Opinions: Letter to the Editor

Deirdre O'Connor, Writing Center Director

To the Editor:

Even though Ray Rice knocked out his then-fiancée Janay Palmer on Feb. 15 and video footage revealed him dragging her, unconscious, from the elevator, it wasn’t until TMZ released video footage from inside the elevator that most people paid attention. Whereas Rice had initially been punished with a two-game suspension from the Baltimore Ravens, the inside video “changed things, of course,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “And it made things a little bit different,” he added.

That “little bit”—whether it consisted of seeing rather than imagining what happened, or of recognizing the fallout from public reaction to a previously unseen “incident”—is really a lot of difference, starkly demonstrating how our perception of a crime can be drastically affected by what we can see. We don’t see, and will never see, most domestic and sexual assaults. We live in a culture where (typically male) perpetrators may assault other people (often women) in privacy and almost always get away with it.

Feminism helps us see the social, legal, and behavioral factors that allow men to believe they are entitled to power over women (Rice said, “My job is to lead my wife.”) and how these same factors contribute to the often invisible abuse of women—on our campus, in our families, everywhere. Many Bucknell students, faculty, and staff members are engaged in feminist pursuits, but others resist. It’s past time for everyone to stop being afraid of the feminist label, which has been denigrated by those who resist equality. Reading and talking about feminism and the ways racism, classism, and other systems of oppression intersect in our lives help us choose ways to act and to change our world.


Deirdre O’Connor

Director, Writing Center

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