Opinion: Visalia Grindr Crime

You can imagine my shock when I learned yesterday that a person had been raped by a man in Visalia.  As the story goes, the two met on a social networking site and when the man got to the house he was asked to leave.  Upon refusing to leave, he pepper-sprayed his victim, bound their limbs and proceeded to rape them.  The media is covering this as a sexual assault, but let’s not kid ourselves, it was rape.  After he was done with his victim, he left with several electronic items and was later caught by the authorities.

As I’m sure you feel, this is an especially horrible crime and my heart goes out to the victim.  Would you feel different about the victim if I told you he was a man as well?  I don’t.  I still feel this is a crime of the most heinous nature.

As I read the community responses to the media stations Facebook posts of this story, I was horrified.  Some of the comments suggested that the victim deserved this, others that the rapist should be castrated or raped himself in prison by “Big Bubba”.  Some of the other comments were just plain in poor taste with such antics as “did he leave through the back door lol”.

I see quite a few problems here: 1) I don’t believe that the community response to the victim would have been consistent if the victim was a woman or a child; 2) The media, not once reached out to the LGBT or rape counseling community to make any statements regarding this; and 3) We learn through this that there is still a growing need and responsibility for social media outlets to caution their users of the risks involved and precautions one should take when accessing their technologies.  I will applaud the media for not making this a “gay” thing, but there has to be more done.

We as a society should be much more sensitive to victims of such crimes and also continue to rely and have faith in the judicial system to bring such perpetrators to justice.  As much as I would hate for the same thing to happen to anyone else and as much as rapists and violent sexual offenders piss me off, I don’t believe that calling for violence upon them is the right thing to do.

We have to call upon our leaders to be responsible to those they serve.  Our leaders must remain vigilant and continue to remind our community of the dangers and risks involved in social networks.  And we must be careful to be sensitive to victims of crimes like this.  As I said, it doesn’t matter what the circumstance or what genders are involved, rape is rape and no one should ever be subject to such a horrible crime.


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