Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Roethlisberger case is about men's rights; too bad most men don't realize it

Ben Roethlisberger's rape accuser Andrea McNulty has offered to settle her lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback if he admits raping her, apologizes, and gives $100,000 to the Committee to Aid Abuse Women. According to USA Today, Roethlisberger has rejected the offer, which his lawyer called "bizarre." Roethlisberger previously filed court documents in the case from his accuser's coworkers "saying she had bragged about having sex with the NFL star and joked about being pregnant."

I write this post for all the men standing around the proverbial office water cooler opining with cold detachment about the merits of the this high profile lawsuit. No doubt most of them will voice the opinion that the suit appears to be meritless, and they might even venture an opinion that it was foolhardy for Big Ben to put himself in a situation where such an accusation could be made.

The one thing men will not do, except for a few of us, is discuss the case in the larger context of men's rights, and that's a travesty because this case is a cautionary tale for male vulnerability to rape lies that all too often destroy lives with sudden and callous efficiency.

Just to put this in perspective, the usual cackling hens who find misogyny oozing from every crevice, not to mention the male useful idiots who side with these misandrists any time any woman accuses any man of anything, have already jumped into the fray and declared this case as but one more example of women's oppression at the hands of patriarchy (despite all their twisting and pounding to the contrary, "patriarchy" is a code word for "men"). Jaclyn Friedman, for one, swooped in and noted that as soon as McNulty made her allegation, "as reliably as thunder follows lightning, the sports misogyny apologists boomed onto the scene. You know the ones -- would-be or former jocks with Peter Pan disease, women desperate to be one of the guys, or who dream of being Gisele Bundchen to the next Tom Brady. . . . And whenever it's suggested that a sports practice or athlete harms women, they jump into action with whatever excuse is handy: It's all in good fun! It's just part of the game! It could have been worse! He would never do that! She liked it! She's just after his money! Can't anyone take a joke?"

Ms. Friedman's examples are, of course, typical feminist straw persons. While there may be some foolish people who uttered things of that nature, there are likely far more people ready to believe that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attacks. If, for example, a member of the Obama administration made the latter assertion, the left would chide anyone who dared suggest that such view was representative of anything wider than one uninformed, foolish opinion. (And, gee, that's just what happened with Van Jones, isn't it?) Yet Ms. Friedman's examples are supposedly indicative of rampant, unrestrained misogyny.

Ms. Friedman, for those who don't know, wrote a book with the lead blogger of feministing dot com that, among other things, had the balls (excuse the male terminology) to say the following about the Duke Lacrosse case: "We may never know exactly what happened that night, but the media dialogue and political opportunism that followed made clear the reality of black women reporting on rape and the subsequent manipulation of their stories for political gain." J. Friedman, J. Valenti, Yes Means yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape at 155 (2008). For those of you who might have been servicing the space shuttle the past several years, this is revisionist history beyond Biblical proportions. We do know what happened in that house that night: three innocent young white men were falsely accused of and charged with rape, solely because they were white and deemed to be privileged. That is the story of Duke Lacrosse, and the attempt to transmogrify it into a tale of black female subjugation at the hands of "privileged" white men is akin to making the case that Hilter tried to save the Jews or that Ronald Reagan lost the Cold War.

So, seriously, in light of her take on the Duke case, what should we expect from Ms. Friedman when she talks about the Roethlisberger case? Ms. Friedman and her ilk can't see beyond their gynocentric worldview that Mr. Roethlisberger might just be innocent of these claims (and the evidence filed in court to date is fairly overwhelming in suggesting that he is not liable). Nor can they see the pain of a man or boy falsely accused of rape. This reminds us of what Catherine Comins famously said about men falsely accused of rape: "They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them." In fact, a lot of people who don't look at things through a gender lens, much less a gynocentric one, think that Mr. Roethlisberger is being unfairly prejudged a rapist in the court of last resort, the court of public opinion, while his accuser remains anonymous in the Steelers' hometown newspaper. Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton summed it up: "I know how the world is. In today's society, if anybody says anything, you're guilty until you're proven innocent." But, hey, why should we expect a feminist to see things from the perspective of a man or boy accused of rape given that, you know, he's a member of the oppressor class and all?

The Roethlisberger case isn't about misogyny or women's rights; it isn't about female subjugation; and it isn't about a supposed "rape culture." It's about how any man or boy, even those deemed by society to be "privileged," are uniquely vulnerable to the most vicious lie possible -- a lie that often destroys lives and sometimes causes men and boys to kill themselves and to be killed -- simply because they were born male. And it's about how society allows even lying female accusers to have their way with the innocent, so long as they are male, simply because rape has been improperly gender politicized and the public discourse on this issue has been wrongly misappropriated by a radical gender feminist sexual grievance industry that -- yes, let's come out with it -- hates men.

The Roethlisberger case is about men's rights. Too bad most men don't realize it.