As some of you know from real life & as others may have read on this blog previously, most modern pop music makes my ears bleed. I literally cannot listen to 99% of current radio stations without wanting to punch the radio . . . So I just don’t listen to the radio anymore since all it does is make me angry because everything I hear is such total CRAP. The lyrics contain zero substance; the thematic elements, if you can call them that, are vapid & inane; & the talent involved in the music itself is extremely limited, & that’s putting it gently. Let’s get real: “Call Me Maybe” was nominated for a Grammy . . . If that doesn’t make you want to puke, you probably ought to see a doctor. Ughhhh.
HOWEVER, ever since my freshman year of college when I first heard “Just Dance” I’ve been a huge fan of Lady Gaga. Yes, you heard me right. As much as I love Manson, MIW, Godsmack, & the like (& Eric Church & Kacey Musgraves; can’t forget the two country artists I truly adore), I am also completely enthralled by Gaga’s music . . . It just so happens that many rock stars have recognized the talent of Lady Gaga, Matt Heafy of Trivium & Sully Erna of Godsmack, just to name a few . . . I’ll admit her earlier hits like the aforementioned “Just Dance” as well as “Poker Face” & several others are far from life-changing & basically just typical pop songs, at least as far as lyrical content. But to me it was immediately obvious, even in those songs, that Lady Gaga is NOT your average pop star. For one thing, she can actually SING. Imagine that!
As her career progressed & she put out songs like Speechless (yes, she can actually play piano), “You & I,” & “Born This Way” I became even more impressed with her talents. I even chose The Edge of Glory for the recessional song at my wedding. Yes, believe it or not I got away with playing a Lady Gaga song in a Southern Baptist church of all places! I still find that hard to believe, even four years later . . .
Anyway, this week Lady Gaga has blown me away again. If you haven’t heard, she released a video for her powerful song Till It Happens to You. The video is hard to watch because of the subject matter, rape & sexual abuse, but it is extremely powerful. I completely understand if you can’t stomach watching the video, but everyone should at least listen to the song. If it doesn’t make you tear up or at least want to cry, you’re insensitive to say the least.
I find this song particularly relevant because of a sexual assault that happened at a local hospital this past weekend, a hospital which is part of the healthcare organization for which I work, & the less than stellar way the organization has handled this tragedy. Yes, believe it or not, a hospital employee was sexually assaulted in a public restroom within a hospital & the perpetrator has not yet been caught. To make matters worse, the hospital was not placed on lockdown & other hospital employees were not properly notified of the event . . . In the past we have always received emails any time a violent crime has occurred anywhere near the hospital or the associated university campus, even those of us working in outlying facilities. As I understood it, the hospital was required by law to report such crimes. But in this case, when a sexual assault occurred within the hospital itself, many of us, including me, only found out about it because of the local news or hearing about it from our coworkers who had heard it through the grapevine. This morning I got an email from my HOA warning us that a sexual offender had been spotted in a neighboring community. His picture was included as well as the number for the local police department. After reading that email, I couldn’t help but feel like my HOA is more concerned about the safety of our community than my employer is about the safety of its employees . . . . How disheartening to say the least!
Of course I realize there are idiots who throw around blatantly false rape charges, like the infamous Duke Lacrosse case. These morons only serve to bring into question the legitimacy of those who truly were raped or assaulted, which is incredibly sad. It’s not like victims aren’t shamed & blamed enough as it is.
I also realize I may catch a lot of flack for saying this, especially as a woman, but in my opinion if you CHOOSE to drink with someone, knowing your judgment may be impaired because of it, & you end up having sex with that person, provided you wanted & consented to the sex at the time, then I don’t think you have a right to claim rape. (If you do not consent or are actually passed out & completely incapacitated, that is a whole different story, of course.) Sorry, ladies, but regretting sex the next morning does not equal rape. Maybe I’m a traitor to my own gender for saying that, but I just think that if I want to claim equal intelligence & rights within our society I’ve also got to take responsibility for my own actions. To be clear, I am in NO WAY saying that girls who dress promiscuously or flirt with guys are “asking for it” & deserve to be raped or any such nonsense . . . I’m just saying you don’t hear guys crying rape when they wake up next to a girl who was a lot hotter when they were drunk & not thinking as clearly. I also realize that fake claims like this are really quite rare, but I do think it’s worth mentioning.
Now that that’s out of the way, I can focus on the meat of the matter. The truth is that rape & sexual assault/abuse are still rampant in our society . . . I certainly know people, some very dear to me, who have been raped or otherwise sexually abused. And I’m willing to bet anyone reading this does too. Or maybe it’s even happened to you . . . To be clear, I don’t think these issues are any worse now than they’ve ever been; I just think we’re more aware of them thanks to the technology we have today. And sadly I don’t think these issues will ever go away entirely, but I do think we can do better. And we can do that by raising our boys (& girls) to respect women & themselves (after all, any truly self-respecting person could not harm another in such a brutal way) & to understand that rape & sexual assault/abuse are NEVER acceptable behavior. Too often our society places the onus of preventing rape on the victim or potential victims. But that’s just backwards. Rape is not a women’s issue; it’s a humanity issue. Thank you, Lady Gaga, for reminding us of that. Rock on with your bad self.