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becoming a blur (11-6-3)
A ten year old girl went missing the other day. Amber Alerts jumped in and her name and face were all over. She even got a mention in the newspaper yesterday. Last night she was recovered, and last night on local KTLA news they blur the girl's face. And, I announce right then what the news people would announce moments later: the girl had been sexually assaulted. Get raped, get molested, and suddenly you need to be hidden, your name needs to be left out of news reports.
Whether we just blur their faces and leave out their names or lock them away in Magdalene Convents, is there really something so wrong with the victims of sexual assault that we need to hide them away? Why does our society insist on providing us all the juicy details except the name? Why do we need to hear every little thing about what Kobe Bryant did in that Colorado hotel room but we're not worthy of hearing the victim's name? Amber Alerts give us everything we ever wanted to know about Sharie Renee Simmons and more and less than a day later we're supposed to not even know who she is aside from that 'ten year old kidnapping victim?' Why do we hide the victims? Who are we trying to protect? Are we just dehumanizing them for our own comfort or is there a legitimate reason to hide their identities?
Keep a few things in mind:
What is so special about victims of sexual assault? Why does one news outfit think blurring the face we've already seen will do any good (or is that a whole other subject, our short attention span)? Why is the Daily News okay with still showing her face, naming her, even showing her family members (while the Los Angeles Times relegates the story to a couple paragraphs with no name for the girl)? Why does Elizabeth Smart get a 'very special' tv interview, a tv movie and a book deal while Sharie Renee Simmons gets a blur? Why does Smart get notice from President Bush and Simmons doesn't? Why does Smart get national coverage and Simmons is just local? Is it a race thing (Simmons is black and lives in Palmdale, not exactly the most affluent Los Angeles area city while Smart lives in Federal Heights, a relatively upscale section of Salt Lake City)? Is I something else? What is wrong with sexual assault victims? Why must they be hidden? Why must they be protected? Why must we?
- Being raped is one of the two excuses for abortion for which even adamant Republicans allow. It ranks right up there next to the woman's life being in danger; it's that bad.
- Throughout history, women who have been raped have been shunned, banished or treated like less than what they used to be. Families reject them, towns ignore them, they're forced to give up their children, their lives. They've been called damaged goods.
- Victims of any other crime are named all the time.