Friday, August 17, 2007


Our friends over at Salon's broadsheet today highlight a disturbing -- and thought-provoking -- online quiz. Seems Radar created an online quiz (titled "Bitch Slap") aimed at comparing public comments about sport superstars accused of rape or domestic abuse with the spleen spewed at Michael Vick over allegations that he killed and tortured dogs.

The quiz author writes that :

“Vick's critics have been so unforgiving that a reporter in Pittsburgh went so far as to say that the player would have been "better off raping a woman." The reporter later apologized for his remarks but, based on people's vitriolic reactions, he may not have been so far off the mark.

It seems that Americans will tolerate certain things from their athletes—a sexual assault charge, stalking, the occasional domestic dispute—but they draw the line when it comes to their pooches. Does the public really value a pit bull over a woman? Radar has compiled a list of quotes to help you decide.”


The quotes included in the quiz generally support the author's thesis. Relatively forgiving quotes were directed at alleged rapists and abusers. After learning that the wife of alleged obsessive husband and Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes had sought a restraining order, the team manager said "In visiting with him, I can see he's pretty much upset. I anticipated that, so I thought the wise thing to do would be to not start him tonight and more than likely play him tomorrow."

Meanwhile, vitriol was directed at the dog abuser -- Senator Robert Byrd took to the Senate floor in July and shook with fury as he denounced the fights as "barbaric" and "sadistic," and advocated death for its practitioners, saying that "I have seen one individual in my lifetime electrocuted in the electric chair. ... It is not a beautiful spectacle. So I can say I could witness another one if it involves this [business] ..."

Just, y’know, as examples.

While it’s obviously tricky to use handpicked quotes and reader votes as the be-all and end-all of social commentary, I do think it at minimum raises a point about still existing biases against women: her skirt was too short, she asked for it, why didn’t she leave (see Monday’s post).

Sadly and disturbingly, there are all sorts of excuses people use to justify why a woman was abused. It’s a lot harder to blame the victim when it’s a dog.


jack said...

My girlfriend, an avid sports fan and a DV attorney, was telling me this very thing - that sports players get off easier when they abuse women than when they abuse dogs - the other day. So true, and so sick.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is disgusting when perpetrators of violence against women get off with a slap on the wrist. It is equally as disgusting when people abuse animals. Violence is violence and is never justified, unless used in self-defense. The rights of people and non-human animals to be free from violence are not oppositional, and we should refrain from feeding into this idea implying that it is more okay to abuse one over the other.