The Foolish Theory That Rich, Famous People Don’t ‘Have To’ Rape
There are some unsurprisingly but still horrifically uninformed tweets popping up in the wake of the news that Patrick Kane is reportedly under investigation for raping a woman in his hometown of Buffalo. The tweets are typical but still alarming.
Before I go any further, let this be clear. This is in no way a comment on whether Patrick Kane is or is not guilty of sexual assault or even whether the report about him being the subject of an investigation is true. I do not claim to know whether he is involved in any kind of criminal case involving rape or sexual assault. This is just an observation based on the reactions to the report that Kane is being investigated.
For some reason there is a tendency to doubt the possibility that a celebrity or athlete would rape someone at all. That belief is presumably rooted in the idea that people think rape to be about a person's sexual desire, which it is not. Based on that first inaccurate belief there is a notion that attractive, successful, wealthy and famous people always have so many men and women who already want to have sex with them that rape wouldn't be necessary. It's an incredibly misinformed and downright erroneous interpretation of rape and celebrity, but somehow that premise has permeated the way that many Americans view rape when it involves people of a specific social status.
Once again just to be clear, no one ever needs to rape somebody. That's an oddly popular phrase used in these types of situations. What you really mean is that you are failing to understand his motive behind criminal behavior. There are plenty of regular and well-meaning people with a modest income who go out for a night hoping to get some action and it doesn't happen for them. They don't resort to raping someone because they don't have an option for consensual sex. After all the coverage of recent rape cases by famous, powerful and often attractive men it's a little unsettling to see that this viewpoint is still so prevalent.
Just this past June, former NFL star Darren Sharper pleaded guilty to rape in Louisiana, completing a series of pleas in four states that will see him serve multiple prison sentences for drugging and sexually assaulting nine women.
Per Sports Illustrated: "Sharper's guilty pleas are supposed to be the final step in a 'global plea deal' in which Sharper agreed to resolve charges against him in four states related to sexual assault allegations made by at least nine women. He has already pleaded guilty to state charges in Nevada and Arizona and pleaded no-contest in California as part of the deal that would call for him to spend at least the next nine years in prison.
Sharper faced up to 25 years in prison for simple rape, and five to 40 years on the forcible rape charge, but was sentenced to 20 years.
Sharper is also set to receive a 20-year sentence on his California plea deal for two counts of rape of an intoxicated victim and four counts of furnishing the women with a controlled substance."
Darren Sharper was a very attractive, successful, charming guy who wore nice expensive suits and spoke respectfully to the people around him. He was a 5-time Pro-Bowler, 6-time All-Pro, named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints. He was getting eyed for the NFL Hall of Fame. He enjoyed his job and worked hard while he was there, and he certainly didn't come across like a serial rapist looking for his next victim.
I know all of this because I worked with Sharper on a daily basis for four months at the NFL Network until he was arrested and fired. I sat alone with him in the green room on countless occasions. We had normal conversations about work and life. We talked about his daughter and his constant traveling, and how I was adjusting to my recent move and new life in Los Angeles. I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable around him, even when I'd felt that way with other athletes that I'd worked with.
It turns out he was a very dangerous man, and I had no idea. None of the other women I worked with that I spoke to did either. There is no social profile that you can find -no tax bracket or industry or ethnicity or gender - that does not include rapists or people capable of rape.
Now there are still nowhere near enough details in regards to the investigation of Patrick Kane to speculate on whether he did or did not do anything. He hasn't even been arrested for anything. But it's foolish and dangerous to assume that a person of a certain occupation, wealth and fame wouldn't rape someone because they "don't have to."
Nobody ever has to rape. There are just bad people in the world that do.
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