Tuesday morning before picking up Oliver, I ran some errands and was listening to “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR. Her guest was Stacey Lannert, who at the age of 18 shot and killed her sexually abusive father in Missouri and was sentenced to life-in-prison for first-degree murder. She was imprisoned for 18 years, when at age 36 her sentence was commuted by Missouri’s outgoing governor. At the time of her trial and sentencing, Missouri, like most other states, did not have a justified defense of sexual abuse or battered woman syndrome.
Miss Lannert has since written a memoir entitled Redemption and was discussing her disturbing childhood with Diane Rehm. Lannert’s incest began at age 8 and continued for ten years. Her mother had also been a victim of incest and her father told her that her mother was not going to do anything to help her. For a decade, during which her mother died, Lannert was tormented physically and mentally and no one did anything about it. She also felt that as long as her father was abusing her, he would leave her younger sister alone. Then, on the night she was going to escape with her sister and leave forever, her drunken father grabbed her 16-year-old sister, took her into his bedroom, and locked the door. Listening to her sister scream as she was being raped, drove Lannert over the edge and a couple hours later, she shot her father.
With this horrific testimony in my mind I took Oliver to Landa Park to feed the ducks. While there, three male ducks tried mating at once with one female, pushing her head underwater for too long at a time, again and again. I was furious and threw handfuls of pea gravel to disperse them. They stopped for a few seconds but started in again. I was appalled, despite knowing it was a fact of nature. It just came too soon after hearing about the raping of young girls by their father. Two more times I threw the gravel and finally the female was able to swim away. The males acted as if nothing happened and did not try to mate with any other females.
Later, after taking Oliver home, I went online to Rehm’s website and found the interview and comments, most of which were sympathetic and compassionate. Several had similar experiences of sexual abuse. However, one male callously commented that he was tired of hearing about more male bashing and Rehm’s penchant for presenting it so often. To this person, I can only say: Until incest, molestation, and sexual abuse has been eliminated from society, there can never be too much said about hideous male aberration.
Yes, there are female abusers. Yes, there are male rape victims. And, these incidents are just as terrible and unconscionable. BUT, the overwhelming majority of sexual predators are male. Biologically, we may be classified as animals; however, humans have been given more brain power and the ability to think in order to further develop. In the wild, mating and survival dominate; everything has a specific purpose. Mankind has supposedly evolved to rise above primitive instincts, but every instance of violence and abuse against women and children around the world belies that. How many more millenniums have to pass before humanity becomes truly civilized?