turow who also wrote the book, Presumed Innocent. If I had my way, Limitations would be made into a movie, and everyone would see it before they decided about what’s wrong with today’s “kids” so that they were at least mindful that yesterday’s “kids” were participating in….

Should I stop right there?  Heaven forbid I say something about the way it was, and the way it is, and share an opinion that is not necessarily in alignment with the way I’m supposed to think.  Have we not come far enough to respect that we might not all share the same opinion?  Can I speak openly about what’s happening on campus without having to take a side?  In my opinion, there should be no sides.  Not “men vs. women” or “girls vs. boys” or “liberals vs. conservatives” but only one side which is on the side of goodness and educating our youth about the fundamentals of mutual respect.  Mutual respect when it comes to the way we treat one another, the way we value one another, and the way we want to continue to thrive and evolve in a world that’s ever changing, same as it always was.

I’m a woman who was slipped a drug during a business meeting, and if it were not for me begging my rapist to take me back to my home so I was not left stranded at a train station, I might have ended up in an episode of Forensic Files, but I’m still alive and I never pressed charges against the man who raped me.  In fact I never told the police.  I also met him for lunch a few days after it happened because I wanted to ask him just why he felt it was okay to slip a drug into my drink, and have my brain altered in a manner that would cause me to behave in a manner that was not in compliance with my values.  Should I have gone to the police?  Should I have risked having my name dragged through the mud when my son was just six months old and all I wanted to do was forget?

Why didn’t I tell the police?  Why didn’t I want the man who raped me to face life in prison?  What’s wrong with me that I don’t harbor hatred but preferred to educate and infiltrate a man’s world and write for a men’s interest magazine and try to reach people, who might not value women?  Is that a sexist thing to say that readers of a men’s interest magazine might not value women?  Oh gosh, I sure hope I didn’t offend anyone, again.

The reality is there’s something to be said for women who have walked in my shoes.  Women who get up each day and face the madness of the world and no matter how many times they are shot down by men, or women and treated like insignificant peas in the pod, we still continue to want to make a difference.

“The problem with you is, you want to change the world.” – my ex-boyfriend used to say that all the time.  Yes, I am guilty as charged.  And I still, want to change the world with the UT most respect for both genders, and a mother of a young man, and a woman who has loved some of the finest men out there.  I still want to get through to those who might not value us, that’s it’s not okay.  That being said, I don’t know if the athletes who have been charged with horrible crimes as of late are guilty, and I am not sure if I have any inherent bias or learned bias, because my father was charged of a horrible crime?  Did I naturally attract men who would be disrespecting women because of learned behavior?  Did I come from “good stock?”

If you want to know where that “good stock” reference came from, it was something I heard on a sports talk radio program one day, which happened to air on FOX Sports.  One of the hosts said, that Russell Wilson, an athlete in the National Football League was a great role model, and the reason that is, is because he comes from “good stock.”  What exactly is “good stock?”  Well according to this radio announcer he meant a “good family” which is made up of a mother, father and you know all those great things that someone like me always dreamed of having only what about those murderers and rapists who come from “good families?”  If you’ve followed closely you know that the book American Beauty was based on a story about a young woman who murdered her husband or had him killed (same sort of thing) and she came from “good stock.”  By the way, I’m talking about the story about Kristin Margrethe Rossum, the American former toxicologist who was convicted in 2000 for murdering her husband, Greg, who is now servicing a life sentence.

You see, domestic violence, sexual assault and horrific crimes do not just happen, and they do not just happen as a result of the hands of men.  They happen and quite possibly can be prevented if we all work together to educate and empower one another, and help to understand the dynamics of abuse.