20 June 2014

That Time My Neighbors Were Rape-Culture Activists

My neighbor is currently running the local soccer league and finds himself with a conundrum.  The broad strokes are that a boy with a history of behavioral issues threatened a girl that if she didn't have sex with his friend, said boy would kill her.  Understandably, the parents of his girl do not think the boy should be allowed on the team, yet no one seems to agree with that idea.

"But he deserves another chance." Nope. White men of privilege are always given another chance.  This teaches them that there are no repercussions for this kind of behavior.  By constantly offering these "second chances" (and third chances and fourth chances and so on) the behavior is tacitly endorsed and  indirectly rewarded.  If you are wondering how we produce the Elliot Rodgers of the world, this is exactly how that happens.

"But the team should have all the best players." Nope, your desire for trophies doesn't trump this girl's fundamental human right to not be harassed and endangered.  All the kids deserve to be on the best team possible while maintaining an environment that is not hostile to agency.  Protecting the interest of a sports ball team does not make it acceptable to ignore misogynistic and dangerous behaviors.  If you are wondering how we produce boys like The Steubenville Rapists, this is exactly how it happens.

"But she can play on the girls team." Nope. She should not have to chose to play on her second choice team so as to accommodate the unacceptable behavior of this young man.  The perpetrator of the assault threat, and that is exactly what this is, a direct threat of assault if a girl doesn't subject to the sexual will of a boy, needs to be the one who loses out on this opportunity.

This neighbor is raising two boys of his own. He is a lawyer who should understand the full repercussions of such threats. The other parents have children of their own who will participate within this sphere of influence and not one of them is concerned that this kid would be on the team.  This kind of misogyny is so normalized that it literally concerns no one.

I can already see how this will go.  The kid will get a spot on the team, because trophies. The parents of the girl will petition for his removal. She will get pushed out of the soccer system because white men who help sport teams get medals will always be held in higher regard than the people around them who demand personal safety, because trophies.  This lovely white privileged community will carry on with its entrenched sexism and support of rape culture.  Everyone will wonder why girls don't seem to want to play soccer, as if it is a complete mystery that they don't feel welcome or safe in that space.

Suburban sports-culture is rape culture. Plain and simple.