Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
So, at the end of Monday’s post on Sugar Ray Leonard, I linked to two articles. One of those articles engages in the time honored tradition of assuming that the person claiming to have been raped is lying about it. Because, you know, there are NEVER any negative stigmas that attach to people who report rape. Ever.
The other article is Lindsey Byerstein pointing out the bullshit.
This is the thing, you can’t claim to support rape victims but pick and choose which ones to believe, based on whether or not you approve of their profession. The crux of Anthony McCarthy’s argument is that he knows what it was like to be a gay man in the 70s, and he would never choose a trained boxer as his victim. Also, Leonard recounted an incident where this coach asked him and another boy to bathe together, and then sat across the room to watch them. He says that at the time they thought it was weird, but he is also recounting this with the hindsight of adulthood and the knowledge of what happened later. However, the event obviously didn’t ring any big alarm bells at the time, or at least not loud enough to cancel out the siren call of being a successful professional boxer.
Five years later, that same coach actually touched Leonard with his hands and mouth, and Leonard fled rather than beating the coach, as McCarthy posits he would have.
I would like to put it to Mr. McCarthy that while he may have been a homosexual man in the 70s, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt, and voice my opinion that he probably wasn’t a sexual predator in the 70s, homosexual or otherwise.
Sexual predators can spend years (five years?) grooming their victims. They ingratiate themselves. The victims trust them and care about them. And they constantly push boundaries until they decide to make their move. You cannot ascribe your motivations as a non-predator to a sexual predator.
In addition, Mr. McCarthy says why not name the guy? He’s dead and you’ll save a lot of other people angst worrying over who it might have been. Leonard says he doesn’t want to hurt the man’s family. There will be no justice, with the predator dead. And as a lot of deeply closeted men of the era married and had children, there is a good chance that several people who have no idea will be hurt, badly and deeply. Naming names doesn’t do anything in this case but satisfy a sense of vengeance that Leonard himself claims not to feel.
As someone who was sexually assaulted by someone she knew and cared about, I don’t find Leonard’s reaction, running instead of hitting, odd at all. As I stated before, predators are very good at ingratiating themselves to their victims. The victims often come to view them as friends, trust them, see them as family (if they aren’t already). Victims often find themselves stunned into immobility, unable to protect themselves.
Mr. McCarthy’s insistence on doubting Leonard’s story is reprehensible, and rape shaming.
I have twice had people do unexpected sexual assault on me. These were many years apart. One was when I was a child and the other as an adult. In both cases I was so shocked I froze. In both cases I was in denial about it being an assault for a long time. In one case I don’t know the name of the other party. In the other case I do. In both cases, even after counseling, it’s difficult to talk about these things with close friends and family – much more so to complete stranger.
Sugar Ray has no need to put out a sensational story. He has no need to make this up.
From my own childhood experience – I can tell you that even a very brief bit of sexual abuse can have very long lasting consequences. To this day it’s very difficult for me to initiate sexual behavior – because once when I was a young child I innocently asked for a good night kiss and was french kissed by my oldest sister’s drunk boyfriend at the time. I’m sure he didn’t think it was a big deal but for me it was a shocking betrayal of trust and I never, ever, asked anyone for a goodnight kiss again.