No More Playing Ignorant People, We Need To Be Informed In OUR World

No More Playing Ignorant People, We Need To Be Informed In OUR World

If you haven't started, start today.

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For those who know me, you are all probably thinking, wow Deb, it is about time! For those who do not know me that well, disclosure, I am not the most political person. I am also not the kind of person who speaks her opinion about current events. I was always kind of neutral since I thought neutrality would keep peace amongst the people in my life. Growing up I always stirred cleared of that kind of stuff. I would block it out, thinking "everything will work out eventually". Well, it is 2018 now and nothing is working out.

I just turned 21 and it took me this long for my brain to finally wake up to what is around me. I was constantly focused on what I personally needed to get done, I believed I did not have time to watch the news, think about what is happening in Flint, Michigan, The Parkland Shooting out in Florida or even about gentrification in my own backyard.

I thank my boyfriend for opening me up to not being so ignorant. Ignorant is not bliss. I repeat ignorant is not bliss. I used to get around with just shrugging my shoulders about what is clearing important. I would only read stories that were funny or "soft pieces". I grew up in an area where I could easily push the world away and still feel okay. Now I am watching the news almost every day, I am asking questions when I need to. I am also understanding that ignoring is not going to make our problems go away. If anything, it would make things worse because then there would be a person who will try to do tasks, we don't agree with under our noses.

As a writer, I feel a little disappointed in myself because I should have known. I want to be a teller, to inform my audience of things I have learned. Yet, the most earth-shattering things that come up on my radar, I don't speak about. Why? Maybe it is because I am afraid of what people may think. Maybe it is because with all this negative talk it triggers more to my own anxiety and depression. Quite possibly it is because I do not want to believe that the world is like this.

I don't want to live in a world where every other celebrity has been accused of sexual assault, and worse, found guilty. I don't want to live in a world where we have "progressed" in a society of everyone being equal yet, prejudice and racism are still clearly alive, even with our president. I don't want to live in a world where just because I am a woman, I cannot do certain things, or I am expected to do other things. I don't want to live in a world where people I know are afraid to come out about their own sexual orientation because of what their parents think or of what the world thinks.

I don't want my children to a live in a world where my government could take away someone's child.

I am done playing the innocent girl. I am done speaking softly or not at all. I am done, and you should be too. The generation that I live in and the ones that follow are speaking volumes because they are fed up with what our world is coming to. Have the difficult conversations with people. Vote on the issues, all of the issues. Just vote in general. Don't be the person who does not vote because they don't have the time or they don't know the candidates/issues. Make the effort! Research before you gives an opinion. KNOW ALL THE FACTS. I think that was one of the more bigger challenges that I had. I thought because I did not believe I knew everything about that given topic, I should not speak. But I was wrong, I go to a proud liberal arts institution where I meet so many different people and learn so much from them. So I might as well start today.

Dystopian movies about tension building and chaotic destruction are beginning to become our real possible future, people. So we need to wake-up and join our movements before it is too late.

That also includes me.

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Just Because You Can Throw A Ball Does Not Mean Your Rape Is Admissible

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

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I wish rape didn't seep into every sphere of my life. But, like ink, it has.

Interpersonally, my childhood friend was gang-raped by members of the University of North Texas basketball team. As uncovered in an investigation, her circumstances were not isolated, unlike what it says in UNT's initial statement. I am proud to know my friend. I am proud to stand with her. However, I am ashamed at the situation and the commonness of her suffering among students just like me, on college campuses.

Politically, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, promotes new fortifications for students accused of sexual assault. Basically, the rules would reduce the legal classification of harassment while offering protections for those accused of wrongdoing. In my emotions, I firmly believe in the American ideal of being "innocent until proven guilty". However, even in a crime so entrenched in emotions, I must look at facts. Facts say that the falsification rate of rape is the same as most other crimes, somewhere around 5%. Therefore, I believe that DeVos' proposal would tilt investigations in favor of the committer and significantly lessen the number of victims who would have the assurance to come forward and tell his/her story. In a campus-setting, where 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted, her "solution" adds gasoline to a country-wide fire.

Educationally, Brock Turner, a swimmer at Stanford University received just six months in county jail after being found guilty of five felonies, all of which amount to him raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. In defense of the light sentence, the judge said, "the more time (Turner spends) in jail, the more severe impact" on his future, who wanted to go to the Olympics. Never mind the future of the victim.

