Friday, May 06, 2016

Mother in Heaven

Mother's day week, so the inevitable happens: progressive Mormons start posting about Mother in Heaven.

I tried to imagine Mother in Heaven. I'm pretty sure she knows as much about our lives as Father in Heaven does.

I'm also pretty sure that she's not some lesser figure up there hanging around being God's housekeeper. I'm pretty sure she's an amazing, powerful woman.

So that leads me to the conclusion that she is not more involved in our theology and worship because she doesn't want to be. Maybe she's busy taking care of the all the people who have yet to be born, or doing some other work. I mean, if she wanted us to pray to her, wouldn't she have said so?

Anyway, all the talk of Mother in Heaven, and the only image I can conjure in my mind is her putting her head in her hand and saying, "Oh, you silly children spending all this time talking about me, fawning over me, painting pictures of me, writing poetry to me. All I really want for mother's day is for you to stop fighting with each other. What I want is for you to do what your Father asked--go out and help each other, be kind, and stop doing stupid things."

Three thoughts on Rape Culture on College Campuses

There is much talk of rape culture on college campuses lately, but I'm finding the discussions to be stilted because of feminist ideology that has slipped in.

Three things that are bugging me:

1. We are ignoring Due Process.

In our eagerness to avoid "victim blaming" and our eagerness to push investigators to believe the victim and actually investigate, it's really, really easy to assume that "believing the victim" means an accusation is made and it's a done deal. Boys get expelled from school because we're so anxious to believe the victim. But we must remember that we are legally NOT ALLOWED to believe the victim except to the extent that we always investigate what a victim is saying. In our country, even in cases of rape, it is categorically innocent until proven guilty, which means even the vilest rapists get due process.

Believe the victim means we investigate. It means we don't write her off or blame her for the rape. It means we do post-rape examinations not at the cost of the victim, and we actually process every single rape kit as quickly as possible (is it possible within a week? That seems ideal).

It does not mean men are all guilty until proven innocent. Because we have to accept the reality that not all women are angels, and if men are guilty instantly on a woman's word when it comes to rape, then any woman can destroy any man's life on her word without any proof required.

2. We are ignoring the reality that self-defense ought to include the idea of not getting in dangerous situations whenever possible.

Recently, a big cat keeper at a zoo was killed by her cats. It came out in the ensuing investigation that she had not followed protocol.  Was it the cat's fault that she was killed? Yes. Would she likely be alive if she had followed protocol? Yes.

We are so anxious to not blame victims that it has become unacceptable to say to girls, "Don't go places where rapists go." It HAS to be okay for self defense to include preventative actions. And that means, while it is impolite to say to a rape victim, "You shouldn't have gotten drunk" and while it is absolutely true that even drunk, a girl should not be raped, it also has to be okay to teach our daughters, "Hey, don't go to frat parties, and if you are getting smashed, you're putting yourself at risk of getting raped."

Yes, we teach boys not to rape.

And we ought to also be free to teach girls to be wise. Don't walk in dark alleys. Don't use an ATM at night alone and flash the money. Don't get drunk with a bunch of boys at a Frat party.

In a perfect world, boys don't rape. But in a imperfect world, girls ought to at least be told not to go places where stats say you are more likely to be raped. That needs to be okay to say, to protect other girls, even while we are kind to girls who did get raped while drunk and don't write them off or ignore their plight because they were foolish. We still prosecute thugs who steal stuff even if you left your door unlocked. Victims of crimes are still victims, even if they made a dumb mistake. But we still use that to warn other people to not make dumb mistakes. Like getting drunk at a frat house.

3. Porn.

I brought this up and had it thrown back in my face that porn use is going up over all while rape is going down overall. So there can't be a connection.

But the stats they threw at me were overall, not on college campuses. So that's useless for my purposes.

So I'm not claiming using porn turns a boy into a rapist.

But I am saying that porn objectifies women. Even non-violent porn objectifies women. And there is ample evidence that using porn desensitizes men to real women, making it so that normal human sexuality is not interesting, so that men need a greater "rush" to get satisfaction, and also it makes what used to be "fringy" sexual behavior is seen as normal to the porn watchers. Teen boys who watch porn report to researchers that they think things like "choking" and "rough sex" are normal and that girls like that. Girls report that they don't but they think that's what sex is.  Porn also deadens men's emotional reactions to women's emotional and physical needs. I've seen this first-hand in men that I have met--their needs and emotions were the only ones that mattered. They had no empathy at all and very little sympathy, especially for women.

All of the effects of porn are the very things that have to happen in boys to create a rape culture.

Does that mean all boys who look at porn will be rapists? NO. But it empowers (if you will) some boys who might not rape to become rapists, and it dulls their sensitivity to women so they might not even realize it is rape.

Porn use has gone up at the same time that rape on college campuses has become an issue. If rape overall has gone down, I don't see that as relevant to this issue.

I would very much like internet pornography to be outlawed in the same way that TV advertising of cigarettes was banned. People who really want it will still get it, but we can spare entire generations of teenagers, and I suspect the rape culture will be addressed at the same time.