If You Don’t Laugh, You Cry

So apparently that last post got some people worked up!

Good.

To be fair, within half an hour, I heard from two male friends who expressed, a) horror that this had happened to me, b) support. Within a week I had much more support from both male and female readers. I completely understand why commenting on the post itself was not something they were comfortable with. It’s an uncomfortable topic, and for some, it was triggering. I feel for anyone who has gone through this as well. It’s not a fun club to be part of.

However, anyone who knows me knows I don’t do “victim” well. Never have. That doesn’t mean that I was born as a jaded little scrapper, it means that when faced with adversity/negativity, I tend to look for solutions or positivity. I have coworkers who are annoyed with my “glass half full” outlook. It means when life tees up my order of lemons, I’m looking how to deal with all that lemonade. Didn’t get the job? Wasn’t meant for me. Don’t have an overflowing bank account? I’ve got a great marriage, family and solid health. Think that’s schmaltzy? Ask someone who is sick how awesome being healthy is. “Getting through” is a powerful life skill.

I have also been reassured by some readers that there are still “good guys” out there. Yup. There are. Now those good guys need to get their back up when they see this happening. Don’t just be embarrassed for the woman. Don’t feel ashamed because a member of your gender has made it tough for the rest of you by looking like an asshole. Stand up and speak up. You have mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, daughters, granddaughters – again, I would suggest at some point in their lives, they too have had to deal with this. They just don’t post it on a blog. Ask them. Support them. Don’t question their actions, reactions or even their desire not to talk about it. That’s their Right. It doesn’t make them less brave for not sharing. They are brave for enduring it and continuing to live their lives as broken, glued together women. Sometimes it makes you stronger. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I have two mottos for my life: The Best Revenge Is To Live Well; and If You Don’t Laugh You’ll Cry. I’m still the same person I was two weeks ago. I don’t live this in my day to day existence. I will continue to have a bent sense of humor, and say things that might be painful in their truth, but I’m not going to a victim and I’m not to look the other way.

If my last post bothered you, then I hope you’ll do the same.

…and I promise the next post will be a little lighter…

Blind, Deaf and Dumb Justice

I realize I don’t usually post this often, but I had to comment on this. 

What if you were told you had to give up 10 years of your life? There really isn’t a “great” decade to give up, but I can tell you the 10 years I know I couldn’t live without – 16-26.

During this time, I completed my college education, met my husband, married him, got my first job, first car and first house, along with my first child. I made friendships that have lasted to this day, and said goodbye to people who passed away. These were all significant events that led to me becoming the person I am today.

Now, imagine those years were taken from you for no. good. reason.

That would mean you are Brian Banks.

 

Brian’s story broke yesterday and today. It is chilling.

In 2002 he was a 16 year-old high school student who had a promising career in football. He had a full scholarship to USC and had no reason to believe he wouldn’t be playing in the NFL. He was going to live The Dream.

But 15-year-old Wanita Gibson had other plans. She told authorities that Brian kidnapped and raped her. He was brought up on charges and thanks to a brutal “Justice” system, and the joke that is “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”. On poor legal advice, (he was told he’d get 18 months instead of 40 years a finding of guilt) he pleaded No Contest, which meant he could take a plea deal. His lawyer felt the court would throw the book at a big, black teenaged male. Except it wasn’t 18 months…..

The kicker is – there was no evidence. This was strictly a He Said – She Said. Why did she level the allegation? All that has been revealed is that it was something he said, that she didn’t like. Certainly not anything worthy of what he received.

So he went to a State Penitentiary. Adolescence over. Dreams evaporated. Life on hold.

Until now. He is 26.

Wanita reached out to her “attacker” through facebook. It’s remarkable that she had the nerve to do this after her deceit, but the depths of her reprehensible behaviour were not limited to this. Amazingly, Brian accepted her friendship request. She then told him that she had lied about the attack, and hoped they could move past it. “Let bygones be bygones.”

*crickets*

What.

The.

HELL?!

It would seem that the “victim” in this crime had fared well. Follow Brian’s conviction and incarceration, Miss Thing decided to sue the high school where the “incident’ took place for lack of security (methinks cameras would have been helpful to prove Brian’s innocence – do YOU see the irony?) and was awarded $1.5 million.

Yup – that my friends, is rock bottom. Money taken out of an already taxed education system to reinforce the lie that ruined a man’s life.

While Brian Banks’ case was immediately taken on by California Innocence Project. Regardless, Brian was branded a convict, and a sex offender. He missed his prom, his chance to be a college star and what most likely would have been a promising career in the National Football League. I don’t want to think about the experiences he did have, thanks to the education he received in jail.

The first injustice is what has happened to Brian Banks. The second is to women all over the world who actually have suffered through kidnapping and sexual assault. It takes a great deal of strength to stand up to someone who has violated you and this woman has added insult to injury.

So what should happen to Wanita Gibson?

In a perfect world, an eye for an eye would apply. She could sit in a jail for the better part of 10 years. She could miss out on the life experiences and day to day existence she has enjoyed while Brian Banks was holed up in a cell. She sure as hell needs to pay back the $1.5 million she obtained fraudulently.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.

As a mother, I’m horrified that my son, only two years younger than Brian was when convicted, could have his entire future hijacked by a vengeful girl. As a woman, I’m embarrassed to think that others of my gender are capable of such hateful and destructive behaviour. We cannot be so naive to think that this scenario would never happen. Gender blackmail is an ugly concept that is employed far too frequently.

Brian Banks says he has no ill will toward Wanita Gibson. He seeks no revenge. He is a better person than I, and a saint compared to her. He has said he would like to attempt a career in professional football, but the odds are against him.

I would hope one team would take a chance on him, and give him the chance. After all, doesn’t he deserve it?