Blaming the Victim | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Blaming the Victim

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To the editors:

I thought Erin Hogan's story ("Jerked Around," October 27) was a commendable effort--well-written, entertaining, and (you'll excuse the expression) a gripping read. Irate responses in the letters column from sleazebag lawyers and their ilk hardly came as a surprise, but I was surprised and more than a bit pissed off about Aimee Baldridge's December 1 letter, headlined "Just Say Boo!"

Ms. Baldridge, stop and think for a moment. In what sense was Hogan "causing a man with two children to lose his income" when she took him to court for an actionable offense? Excuse me, but it seems to me that guy put himself in the way of losing his job, etc, when he let Wee Willie Winkie do the thinking for him. Would you be equally indignant on his behalf if he'd committed some other relatively minor, relatively harmless offense? According to your logic, anybody who objected to, for example, a bit of racist verbal abuse should just shut up and take it lest they "trivialize" the "legitimate concerns" of people who've been beaten up or lynched, and anybody trying to pursue a legal remedy would be making life too difficult for the poor misunderstood perpetrator. If you'd bothered to read Hogan's story carefully, you'd have noted that she did some soul-searching about whether it was worth the trouble to pursue the matter in court, either to herself or to the hapless schmuck who started it all. Remember, the guy's employers encouraged her to continue with the court case despite all the hassles. Do you think maybe they needed legal evidence in order to fire him because of, oh, I don't know, a file full of unprovable complaints from at-home mothers who let him in to read their meters, only to find him bringing Uncle Wiggly out to play in front of the kids?

Yes, it's a minor issue, relatively speaking. But if you think prosecuting was such an outrageous waste of "a good deal of public time and money," may I suggest you put your righteous indignation to better use by starting a campaign to legalize public masturbation. Think of all the joyful family reunions and reinstatements with back pay you could facilitate. Just don't bother inviting me to the fund-raiser--I don't think I could bring myself to shake anybody's hand.

S.F.K.

Chicago

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