Category Archives: Penn State

Joking About Torture

This man jokes about torture.


This morning, “The View’s” Joy Behar repeated a joke performed by Sarah Silverstein: “I was raped by a doctor – which is bittersweet for a Jewish girl”. It got a mild laugh from Behar’s audience.


My take is the people who laughed were responding to the alleged predilection of Jewish women for physician spouses. Thus the “sweet”.


The rest of the audience, the non-laughers, responded to the bitter. The rape itself.


Why did Behar read this particular joke? Because of the recent flurry of condemnation over Daniel Tosh’s remarks to a member of his own stand-up audience at the Laugh Factory.


Tosh had remarked that everything, even rape, could be the subject of humor. A woman in the audience objected, saying rape could never be humorous. From the stage, Tosh then reeled off this:


“Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her . . ..”


Thank goodness a friend of the woman wrote about the exchange, which she had witnessed, on her Tumblr page.


What Tosh said and suggested (even tried to incite) was not a “joke”. It was an invitation to criminal assault. Invitations to criminal assault are not funny. They’re cruel and unjust.


I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Tosh has not experienced rape. If he had, he would likely never, never, joke about it.


Those courageous men who testified against Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky (link to today’s damning Freeh Report here – note the phrase “total disregard for victims”) were, as boys, raped. Think they tell jokes about it?


The girls and women around the world who are trafficked and sold to pimps, forced to accept the erect penises of up to thirty men a day (which is not consensual intercourse – because they’re threatened with harm by the pimps – and thus is rape each and every time) . . . think they joke about rape?


If Tosh knew there was a contract out on him, a contract not for murder but for rape, he wouldn’t “joke” about it. If he knew that sometime, someday soon, five guys were going to corner him, jump him, hold him down . . . he wouldn’t “joke”. If he feared that this bunch of guys wouldn’t beat him, but would instead force him sexually, one after another? He would not “joke”.


Message to Daniel Tosh: there are some things only torturers “joke” about.


One of them is a bunch of five guys . . . you get the picture, Danny-boy.

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Filed under Daniel Tosh, Joking, Misogyny, Penn State, Prostitution, Rape, Rape is torture, Sandusky, Torture, Trafficking, Violence, War against women

The Rapist As Parasite


One kind of non-human parasite


I live in an area that during the summer months swarms with ticks. Some are large enough to spot as they crawl up my clothes or fasten themselves to me. Others, the deer ticks that carry Lyme disease, are tiny, tough to identify. When ticks make themselves visible, however, obviously they get removed and, if they’re still alive, swept into the sink or garbage. At no time do I remove a live tick and toss it to the ground, since the tick would simply dust off its exoskeleton and wait for a different host – or me – to walk by.


Parasites are organisms that quietly prey on another being, using it for nourishment, often harming it and causing it pain, sometimes killing it (although parasites prefer to keep their victims alive – finding another could be iffy). Parasites work quietly. They don’t want anyone to know of their presence. Identification would bring expulsion, and parasites cannot live alone.


Ticks are parasites. They live off the blood of mammals, as anyone who has removed swollen ticks from their dogs will tell you. In return for mammalian blood, ticks spread disease, cause itching and swelling, and leave their victims in pain.


In that way, they’re a lot like rapists, who also spread disease, cause agony, and leave their victims in emotional and physical pain – sometimes with an unsought pregnancy, as well.


In the US, we now recognize that rape is not about sex. Ultimately, it’s about power and control and humiliation. It’s about using someone else, about making that person feel defenseless, used and dirty. Sometimes rape is violent, using the threat of immediate physical harm. Often it’s covert, threatening future harm, harm against a third person, or disabling the victim’s ability to give informed consent through drugs or alcohol. Sometimes there can be no informed consent, since the victim is a child or mentally immature.


What are rapists – using any of these techniques – doing? They’re using someone else’s body for their own purposes. Like parasites.


In the past, rapists were likened to wolves preying on herds of sheep. More recently, they’ve been regarded as nasty, opportunistic hyenas, far less majestic than wolves.


Let’s get real.


Few people have been attacked by wolves. Fewer still, by hyenas. Almost everyone has a parasite story to tell. It’s a tale of discovering harm, of realizing that something is very wrong, that one’s body is being used by another who will not stop and often works in the metaphorical dark.


The young men now testifying against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky in a court of law have a parasite story to tell. Their testimony is awful, that of a powerful man using for his own purposes the bodies of boys in his care, making threats, destroying part of them. When boys or their parents accused him, as Maureen Dowd writes today, they were ridiculed or told that “Jerry has a heart of gold”. Not only did Sandusky lie, other people lied for him. So he was able to fly under the radar for years.


The testimony against three men who used a social network app to sexually attack children (the men posed as teens) will be, I’m sure, just as powerful. How did these men gain access to the children they raped? Through lies and deceit. They acted quietly, surreptitiously, under the radar. Theirs were not the actions of wolves or hyenas. Instead, they crept into their victims lives like parasites.


