Thursday, Apr 17, 2014
Joyce Minor

Women are valiant and victimized


Published:   |   Updated: May 6, 2013 at 01:53 PM

I have noticed an alarming trend in recent news. There seems to be an increase in violent crime, especially crimes against women. Even more alarming is the fact that many of these crimes go unreported, and when they are reported it is all too often women who have taken action, while men stood by refusing to get involved.

It was a woman police officer, Kimberly Munley, who faced down and took out the gunman who attacked his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. Where were all the men in that crowded deployment center? Surely at least some of them were armed. Were they too busy running away or hunkering down under the tables while one brave woman saved them all?

When a 15-year-old girl was gang raped in an alley during a recent high school homecoming dance, as many as 20 male students stood by and watched for two hours, yet not one had the courage to call police because they were afraid of retaliation by the six perpetrators. So who finally reported the crime in progress? Another 15-year-old girl.

In addition, this horrific crime got very little press because television media were focused on a different crime - a crime against another woman, which actually happened almost six months ago. Why did a six-month-old crime dominate the media's attention? Because the woman involved was pop music star Rihanna and the attacker was her equally famous teen idol boyfriend Chris Brown.

The timing of Rihanna's decision to "break her silence" about the attack should have tipped off the media that her "honesty" was a bit disingenuous - it just happened to coincide with the release of her latest musical album.

My question is, why, then, did media officials not sideline the whole glorified Rihanna interview and do a decent job of reporting the gang rape of a sweet, innocent teenager? I'm not denying that what happened to Rihanna was criminal - it was. Nor am I denying that her speaking out about it may encourage other abused women to get help. It may, and that's good.

What I am saying is that network news directors (almost all of whom are men) need to do a better job of sifting priorities, and deciding what is truly news at any given time. A primetime interview about a six-month-old crime amounts to nothing more than a showcase for Rihanna to parade her sexuality. For media execs to even consider ignoring breaking news about a teenager gang raped while 20 men watched in favor of Rihanna, is absolutely ludicrous.

I'm also saying that all men - those who have the power and authority to oppose crime, as well as ordinary citizens who simply suspect or witness crime, need to summon the courage to step up and do the right thing: stop these crimes when you can and, when you can't, at least have the courage to report them.

Law enforcement officials do a great job, but they can't do it alone. This country has always relied on all its citizens to assist in the fight against crime. This is especially important now, when crimes against women are so prevalent and seem to be getting ever more violent and vicious.

Finally, there is one thing we all can do - teach our young people to respect women and report anyone who doesn't.

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