Stereotypes cluttered the media this week as the unfolding saga of Reform MP Jack Ramsay dominated front pages. Even given the charge of attempted rape, Ramsay's past is almost forgivable if only he had simply remained appropriately remorseful about the situation. One can respect a man who admits his wrongful acts of 30 years ago and apologizes with a certain acknowledgment of how he's learned from and moved past those mistakes. This is the basis of parole for criminals after all, and it could have served Ramsay well. However, in placing part of the blame on a 14-year-old girl, in saying she somehow teased him to commit that dreadful act, Ramsay showed that he does not deserve parole and has learned little since 1969.
The man who so strongly opposes sex offenders failed the test of time. His years of public service, raising a family, and his participation in politics as a champion of justice could have been his saving grace. All he needed to do was stick to his original story by admitting the act, admitting it was wrong and demonstrating genuine remorse for his actions as a young man. Instead, he succumbed to a self-centered, paranoid misogynist stereotype by putting partial blame on a sexually immature adolescent. He might as well be the man who beats his wife and then protests calmly that she deserved to have her nose smashed.
Ramsay's actions of 1969 should not be condoned. He admitted to committing an act that was harmful to a 14-year-old girl. Still, like all criminals, he deserved his chance at reprieve and he blew it. Attitudes like these abound in our society. The '90s were the first decade where women were finally able to accuse an attacker of rape and not necessarily be blamed for provoking the attack. However, given Ramsay's slant on things and recent attempts to have a woman's mental health records presented during a sex crime trial, it's obvious that all women are tramps looking for sex--even at the tender age of 14.
The Supreme Court decision to quash mental health background checks will go a long way to help change these attitudes, but the real change needs to occur in society as an open recognition of the hypocrisy in situations like Ramsay's. He believes that sex offenders should not be treated with the light hand of the law, and in doing so, should recognize the irony of his situation, admit his mistake and beg for forgiveness without putting blame on the innocent.