First off, rape culture, a sociological concept in which sexual assault is pervasive and normalized, exists. And while it exists everywhere, I can only speak with any authority on the campus setting, where hook-up culture is both catalyzed and camouflaged. Here, the area that needs the most treatment is in the locker room, on the court, or on the field.

Student athletes are proportionally the greatest perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

While a tiny 3% of male students are athletes, male student athletes are responsible for almost a fifth of sexual assaults on campus. And that is just the events that are reported, (just so you know, about 3 out of 4 go unreported). However, the NCAA has no policy that lessens a student's athletic eligibility in the face of sexually violent behavioral patterns. If you have allowed these numbers to simmer in your mind, you can see that this is unacceptable.

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

Most experts make cultural and institutional arguments.

Culturally, student athletes are not seen as "normal" students – rather, they provide a service to the college. Where most students get something from the college, student athletes give to the college, and we should be so lucky to have them grace us with their presence. It is a part of the status quo: high-status students on campus are athletes, especially males who play the most popular sports, like football, basketball, or baseball. These students carry social privilege.

Obviously, athletes are not naturally ethically worse than other students. I am simply saying that absolutely no one is immune to the culture that surrounds him/her, and we have a weird culture.

On average, athletes are more likely than other students on campus to buy into the cross-cultural concept of robust masculinity, which, in extreme cases, can lead to increased sexual aggression. Don't just take it from a non-athlete like me. Even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an NBA champion and a former UCLA basketball player, declared the cultural privilege from which he benefited.

"I'm especially aware of the culture of entitlement that athletes feel... they strut around campus with the belief that they can do no wrong."

I am not going to sugarcoat the point that we all know well: football players are comparable to celebrities on campus, which has dangerous implications for a certain untouchability in mindsets.

Institutionally, colleges are as inclined to protect the perpetrator over non-athletic peers. A Senate report concluded that administrators tend to do three actions to protect their athletes, and therefore, their brand.

1. Higher-ups at the school discourage victims from reporting to police outside of the university. In this method, they let the campus police "handle it" and not report to less-biased city forces.

2. Admins downplay an assault's severity, making it less 'criminal', more unintentional and of an event to "move on from".

3. The athletic department can work with the administration and strategically delay proceedings while athletes finish their season.

If these three things are not enough as far as systemic ethical transgressions go, when athletes are found responsible for sexual assault, they may face small consequences.

Just to pull an infamous example from my home state of Texas, Baylor University continues to wrestle with how to deal with battery; I don't need to go over the sheer amount of claims that they were conscious and compliant to most allegations of assault involving their student-athletes.

So, not only is our mindset messed up, but the administration who is supposed to protect us is similarly bungled.

Obviously, athletes are not bad people, only people that are subject to their environment and protected by their talent. But crime is crime. The unnamed victim of Brock Turner said it well as she argued that being "an athlete at a university should not be an entitlement to leniency, but an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law" no matter your status.

Throwing a ball does not make someone above the rules.

Yes, I realize that my words have become trite. Scary articles, documentaries, and books about the sheer magnitude of sexual crime in college abound. But I see my seemingly-repetitive diction more as a reflection of our fallen collegiate system, rather than of myself.

With my article, I only ask that you keep fighting for victims like my childhood friend, for the classmate who sits next to you in lecture, for yourself. This institutional and social discrepancy of "athletics above all else" happens at more universities than I had the breath to mention.

Your first step is taking a searing examination at the failure of American universities to grapple successfully with campus rape in the systematic pattern of protecting student athletes more than other students. The next steps follow naturally. Take part in the activism at your school, encourage survivors, and productively confront the problem. Fear not, the policies will change with your effort.

Politics aside, we are in a time for you to continue speaking the truth, even if your voice trembles.

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10 Things You Should Know About The Jayme Closs Case

After 88 days in captivity, Jayme Closs, 13, has returned home.

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On October 15, 2018, Jayme Closs' life was forever changed when Jake Patterson, 21, killed her father and mother and took Jayme from her home. Sparking national attention, the entire nation was on the lookout for the young girl, but it was not until January 10th, 2019 that Jayme was finally found. With nothing less than sheer bravery, Jayme managed to free herself from Patterson's home in Gordon, Wisconsin, nearly 70 miles from her home in Barron, Wisconsin. Patterson now faces double homicide, kidnapping, and burglary charges, adding up to more than a life sentence in prison. This case will now be written into our history books and Jayme will be forever known as an incredibly courageous and resilient young lady.

