I don’t know why I always read the comments section on articles like the one about the Paramedic in Connecticut accused of sexually assaulting a woman last month. I guess I wonder what other people are thinking about what they read. Turns out it was a lot of victim blaming and men saying she should go to prison for lying because there was no way her story was true. Horrifying!
If you’re not familiar with the story, a Connecticut paramedic, Mark Powell (49 y/o) was charged for sexually assaulting a semiconscious 22 y/o woman in the back of an ambulance. He turned himself over to authorities this past Thursday and was charged with unlawful restraint and first-degree sexual assault.
I read as many comments as I could before I decided to comment back.
Here’s what I posted:
It’s so interesting to read everyone’s comments because for the most part, people are horrified and don’t want to believe something like that could happen. I’d like to believe that too. Unfortunately it can and it does and not just to women, but also to men. I worked for over six years at a Rape Crisis Center and saw probably five or six cases of people sexually assaulted in ambulances and hospitals by techs and occasionally by a doctor.
Everyone likes to blame the victim because we don’t want to think it can happen, but it does. It’s very common for victims of crimes like these to wait before telling because of fear of being called a liar or being judged like so many people in these comments are doing. And now it’s big, look how many people are reading and talking about it. Imagine the most horrible shameful thing you can imagine happening to you and having it go public– it’s a horrible choice to have to make- whether to tell or not.
And by the way, most rape cases never even get to court and if they do, it usually takes two years for them to get there and they’re often thrown out- it’s quite an ordeal for victims. Most people who say they were raped, were. Believe them.
Maybe I wanted to comment to just get it off my chest. Definitely a good place to stand on a soapbox. For a few comments after mine, people were concerned, but then my comment got buried and the conversation returned to how it had been before, joking about rape, blaming the victim and occasional people trying to help the victim blamers understand about rape and rape culture.
Then I started writing this post and reflecting on why I even care about the comment section when it is so predictably awful and misogynistic. It’s like the accident on the side of the road that you don’t want to see but you can’t look away. What’s odd is: that’s what this news piece is too. It’s the sensationalizing of rape. People want to look at it, but they are horrified by it but they can’t help look, so they do and then they start saying all kinds of things. They don’t want to believe it could happen.
The men in the comments section were really blaming of the victim. Not all of them, but a lot of them. They really wanted to defend the rapist. Why is that? All I can think is that it’s an unspoken part of the bro-code oto defend men no matter what or that men are afraid they could be accused of rape when they didn’t do anything and they are so down on women, they see it as obvious a man would never harm another woman, but a woman would definitely lie.
When I went back again to my comment, I noticed someone had commented on my comment. Here is what she wrote:
“Liza – I had a doc do something to me that he shouldn’t have (i.e. unnecessary and irrelevant examination). And on the military base! But I was so young, I didn’t know any better. And many people never do question those type of authority figures. I didn’t even realize it until years later. I do wish I knew what the guy’s name is. What a pervert!!!”
There was no Reply button attached to her comment, so I attached a comment to mine (which was right above hers), but I don’t know if she ever got it. I thanked her for sharing. I told her I was sorry that happened to her. I told her it wasn’t okay. I told her it wasn’t her fault, just like it wasn’t the woman in the ambulance’s fault. We are taught that doctors and medical people are in control, they know that. Most of them take that as a serious responsibility, some take advantage.
Stupid comment section on articles like that! It was like a conversation at a really large party. There were tons of donkeys talking stupid crap. I said what I said and people acted right for a minute, but then went back to their horrifying sexist ridiculousness. This woman was talking to me but I wasn’t even facing her and when I heard what she said, I turned and she was gone. I called after her, but she had gone off somewhere and I don’t know if she heard me. If she could hear me now, I would tell her she was brave, that I believe her, and it wasn’t her fault.