Keep the Conversation Going

Recently, I wrote about how issues regarding sexual assault, abuse and violence are tough to grapple with as sports fans and received an overwhelming response from men and women saying they were feeling many of the same things. Yesterday I posted a few things on Twitter regarding sexual assault statistics and applied them to hockey. I have included those below.

I make a lot of space for hockey in my life and so I thought that may help me and other fans get a better handle on this overwhelming societal issue. Many of the responses I got completely ignored the societal issue and instead were filled with accusations that I was holding one sports star out as a “sacrifice to the movement” despite the fact that I did not refer to him in any of those posts.

It seems like many are having trouble seeing the difference between the necessity of reevaluating the way we as a society view sexual assault, abuse and violence, and the guilt or innocence of one sports star. The discussion so many people have been having this summer and for years prior is about centering victims and tearing down the barriers that so often keep them suffering in silence.

Because many of us enjoy sports, the discussion has been framed in a sports context. The conversations we have been having involve taking to task the approach to these issues by sport leagues, teams and society in general and demanding that they do better. One man’s guilt or innocence, the intricacies of one case… these single events do not change the necessity of that conversation.

The criticisms of the handling of these issues by sports leagues and teams over the past few years will not suddenly become less valid because of how one legal case turns out. Victims of sexual assault, abuse and violence will not suddenly vanish because of how one legal case turns out. Perpetrators of sexual assault, abuse and violence will not suddenly disappear because of how one legal case turns out. The massive power imbalance between those who commit such acts and those who are the victims will not suddenly disappear because of how one legal case turns out.

I hope people are willing to remember this and focus on the important, all-encompassing conversation as we go forward instead of making these issues solely about one case.

rape stats

Survivors graphic

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6 thoughts on “Keep the Conversation Going

  1. I agree that the conversation needs to continue, but let’s not pretend you’re not centering the discussion around Kane. Or was it just a 30:1 chance happening that you picked the United Center for your 1,999 Survivors graphic? Although it appears increasingly likely that Kane may have been wrongfully accused, this could certainly serve as the same sort of wake-up call to the NHL that the Ray Rice incident was for the NFL and domestic violence. But unless the discussion truly moves beyond Kane, it’s always going to be mired in the “yes he did/no he didn’t” rhetoric.

  2. I didn’t think she centered it around Kane at all. You’re basing it on a graphic choice. I still maintain he should have been suspended, even if the case doesn’t look good. The sad thing is we’ll probably never know one way or the other if Kane did rape her. Even sadder than that will be if the DA decides not to pursue a case, all the idiots will come out of the woodwork pointing to this as proof that women are only gold diggers trying to get money from a professional athlete and the next time it happens that surely player x would never have done such a thing – look at Patrick Kane for example. The more I read about women’s personal experience with sexual assault, the statistics, and society’s attitude towards it, the more upset I become. It’s sickening how the victims are treated by everyone, especially when it’s someone who’s even remotely famous. I have a four year old daughter and it constantly concerns me how much garbage she’s going to have to put up with as she grows up. I’m going to have to try and explain to her when she’s older that while she shouldn’t have to be extra careful and look for warning signs to prevent sexual assault, she’s going to have to. Oh, and also the same rules won’t apply to her brother just because he’s a boy. This is why we need feminism and this is why we need more men supporting it. Rant over 🙂

  3. The reason the countries of the world that have any sense of fair play or semblance of stability have that at all is because of the rule of law.

    Sexual assault is terrible, as is false accusation. For an innocent person to be falsely tainted with such an abuse is awful, possibly life ruining.

    Kane and his accuser’s situation is very sad, tragic. It is far from clear and as observers we will likely never know anything close to the whole story.

    To make accusations and judgements is heading toward group think, politically correct emotional responses, or a spirit of vigilantism. Both are really a mob mentality. There is nothing of value there.

    I have daughters. They aren’t of that age, we teach them to be smart. That doesn’t mean they are guaranteed anything. Nobody is, including boys, who we also have and teach the same thing.

    The world has painful things in it. Nobody carries all the blame or is completely innocent of it.

  4. After reading my comment posted I would like to clarify that I understand females are at more risk than males. My point being in prominent media cases to jump to conclusions is not a good idea if the truth matters.

    We can only raise our kids well so that they are good to others, encourage others to, and ask the government to help families to do that.

  5. People are so quick to judge the accused long before it is ever proven and when the accusations prove to be false, people just shrug their shoulders and walk away as if they are just waiting for the next one to come along to line up with their pitchforks and start all over again. It seems to me that a lot of victims never come forward because of the way they are treated when there is a legitimate reason to do so out of fear that they will be treated like a liar after they were truly victimized. The false accusations are not as large as the problem of sexual assault itself but until the people who lie about such a detestable act are equally vilified once they are proven to be making it up sadly I don’t see things changing much.

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