1. Jake Patterson, 21, singled out Jayme as "the girl he was going to take"

On the way to his new job at Saputo Cheese Factory in Almena, Wisconsin, Patterson found himself behind a school bus that stopped in front of the home of an unknown red-haired girl. He did not know this girl's name nor who else lived in the home, but he did determine one thing immediately, this was "the girl he was going to take."

2. Patterson killed both of Jayme's parents before kidnapping her

On October 15th, Patterson decided to carry out his plan to kidnap Jayme. Walking up the front door with the intention to force entry into the Closs' home, Patterson shot her father, James Closs when he answered the door. Jayme and her mother, Denise Closs, locked themselves in the bathroom after hearing the gunshots. After locating them inside the house, Patterson broke down the bathroom door where he found Denise holding Jayme in a bear hug. Patterson demanded that Denise put tape over her daughter's mouth, and after this demand was fulfilled, Patterson shot Denise Closs and took Jayme from her home.

3. Jake Patterson tried to kidnap Jayme two times previously

A week prior to October 15th, Patterson arrived at the Closs' home, but was scared off by seeing multiple cars in their driveway. A few days later, he visited the home again, but decided against carrying out his plan in that instance after seeing lights on and people walking around inside the home.

4. Jayme was trapped underneath a bed

Patterson tied Jayme's hands and ankles together and placed her in the trunk of her car. He then drove 70 miles before arriving at his home in Gordon, where he made Jayme hide under his bed and then proceeded to stack weighted laundry bins and totes around the bed so Jayme would be unable to escape. On several occasions, Patterson would force Jayme to stay under the bed for 12 hours straight without any food, water or bathroom breaks.

5. Jayme managed to free herself on January 10th, after 88 days in captivity

On January 10th, Patterson informed Jayme that he was going to be gone for around 5 hours. Jayme decided that this was her chance at freedom. She managed to push herself out from underneath the bed and escape the household. Luckily, Jeanne Nutter, a neighbor of Patterson, happened to be out walking her dog when Jayme escaped. Nutter, immediately putting the pieces together in her head, recognized Jayme and brought her to the home of Kristen and Peter Kasinskas while they called the police. Nutter decided against bringing Jayme to her own home because it was too close to Patterson's.

6. Patterson abused Jayme both physically and verbally

Patterson, a short-tempered man, constantly reminded Jayme that she was not to move out from underneath the bed without his permission. On one occasion, Patterson hit Jayme with a handle used to clean blinds and told her that the punishment would be much worse if she angered him again or tried to escape. Patterson would hit his fist against a wall and scream at Jayme when she tried to get out from underneath the bed "to the point where he knew she was scared and she knew that she better never try that again."

7. Patterson thought he had gotten away with it

After two weeks without being caught, Patterson determined that he had gotten away with the kidnapping and the double homicide. When Patterson returned home on January 10th to find that Jayme had escaped, he spent several minutes driving around looking for her. However, upon his arrival home, he was met by the police and he knew that he had been caught.

8. According to a high school friend, "there were no red flags"

Dylan Fisher, a high school friend of Patterson, stated that there was nothing overtly "off" about Patterson. He was on the quiz bowl team in high school and he loved his parents and his dog, much like other students. However, upon graduation, Patterson stated that he did not wish to keep in contact anymore and had no social media presence, but beyond that, Patterson created no cause for concern.

9. Patterson will face double homicide, kidnapping, and burglary charges

Patterson faces a mandatory life sentence in prison if convicted on either homicide charge along with a 40-year and 15-year sentence for kidnapping and burglary, respectively. His bail has been set at $5 million. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 6th.

10. Closs is now reunited with her family who will "give her all the love she needs"

Jayme Closs been reunited with her cousin Lindsey Smith and two of her aunts, Sue Allard and Lynn Closs who are beyond thrilled by her arrival home. It should come as no surprise that Jayme's recovery will not be easy. She is returning home to find her life completely changed, but Allard stated that they are "surrounding her with love and making sure she feels safe."

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