Last month I wrote about the mutton-headed treatment that a local outcall entertainer received from the Portland Police after she reported having been the victim of a sexual assault. After a guerrilla publicity campaign on the subject by a certainly Darklady, I was contacted by two columnists from The Oregonian. Both indicated interest in following up on my findings. What they ultimately do, if anything, is yet to be determined. But the fact they were interested at all is, I think, important.
One of my correspondence friends shares my suspicion of authority figures wearing ugly pants and toting guns and asked me why I was surprised by their behavior.. Who said I was surprised? I was outraged and I was bitterly disappointed. Once again our boys and girls in blue had an opportunity to get it right and they blew it. I may be a cynic, but cynics are just disillusioned idealists, after all. But I'm not so disillusioned that I'll just sit on my ass when I see someone being mistreated. And whether or not this particular bag of human scum serves time in prison, I think it's important to speak up and remind people in power that this sort of behavior stinks.
My friend is a thoughtful and intelligent person and he, rightly, pointed out to me that we should all be educated on personal self-defense. But, as a survivor of past sexual assaults myself, I can tell you that aggressive resistance isn't always the solution. And in the case of our outcall performer, it's important to remember that the burly Marine who abused her had a gun and was ready and willing to use it. You can argue with a pistol but it's likely to be a short conversation, especially if you're naked. As it was, the young lady was able to use small enough words on her sub-human client to negotiate a lesser assault. Ironically, this was used against her by the police. Had she simply allowed herself to be raped, exposing herself to possible disease or pregnancy, they could have tested the semen. Whatever was she thinking? Apparently it's the responsibility of crime victims to try to make the bureau's job as easy as possible. They've got scary golden retrievers, pot smokers, and prostitutes to contend with... they don't have time to waste on violent crimes. I mean, they could get hurt!
My father was a military man; a drill sergeant during Viet Nam. My daddy was a big authority figure used to barking orders. I never took to the whole blind obedience scene and it's caused me a lot of grief. But that's because I believe in something more important than kow-towing to a suit and a badge: integrity.
I recently saw a wonderful play at Portland's Center for the Performing Arts and a line from that play, Bacchae (Revisited) has stuck in my memory. At the end, as the city lays ruined for denying proper respect to the new god, Bacchus, a soldier advises, "It is right to respect the gods... or at least what they stand for."
I do not respect authority merely for authority's sake. But I will behave respectfully to those who are worthy of respect, those who stand for values worth respecting. No, I'm not surprised that this situation occurred. But that doesn't mean I'm willing to turn my back on what I believe to be right, or that I will stop speaking out against what I believe to be unjust. And I'm certainly not going to stop reminding those whose jobs it is to protect and serve that they are not standing behind what they are supposed to stand for.