Failing to take violence against women seriously
Before we go to break, here's something that easily could have been the Outrage of the Week.
Here's the story: In July of 2012, one Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, better known as musician and singer Cee Lo Green, was having dinner with a 33-year-old woman. He slipped a drug, supposed to have been Ecstasy, into her drink, a fact acknowleged in a documented phone call he later made.
The next thing she remembers is waking up in her bed in her hotel room, naked, alongside Green.
Prosecutors did not file any charges of sexual assault, citing lack of evidence - which is, of course, the whole point of drugging someone: the lack of later evidence. Green did admit to sexual contact, he just insisted - Surprise! - that it was "consensual." Even so, Green was charged with one felony count of giving her the drug.
Here's where we get to the outrageous part.
At a preliminary hearing on August 29, Green pleaded "no contest" to the charge. Technically, it's nolo contendere, which translates to "I do not contest the charges." It allows the accused to offer no defense without admitting actual guilt. However, in terms of potential penalties, it is the same a a guilty plea or a conviction.
So what was his punishment? Remember, to be a felony a crime must have a maximum penalty of at least a year and a day in prison. So what did Green get for drugging a woman, leaving her either unconscious or so stoned as to be incapacitated, and then having sex with her under conditions which by any sane definition of the term constitute rape?
He got three years probation and was ordered to do 360 hours of community service and attend 52 Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, along with paying some restitution to his victim.
We continue to fail to take violence against women seriously.
Despite all that is in front of us, despite all we have seen and heard, we still will not take it seriously.
Cee Lo Green certainly doesn't: In a series of tweets after he avoided the slammer, he bizarrely claimed that, quoting,
"If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! So WITH implies consent… women who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!"
And so, it seems, we are back to "legitimate" rape, where "with" implies consent and not remembering it means it didn't happen.
An online petition campaign in response to the tweets, demanding his new show "The Good Life" be canceled, got more than 30,000 signatures in less than three hours.
On September 1, Green took to twitter again to "apologize." What he actually said was "I sincerely apologize for my comments being taken so far out of context." Besides the fact that this doesn't even rise to the level of an "if anyone was offended, I apologize" non-apology, it's Twitter! It's 140 characters! Just what is this greater context his statements were taken out of?
Happily, that sort of lame non-apology didn't help his cause and neither did the fact that he deleted not only the original tweets, but the "apology" as well. The next day, TBS and Time-Warner canceled "The Good Life." Which is the best thing to come out of this: actual consequences.
One final thought: as part of his non-apology, Green declared "I'd never condone the harm of any women." Which in his own mind might actually be true: He might think of what he did as not involving harm.
Because we do not take violence against women seriously.
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