Friday, December 13, 2013

Updates to Suspension Story

The boy, who I wrote about earlier in the week, who was suspended for kissing a girl in class had the allegations on his record changed from "sexual harassment" to "misconduct."  The linked-to Fox News article doesn't really explain why this change occurred, other than that the school district had been "inundated" with calls defending the boy.

Of fucking course.

Because missing from like 99% of reports were any statement made by the girl or her parents. Like, it wasn't even he-said, she-said, most of the media reports were almost entirely what the boy's mom said.

And, really, when I'm honest, few gender issues infuriate me more than a woman coddling rape culture entitlement in boys - because when women do it, with all of the associated "Can I just say as a female" bullshit prefacing, it does lend more credibility to whatever pro-rape-culture shit they're about to promote. Pretty much the only time sexist men will listen to women and believe women is when what we're saying validates their sexist, pro-rape-culture beliefs.

This one article, however, did bother to interview the girl's mother. And, she presents a quite different story of the situation than the OMG this poor, cute, innocent BOY got suspended for, like, NO REASON!! media hype.

She claims that in addition to the boy engaging in this behavior multiple times, including sneaking up on the girl, two boys "kept her (daughter) from playing with other kids and fought with each other." She adds:
"After they got in trouble, one boy stopped but the other boy apparently didn't get it. I had to put restrictions on her about which she was allowed to be around at school. I've had to coach her about what to do when you don't want someone touching you, but they won't stop."
The boy's mother, on the contrary, claimed that the boy and girl "like each other."

The girl herself told Fox News that she wanted the boy to "knock it off."

But, you know, I really don't want to get into litigating what happened. What's notable is how the boy being suspended at all is largely, widely viewed as CrAzY and Totally Out of Line, even though most people haven't even heard from the girl or her mother.

It's also really unfortunate that this instance really parallels what so often happens when men and boys are accused of rape or sexual harassment. Melissa at Shakesville notes:
"It's amazing (not remotely amazing) that this defense looks precisely like the rape apologia we see after every other case in which a male student breaches the consent of a female classmate. It was mutual. It was no big deal. There's nothing wrong with it. It's normal. It's natural. It's just a boy being a boy. To call out this behavior, to punish it, will have negative consequences for the boy who breached a girl's consent. It will ruin his life."
Boys and men have a lot of power, a lot of stereotypes, a lot of so-called common sense truths about gender, on their side working to validate their words and actions and minimize any resulting harm they might cause girls and women. It's almost like, gee, a whole culture exists, surrounding us all with the notion that girls and women exist in a state of perpetual consent to have our bodies touched, and that not getting a boy in trouble is more important that our bodily autonomy and integrity.

And, if people raise enough of a shit-storm, make enough phone calls whinging about PC Run Amok, then even the smallest disciplinary measures - like accurately calling sexual harassment sexual harassment - can be reversed. And, that's quite a lesson for girls to take in, yeah?

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