By Lauren Grimaldi
When the Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six years this past summer, a celebration went off throughout the city and seemed to last the whole summer. Then the stunning news about star forward Patrick Kane broke. He was accused of rape by a woman he met in a bar near his hometown in Buffalo, NY. The investigation is ongoing, but it’s clear through the reactions of social media and Kane’s biggest supporters that the way we think of sexual assault as a society is skewed from reality.
Obviously a beloved athlete that helped revitalize hockey in Chicago is going to garner a lot of fans and popularity, but it’s not fair to treat him as if he’s someone that’s above the law and you can’t defend his inability to act like a decent human being. The most important detail of the entire story regarding Kane is that he has yet to be charged with a crime, but it’s also pretty apparent that he’ll have support from a good portion of the Blackhawks fan base if he is indeed charged.
How can that be in 2015? It’s incredibly sad to see that blatant misogyny still exists. The idea that so many people still hold the belief that it’s more likely that Kane’s accuser lied about being raped for money than that Kane actually committed a heinous, violent crime is astounding. While there have been cases where rape accusations are proven to be false, it would be a lot more comforting if society were able to wait for investigators to finish what they need to do and not attack the accuser mercilessly without any proven evidence to do so. It may seem pointless to argue the sides of this case at this point, but it’s important that people realize that automatically believing a potential rape victim is lying is not okay. The Kane case isn’t going away, which is why it is decidedly important that we continue to advance our thoughts on how we view rape.
We cannot grow as a society if we do not discuss how to react to cases like this. And it’s not just in the Kane scenario that we see these unfortunate reactions either. Bulls star Derrick Rose is also being accused of rape at this time and still many people came to his defense whilst vehemently condemning his accuser. It’s not fair to say that Kane and Rose are guilty of these horrible crimes, but it’s not right to blindly defend someone you only know from watching them on your TV. Maybe these cases will end up being dismissed, but if they aren’t then support for the two stars cannot continue.