Say it ain’t so, Maria Sharapova

Before I begin a whiny rant about my favorite tennis star, allow me to follow up on yesterday’s topic regarding the Stanford rape case.

The embarrassing sentencing notwithstanding, the most important thing is that it’s at least reignited a national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses, which is a conversation that we need to have.

I said it yesterday, but it’s worth repeating: one in five female college students are victims of sexual assault. One in five! Think of five of your female friends. Odds say that one of them engaged in a sexual encounter during college of which they did not grant their consent.

That’s frightening.

Magnifying the conversation today was none other than our vice president, Joe Biden, who in 1994, drafted the Violence Against Women Act, which funded billions of dollars for the prosecution and investigation of violent crimes against women, among other things.

Joe Biden.jpgBiden issued an open letter to the unidentified rape victim at Stanford University, and the full transcript was posted on Buzzfeed. It’s powerful and absolutely worth reading. In all honesty, reading it this afternoon gave me chills.

And it reinforces my firm belief that we have taken our current administration for granted in extravagant fashion. But I digress.

Allow me to transition now to another women who was stripped — of her tennis career.

I will be submitting that last line to the 2016 Bloggie Awards as the most tasteless transitional sentence of the year. Just so you know. It might win. Too bad those awards don’t actually exist.

Actually … apparently it does exist. I just Googled it. Where the hell are my trophies?! This is an outrage!

Oh well. Anyway, I can’t possibly end this week without discussing the love of my life, Maria Sharapova. I have been in a 10-year, unrequited love affair with the tennis star. I have devotedly followed her career for nearly a decade, sometimes staying up very late to watching her compete in the Australian Open, and was her staunchest defender when, in March, she admitted to using a banned substance.

The drug, Meldonium, was only added to the banned substances list in January. It is not Maria Sharapova2.jpgsold in the United States, and Sharapova used it to manage health problems, including a family history of diabetes.

A tribunal of the International Tennis Federation ruled that Sharapova took the substance without the intention to cheat — meaning that she unintentionally committed a doping violation — and yet, still banned her from tennis for two years.

And just like that, I no longer have any interest in women’s tennis for two years. Sharapova is appealing the ruling, but those pretty much never work.

It’s fair to wonder if Sharapova, 29, may ever compete again. Tennis players usually begin their decline once they hit 30, given how young they begin playing professionally, and the subsequent wear and tear they put on their bodies.

But any one who has followed Sharapova’s career knows she keeps herself in tremendous shape, and I have no doubt that she will come back, if the suspension stands.

It’s a dark day, no doubt.

But what kind of unrequited lover would I be if I gave up on her now?

Maria, you have no idea about any of this, but I’m the perfect husband you’ll never have.

(I really wish I didn’t start this post by talking about rape.)

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Injustice at Stanford

I’ve said a million times — both in public and many times even on this blog — how much I enjoy being a man.

I love exemplifying the cliché, stereotypical aspects of manhood — irrationally obsessing over sports; eating crappy food but still working out within a one-hour time span; not shaving for weeks at a time; and wearing cargo shorts every opportunity I can, to name a few.

God bless cargo shorts, man’s version of carrying a purse.

And being a man my entire life (I feel like in 2016 it’s necessary to clarify that), there is undoubtedly so many things I’ve taken for granted.

One extremely basic thing being my own safety.

Generally, the average man doesn’t have to worry about being preyed upon when out in public. We don’t have any reservations walking alone at night. We happily go to bars and clubs by ourselves. We don’t even know where to buy pepper spray even if we wanted to.

Stanford rape case.jpg

And please, don’t misconstrue my words and think I’m implying that all women live in a constant state of fear. I know tons and tons of women who are a hell of a lot braver than I am and can take care of themselves just fine.

But they do have to worry about their safety on a day-to-day basis more than men do. And that’s simply because the greatest danger to women is men.

It’s for that reason why we as a society need to do everything in our power to protect women. And we collectively failed to do just that regarding what happened in Stanford.

Americans were outraged this week when a California judge delivered a lenient sentence to a 20-year-old man and former student at Stanford University who was found guilty for three felony counts related to sexual assault. A man who was seen by witnesses raping an unconscious women behind a dumpster, and then tried to flee when they attempted to detain him.

Brock Turner got six months in jail. The judge who decided that, Aaron Persky, faces a campaign to recall him.

You’ve all probably heard about this. But I don’t think it could be understated how harmful and how major of a setback this is for women victimized by sexual assault.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five college women are sexually assaulted, but less than 10 percent report the assault.

It’s tragic, but understandable why women don’t often report sexual assault, in order to avoid having to endure an entire legal process and the scrutiny that comes with it. But for a case like this, that was so clear cut, so indisputable, and for the rapist to still only receive a slap on the wrist is incomprehensible.

After this, you wonder why a women would ever report sexual assault again.

The judge considered the boy’s academic and athletic accomplishments as a rationale for the light sentence. Even the boy’s father made a statement in court complaining that his son’s life had been ruined by “20 minutes of action.”

What? We’re supposed to sympathize for the perpetrator, and not the woman whose life he ruined during his mere “20 minutes of action?”

If you’re not mad yet, then perhaps take the time to read a letter that the unidentified rape victim read to her attacker in court. A letter that was read live on TV by CNN news anchor Ashleigh Banfield.

All I can say to women is, on behalf of all men, I’m sorry we failed you so badly.