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Friday, May 10, 2013

No One Wants To Think About That Cleveland Story

I’ve noticed that, despite media saturation with the hideous story of the decade-long imprisonment, torture and rape of three women in Cleveland, people around me aren’t talking, blogging, Facebooking or Tweeting about it. It’s not even mentioned in passing, unlike so many other high-profile crimes in recent memory. I think this one is just too horrible to allow one’s mind to dwell on. I know it’s been plaguing me, and I keep trying not to think about it. But there’s something I think really needs to be said, and no one around me is saying it, probably because they can't stand thinking about it, either.

This is an extreme case of behavior that is actually horrifyingly common and emerges every single day, all over the world, in thousands of instances of domestic abuse and rape. In America, one in four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day. Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend to 3 million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year. (Source.) Almost 18 million women and almost 3 million men in the United States have  been raped. One of every six women has  been raped at some time. In a single year,  more than 300,000 women and almost 93,000 men are estimated to have been raped. (Source.)

It’s really easy to say that Ariel Castro is a psycho and leave it at that. But what about all the thousands and thousands of others? The biggest difference between all those incidents and this one is duration. Yes, it takes a special degree of evil to keep up the lie for a decade, but not a special kind. The kind of evil committed by Ariel Castro is occurring all around us, every day--mostly, though not entirely, committed by men.

I’m sure there are many, many contributing factors we need to confront as a society. I’m no expert. But I’m pretty damn sure we will change nothing if we can’t even stand talking about it.

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