Media Bias, Victim Blaming, and an All Around Shitty Week

This week has been a rough for news.  I desperately racked my brain for something positive and uplifting to write about, but I just can’t do it.  This is a time where I feel the need to speak up about the hypocrisy, hate, and judgement of the world that is being perpetuated by the medias inability to tell a story free from bias.

The Stanford rape case has been clogging up my News Feed, and I’m not even upset by the constant bombardment of information.  People are passionate, and want to get the judge fired because of his poor ruling.  I know I personally signed the petition, and you can to. There is no excuse other than being an idiot for the ruling in this case.  The only reason people give a shit is because he is good at swimming, and as Lauren DeStefano tweeted, “if someone’s a rapist and an athlete, they’re not an athlete who made a mistake, they’re a criminal who can also swim.”  We have started a conversation about the justice system and it’s treatment of rape and we have to keep going forward.  Rape needs to be held to a higher standard of seriousness and not be shrouded in sexism and classism.  One of my favorite quotes is, “The sentencing of Brock Turner tells us that if a man rapes a woman while he’s drunk, he has clouded judgement, and is not at fault. However, if a woman is raped while she’s drunk, it is unequivocally her fault.”

It is unfortunate that the only reason this case has received extensive media coverage is due to the fact that he was a swimmer, but it leads us to look at other cases that received just as lenient of sentences that were previously overlooked by the media frenzy.  If opening the link is too much work an eerily similar case which involved a football player also resulted in “six months in the county jail, 10 years probation, and 400 hours of community service for the sexual assault.”  The amount of leniency towards anyone who plays sports and commits violents crime is absolutely horrifying.  We need to change the way that people are convicted, because it can’t be measured by the person they are, but by the crime they commit.  Everyone must be accountable for their own actions, not a select few.

The media goes and downplays rape because they don’t want to talk about it.  They can’t have a successful young man’s life ruined for committing a crime, that would be anarchy!  No we should instead reward him for being good at things, and have the masses see his smiling face in a suit and tie and not his mugshot.  At the most basic level the media is manipulating us to be in favor of what exactly?  Rape?  The patriarchy?  White supremacy?  I don’t fully understand, but I thank all the people who got behind the movement to use only his mugshot.  If a person is only shown positive images and facts about a rapist they are more likely to sympathize with them.  At the very least it is comforting to know that this rapists face is plastered across the world and even if he won’t be in jail for even the six months, his reputation and life has been destroyed for his actions.  That at the very least, is some form of retribution if any can be had.

Then this morning I woke up to a saddening series of BBC News alerts of the shooting at the Orlando gay club, Pulse.  As of now there are 50 reported dead and 53 injured.  But now I have come to learn that the shooter was not white, so what will the media do?  They will call this an act of terrorism, when you and I both know this was a hate crime.  This isn’t ISIS or Islamic extremists, this is hate, plain and simple.  Just because the shooter was born to foreign parents this crime will be shoved in a category that it is not intended to be in.  It is the largest mass shooting ever in the history of the United States, and it was fueled by hatred.

Note that Pulse is one of the most prominent gay clubs in Orlando, and that fact shouldn’t be omitted.  The media will downplay the death of these victims under an umbrella term of terrorism.  Don’t let this happen.  Pulse was a safe place for the LGBT community, a place to dance and have fun without feeling attacked or uncomforable for being themselves.  Yet we won’t see information about the shooter being homophobic, no, we will see him as an Islamic terrorist.  The Islamic community has been made into the medias number one outlet for blame.  If we slap “terrorism” on this, then the lives lost will be overshadowed by more hate directed at a community for the actions of one.  This man was not a Muslim, he is a killer.

So in the coming days of media coverage as more “facts” are uncovered about the shooter, ignore them in regards to religion.  Hate for a dead man won’t bring those poor souls back, and creating more hatred towards a peaceful religion has accomplished nothing and will continue to accomplish nothing.  Instead put your energy into donating blood, sending money to victims families, and learning about their lives.  I hate that even I can name a list of serial killers, but couldn’t tell you a single name of the victims.  Don’t let these killers get notoriety they crave.  Let the victims families have solidarity as we remember those who were lost.

To donate to the victims please follow the link:

Also I would like to give a special mention to Christina Grimmie who tragically lost her life this weekend as well.  A kind young soul taken for no reason.

May the future days become brighter, and the world less shitty.

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