Readers reply to Barbara Amiel - Macleans.ca

Readers reply to Barbara Amiel

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Here are some of the letters we’ve received on Barbara Amiel’s column:

Barbara Amiel’s comments on the Ohio rape case (“Land mines in our sexual landscape,” Opinion, April 1) are classic blame-the-victim. No, the victim should not have gotten drunk. But being drunk is not an invitation to sexual assault. Despite Amiel’s apparently happy memories of witnessing drunken assaults at the frat house next door, would she be as dismissive of the damage if she had been the one whose body had been violated? She says, “You cannot end a disease by arresting the infected.” Yes you can. It’s call “quarantine” and it has the benefits of allowing the ill to be treated and preventing the infection from spreading. She also tries to make use of a truly weak comparison, likening child-porn prevention to Prohibition. Let’s be clear: there is such a thing as harmless and responsible social drinking. There is no such thing as harmless and responsible child pornography.
Heather Harper, Mississauga, Ont.

Reading Barbara Amiel’s uninformed column felt as if I had found an article from the 1940s. Amiel insinuated that the rape victim was at least partially responsible for the horrendous ordeal, because “she wasn’t wearing much to begin with.” No one leaves the house, in any outfit, planning to be sexually assaulted. In the 21st century, victim-blaming should be a thing of the past and yet we still teach women that they should not get raped, rather than teach men not to rape. The boys-will-be-boys mentality is offensive to both men and women, positing that men are animals and a bit alcohol is all it takes for them to unleash their feral side. And regarding Sarah Thomson’s complaint about Rob Ford’s alleged inappropriate behaviour, unwanted sexual attention is the definition of sexual harassment and her complaint is justified.
Andrea Kuntz, Toronto

The common link between the Steubenville rape case, the Rob Ford/Sarah Thomson controversy and Tom Flanagan’s remarks is that they all revolve around sexual acts that are non-consensual. A young women being drunk does not give anyone licence to assault her. Being mayor does not make someone else’s rear end your property. Children legally cannot give consent, so if you’re looking at child porn, you’re looking at the direct result of a heinous sexual assault against a child.
Meredith Whitmore, Washington

And here is a sampling from social media:

To contact us:

Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views. You can reach our letter’s editor at letters@macleans.ca. You may submit a letter for publication in the magazine to the following address. (Please supply name, address and daytime phone number.)

Maclean’s Letters
One Mount Pleasant Road
11th floor
Toronto,ON
M4Y 2Y5
Canada

And you can reach Barbara Amiel here: barbara.amiel@macleans.rogers.com

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