These stories differ only slightly from that of the Telegraph’s account of Chan Wright, a Jamaican man who has lived in Scotland for years. He was convicted many years ago of rape, yet not deported from Scotland when “three appeal judges at the Court of Session ruled it was ‘irrational and not justified by a reasonable view of the evidence’ to conclude that he posed a high risk of further sex and drug crimes”. The appeal judges decided to set him free in Scotland despite his rape convictions, convictions for cocaine trafficking, and a failure to register as a sex offender.


Wright went on to rape again. And again. And again. He is finally scheduled to be deported after he serves his prison sentence. Of course, he will be deported to Jamaica, where he is likely to become an immediate parasite of local women and girls. As one jurist determined, “It is my opinion if at liberty you present a high risk to the public of violence and sexual violence. You are a risk to women”. Better to say female people, all people who are female.


Chan Wright presented risks, yet he was allowed to remain at large in a country not his. Other rapists have been permitted to remain in their jobs, in their communities, in positions of power and authority, where they continue to be a high risk to others.


Isn’t that permission (whether official or through inaction) rather like flicking a tick off your own skin and letting it crawl away to penetrate someone else, inflicting pain and disease? Or, once a tapeworm is removed from your gut, permitting it free access, so it can parasitize another person, drawing sustenance from their body?


Is that really what we want, a society of human parasites, rapists who – like ticks – persistently maneuver themselves into power and control, tolerated by that portion of society, judges and panels and employers, that gets to decide? While women, girls, boys and men continue to suffer the harm inflicted by rapists for years and decades?


Rapists aren’t brave. They’re anything but courageous. They don’t have true strength, the strength of self-restraint and compassion. They’re just users. Bloodsuckers. Parasites.


They cannot be permitted to roam at will and to re-offend.

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Filed under Domestic terrorism, Health, Maureen Dowd, Parasite, Penn State, Rape, Rape is torture, Rapist as parasite, Social network app

Rape Is Torture

Supporting the victims of torturers


The recent allegations of years of horrifying events and sexual assaults on the campus and within the renowned football program of Pennsylvania State University (see the grand jury’s report here) have stunned most Americans. That anyone could witness the rape of a child, turn on his heel and leave without knocking the perpetrator to the ground is appalling. That McQueary then went to his father for guidance, and that neither contacted the police, and that famed football coach Joe Paterno (grandfather to seventeen children), when informed of the attack the next day also did not think it was his moral duty, even his Christian duty, to pick up the phone and press 911 – that, too, is beyond belief. No wonder death threats against McQueary forced him to stay away from the Penn State/Nebraska game on 12 November, the last game on Penn State’s schedule.

And chances are, Sandusky has child abuse images on his computers, too — I hope the FBI has those computers in its possession — and is part of an internet ring with other men.

There are many discussions of why coaches and officials at Penn State circled the wagons rather than report Jerry Sandusky’s horrific behavior, and many of them have to do with money and reputation and power, just like in the Catholic Church. There’s also the “good ol’ boys” culture, where men who’ve worked together regard reporting each other as somehow breaking a sacred bond. It might also be dangerous to one’s job. Putting work success over a child’s welfare demonstrates a shocking lack of ethics.

There was a lack of ethics throughout. There was also a dearth of Christian ethics. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Out the window . . . with regard to the victims. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones (Luke 17:2)? Totally ignored. It’s as if the men involved had never even listened while in the churches they attended.

I think, though, there was another aspect working here: certainly Sandusky, and the men covering for him, did not regard rape as torture. It was somehow a lesser offense. Yet rape is torture. Unwanted entry by an erect penis (or other hard implement), torture.

Let’s look at the definition of the word torture (I’m working with

1. the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.

2. a method of inflicting such pain.

3. Often, tortures. the pain or suffering caused or undergone.

4. extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.

5. a cause of severe pain or anguish.

c.1495 from Middle French torture: “infliction of great pain, great pain, agony,” from Late Latin torture: “a twisting, writhing, torture, torment,” from stem of Latin torquere: “to twist, turn, wind, wring, distort”.. The verb is 1588, from the noun.


I’d say what any victim of rape experiences – twisting and turning to get away from the pain — comports with at least definitions #3, 4, and 5. And as for sheer cruelty (definition #1), that’s surely what happens when a man sexually attacks a child, whose body (even if female) is in no way developed enough for healthy sex, even if the child were old enough to legally give consent.

Rape is abuse? Yes. We all know that.

Torture? Yes, that’s what it was. That’s what all rape is. Torture.

It’s past time for us to acknowledge that torture includes rape, any rape, of anyone.

Considering that child molesters are the bottom of the heap in prison, and that nearly 30% of male prisoners are survivors of sexual abuse, Sandusky – if he’s not sequestered for the rest of his life – will get to experience the terror and pain he willing inflicted on his victims. I would be very much surprised if he didn’t regard rape as torture.

No knives, no water, no electricity needed. Just an erect penis used with cruelty, to enter a body cavity without regard for the other person.

Rape is just another form of torture.

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Filed under Health, Paterno, Penn State, Rape, Rape is torture, Sandusky, Teenage boys, Violence