Baylor, Rape and a Culture That Doesn’t Respect Women

baylor“Actions by University administrators directly discouraged some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes and in one instance constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”

The above statement is part of a statement released by Baylor. A school that just fired the most successful football coach in its history. There was a lot in the statement that made me cringe but the part I’m writing about today is the part that makes this almost unforgivable. It’s the part where Baylor not only told young women to not report the abuse but it’s the part where they retaliated against one of the women for reporting the abuse.

This wasn’t a football coach that told a player’s girlfriend to take it easy on him for cheating on her. This was a football coach that ignored his peers advice and brought football players into Waco, Texas that were nothing more than sexual predators. In one instance Art Briles said he’d never heard of off the field incidents with some of the transfer players he’d brought in. That was disputed by then Boise State head coach Chris Peterson who said he told Briles about the incident in which Sam Ukwuachu beat his girlfriend.

The same Sam Ukwuachu that while at Baylor was convicted of raping a female soccer player at the school. The same Sam Ukwuachu that was a known bad guy. He wasn’t one of those, “He needs a second chance” guys. It wasn’t until the guy was arrested that they finally decided to put him off the team.

Then we have Shawn Oakman. Maybe the most intimidating looking man in college football. Standing almost 6 feet 7 inches and muscles everywhere. He’s currently facing charges of sexual assault. According to reports he met a Baylor grad student out, took her to his apartment. Forcefully removed her clothes and raped her. Even before this case there were whispers out there about him and his past.

School officials, not football guys, but actual suit and tie academics decided to sweep all this under the rug. Why? Because for the first time in school history Baylor Football mattered. They were tired of getting stomped on by Texas and Oklahoma and they wanted it to continue. It continued alright, it continued at the expense of women all over campus.

It’s hard for me to call college girls women because most of them are coming straight from their parents protection and are still children. Baylor literally served them up on a platter for no reason other than wins.

Blaming the Victims or Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Log onto Twitter, Instagram or Facebook on any given day and you’ll see vicious debates on whether or not Bill Cosby is innocent. There are people that will tell you there’s no way dozens of women have come forward to accuse him and all of them are lying. There are also people that will say why have they waited so long to come out and accuse him?

Just this week both his wife and daughter have come to his defense. No matter what you believe there’s someone on the other side of that argument that believes the exact same thing. When disagreeing with whether or not Bill Cosby or any other man is a rapist are you protecting his right to being innocent until proven guilty or are you calling the victim a liar. In calling her a liar are you scaring other women from coming forward because they don’t want their name dragged through the mud?

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this in 2014. Once the Ray Race video surfaced of him and his wife people immediately asked the question: was it her fault? She even came out and placed blame on herself in a sense. She accused the NFL and Baltimore Ravens of asking her to take responsibility for her role in the incident. To a lot of people that came off as them asking her to say it was her fault even if that wasn’t what she was literally saying. There’s no easy answer. There are cases all over America and the world where men have been falsely accused of rape only to be vindicated after years in prison or living with damaged reputations. There are cases all over America and the world where women have been raped and abused with no justice which so ever.

It’s easy to be black and white. He did it, he needs to go to prison. He didn’t do it, they need to stop lying on him. The truth is we don’t know the truth and for a lot of people that’s are more terrifying concept than anything they can imagine.

To be the women or man screaming for someone to be locked up for the rest of their life only to realize they’re innocent has to give you a feeling of guilt you can’t control. To be the man or woman defending a rapist only to realize he’s really a rapist is something that will live with you for the rest of your life.

As a writer I try to remain impartial but if I can give anyone advice I’d give this; stay away from absolutes until you know without a shadow of a doubt that he or she is guilty or innocent.