… to include journalists that are so deeply uneducated about a subject they’re investigating they do harm. I would bring Don Lemon back to the shop: this one should be recalled.

His questions to Joan Tarshis were the result of his lack of information regarding the psychodynamics between a rapist and his target. His perspective was reductive and based on one of rape mythology’s greatest hits: you can’t be forced to perform oral sex because if it’s really rape then any *reasonable person would bite their rapist. (*see psychodynamics)


One of the biggest disconnects for many men trying to wrap their minds around rape is they lack the empathy to understand why women don’t or can’t fight back. Men are, as a gender, solution oriented. Something breaks, you fix it. You’re in danger, you fight. This binary, lowest common denominator male experience is typical and another reason that victim blame is such handy cure-all to sooth their bone-deep discomfort with rape. Any man who starts a sentence with, “If it were me…” Listen, I love the men in my life and sincerely appreciate all of the men who are wonderful dads, police who arrest rapists, lawyers who prosecute and judges who convict rapists. But any man who wants to armchair quarterback a survivor after the fact needs to pipe down and listen.

Don Lemon’s egregious questions moved this narrative right back where white male privilege would like to keep this issue –under a heavy, wet blanket of fear, shame and silence. Thank goodness for people like Don Lemon. He is a great meter of where we are as a culture and how far we need to go. Just when I thought equitable treatment for women was DOA, the demand for and receipt of his apology was a sinus rhythm bounce in the flat line. Signs of life, however meager, are still good signs.

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