After the state attorney announced that there would be no charges in the Jameis Winston case, I listened to a Miami based sports radio talk show via podcast. The context was ‘IF’ the accuser in the case made up the story regarding sexual assault, would you feel bad or sorry for her? Of the three person set of host, two said they would and one said he wouldn’t. One of the host assessed, (paraphrasing) “I don’t believe at her age she would have really thought this all the way through.” Another host said, “If it’s true that she made it up she has to live with that in front of her family, in front of her father for the rest of her life.” The third host said he wouldn’t feel sorry for her at all. His argument was that there is no excuse for making a false allegation of rape. And that the consequences of what could have happened to the accused far outweigh any ‘reason’ she may have had.
I am a man with a wife, a mother, two sisters and five daughters. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that most of the women I know have experienced some form of sexual assault or abuse. Sexual abuse towards women is horrifically pervasive to the point that men should recognize that the question is not how many women you know who have been sexual assaulted in some form or fashion. It’s how many do you know that haven’t?! This is NOT hyperbole either. The subject matter has hit home for me several times over. I don’t envy women at all. It is a fact that our society, hell our world is stacked full of misogyny. Women are the last and the least recognized of the worldwide historically persecuted and oppressed people. It’s not so easily recognized either as it’s so pervasively normal to attack and witness attacks on women’s value and character. Sexually speaking, men have dominated women for centuries from female genital mutilation which still goes on in many cultures, to rapes on college campuses, in the military, so called ‘date rapes’ within acquaintances, relationships, marriages and so on. Needless to say, us MEN need to re-evaluate and assess ourselves and ask ourselves if we are treating the women in our lives with the proper respect and dignity they deserve. Most of the time the answer is, “Hell no!” Let’s start there!
Giving women the credit they deserve, I have to acknowledge that they have held down the families, the churches, and have still risen to great places of power in society. In so many ways they have had to learn a develop a cunningness about themselves to advance in what James Brown called, “A Man’s World.” Women have skills and mental expertise that men simply don’t. They know men’s strengths and weaknesses inherently. They can read us like books when they really pay attention. And yet, the sophistication of the female species is one men can rarely grasp. I’ve always said that smart men rule the world, but wise women rule men. (thus ruling the world by default without the hassle) Without them there is a missing element essential to our existence.
I think it’s a good thing that mainstream media didn’t go in on the accuser despite the details of the Winston case which revealed she pursued and attached herself to the QB seeking sex. I think this was in deference to the challenges women have had to deal with day to day. I imagine they believe that this case shouldn’t take the focus or deter recognition of the legitimate sexual assault victims. (see statistics)
What should not go unsaid however, is that women are sexual beings. They enjoy sex. They are not just submissives but also dominates. This is a newsflash to many Americans as we tend to view women and women’s bodies from a religiously conservative perspective. Thus the dichotomy of boys sowing oats for sexual explorations while women’s are not afforded the same privilege. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for women to navigate through these messages growing up. Nevertheless, women and their sexuality eventually manifest through the cracks. They get it in even in the most male dominated venues.
So called ‘groupies’ have existed for decades. Just look at any episode of Behind The Music. Women used to throw their panties at Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye and Tom Jones concerts. There are women who seek the affections of ‘ballers,’ (high school, college and pro.) At FSU they call them, “Cleat Chasers”. (Yes they have a name for it.) Many are very deliberate in the fashion in which they pursue and dare I say attempt to conquer their targets.
Look at someone like Karrine Steffans. She wrote a book on how she sexually conquered dozens of celebrities. She bragged about it. And yet when she was on the Tom Joyner morning show was got offended and hung up the phone when Jay Anthony Brown referred to her as “Super Head.” She gave herself that name and was promoting a second ‘tell all’ sexual conquest book. But she was offended as if Jay was disrespecting her. Are you kidding me? But she is hardly the only one.
As this relates to the Winston case, from the pages in the report, she was not only a willing participant, but initiated and pursued the entire event. Along the way something happened that caused her to make a decision to tell a plethora of false narratives that could have put an innocent man in jail and ruin his reputation. Sexual promiscuity among young people is a side issue worthy of debate. Winston himself said he has some growing up to do. But otherwise, the only thing that happened was a consensual sexual experience between consenting adults. The only victim in this case was a man who was accused of taking something from her that she didn’t generously give.
To go even deeper specifically as it relates to racial matters, most of my adult life I’ve heard older black folk tell their sons before they go to college, “Don’t go messing with them white girls when you get in that school.” Translation: There is no trouble for a young black male like ‘white girl’ trouble. Having an interracial relationship is one thing, but if it turns negative and the authorities get involved, you’re a gonner! Even if you don’t make jail the chances of getting kicked out of school are massive. The black male is the one going to catch hell regardless of what really happened. Or as Ice Cube said, “Smilin’ cuz you out on a date, But sooner or later, the bit#!’ll yell rape. Soon as daddy founds out you a jigaboo, he’ll kill like he did Emmitt Till.” (Don’t shoot the messenger.)
If the state attorney decided to take this case to a grand jury, chances are Winston would have been charged. A grand jury will indict anything including my pet cockatiel. Sure we would have found out about the details a year or so later during trial. If he would have been found innocent, (cause that’s not a sure thing) in the meantime at best, Winston would have been dismissed from the team, possibly from school and his family name tainted for life. His sexual cavalierness is not justification for suffering a lie and being dragged through the legal system.
This case should be another example of why we need to educate young people on sex, sexuality, education and self respect. Men have used and abused women as sexual objects for centuries. This must stop if we are ever to be about anything seriously. Women need to be able to express their own sexuality freely as validated people without the stereotypes of being called sluts, whores etc.
I as a man am willing to hold sound off in holding other men responsible for the way we have disrespected and abused women over time. Equally so, women should hold women accountable, in calling out those who use sex as a means of weaponry. Women who willingly do the deed, then tell lies to protect their reputation from friends, boyfriends and parents.