A while back, a horrible sexual assault in India shocked the world. And all across our country, people said, “I’m glad that kind of thing doesn’t happen in America”. Perhaps they blathered some sort of jingoistic, racist twaddle as they expounded on how much better we are than they are. And then, comfortable in their willful ignorance, forgot about rape.

More recently, a horrible sexual assault in Steubenville, Ohio shocked the world. And all across our country, people said, “I’m glad that kind of thing doesn’t happen in my town”. Perhaps they blathered some sort of regional, class-based, racist twaddle as they expounded on how much better we are than they are. And then, comfortable in their willful ignorance, forgot about rape. Again.

Then we heard about Torrington, CT, and the recent rapes of a 13-year-old girl by two 18-year-old football players. And let’s not forget Jerry Sandusky in State College, PA, who raped many, many young boys.  And the thousands of military women who are raped each year, around the country and the world. And so on. And on. And on. Willful ignorance is getting to be kind of difficult to maintain, innit?

Take note of the similarities in all of the cases cited:  Number A, the victim-blaming.
 Letter 2, the local community trying to cover up/put spin on the crimes committed there.
 Thirdly, the outside world loses its patience with the locals and shines a large, uncomfortable spotlight on all the seamy, shady, dirty little secrets of the rape-friendly place du jour.
 Fourth, justice is (finally) served, to an extent at least, grudgingly, but the victims will be pariahs for life in their own communities, especially when the short attention span of the outside world  wanders off elsewhere. That, people, is not just.  But it’s as good as it gets.

And for every event that people hear about, there are thousands upon thousands that America does not hear about. Big cities, small towns, deserted prairies, places foreign and domestic, the weak are raped by the strong. Thus it is, thus it has been, and you don’t f***ing want to know, do you? So you work hard at not knowing. And the media, which exists to sell advertisements and create illusions, largely helps you remain willfully ignorant. This suits the rapists just fine. The rape victims (including your humble cranky correspondent) are left to be abused and even killed, and America can pretend it doesn’t know.

Cowards, a whole nation; nay, a whole world of cowards. So long as it isn’t their child, wife, mother, or such being raped, no one  wants to think about it. “It’s all so icky, it makes us feel gross, pleasepleaseplease stop talking about it and we can once more pretend we know nothing. Look at the pretty pictures, turn up the iPod, lalalalala, nothing to worry about, snooze…are they gone yet? Have they stopped talking yet? Whew, that’s a relief.”

Those of us who have no choice but to know about rape look at the willfully ignorant and feel many emotions: hate, rage, disgust, even envy at their enforced cluelessness.  But no one who is raped chooses to be raped, and we can’t choose to not deal with the consequences. The rape victim’s right to choose is forever ripped asunder at the time of the crime, and it can never be repaired fully. But our ability to not know? That, boyo, is gone forever, never to return.

What is different now is the Internet. What is different now are blogs and hacktivists. What is different now is a decentralized media that doesn’t march to the tune of the patriarchal pervert rape freaks that have forever dominated the world in which we live. The world is slowly becoming one with the rape victims in this respect at least: ignorance is getting scarce.

How was the Steubenville case blown open? Bloggers and Hacktivists. How is the Torrington case being slowly opened? Bloggers and Hacktivists. The raped cannot count on the figures of authority to protect them-all too often, it is just those authorities who commit or cover up the crimes, after all. The cyber-vigilantes have grown weary of waiting, and are taking matters into their own hands, as vigilantes always do.

And thank God for them. America, get ready to lose your innocence. The innocence you’ve never really had, just one you pretended to have, and the pretense is going bye-bye. No matter how you try to distract yourself, you are going to have to face reality: rape happens everywhere, every day, every hour.  Everybody loses their innocence sooner or later.

Fortunately, the vast majority of you will lose it  via the evening news, Facebook, twitter, or some sort of media. That’s a lot less painful loss of innocence than was the case for millions of rape victims. They lost theirs in an act of ultimate betrayal; violently, brutally, and in silence. A silence that almost every adult American has been complicit in creating and maintaining, by choosing to pretend they do not know.

Perhaps you deserve pity. But this writer, having dealt with the reality of rape for over 50 years now, is not the person to ask for such. Wakey-wakey, America, time to deal with it. Rape victims have lived with this harsh reality for millennia, and now it’s your turn. Like it or not, just like us.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky