Letter: Clinton Defense Fails in Hanover

To the Editor:

“Stupid is as stupid does,” Forrest Gump once taught us, meaning that our acts define us, not our outward characteristics. In this light, I think the Dresden School District needs to take a long, hard look at how Hanover High School Principal Justin Campbell has performed, and whether or not he should be fired.

The Oct. 18 Valley News quotes Campbell telling parents by letter that recent skits by Hanover High football players “objectified women — though not through the violent acts as have been reported.” His argument centers on the school’s use of the words “gang banged” in its incident report, words replaced in the subsequent police report by “gang raped.” Context is everything here. The school’s report read, “A girl refused to have sex with a boy and then five more guys came along and they gang banged her.” It is safe to assume that the police replaced “banged” with “raped” because they correctly noticed that the imaginary girl said “no” and at no point is described as having said “yes.” While Campbell wants us to focus on “gang banged” being different from “gang raped,” the key definition is that of rape: sex without consent. There is no consent; therefore there is rape.

The idea that a girl, having said “no,” is actually saying “yes” and wants sex as much as the boy does is a common teenage male fantasy, a self-reinforcing trope built around thoughts such as, “No girl could ever not want me.” It allows boys to ignore both fears about sexual performance and desires to skip past the wooing to the doing. Her magical desire for five more boys at the same time further reinforces the notion that she wanted it: The girl who said “no” is in fact a whore.

Most stunning here is the idea that the principal of Hanover High could defend the boys’ actions by creating his own fantastical version of the Bill Clinton defense, “It depends what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Rape is rape; the fact that Campbell does not see that warrants his immediate dismissal.

James T. Shea



Parents, Principal Dispute Description of Skit as ‘Gang Rape’

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hanover — Parents and the principal of Hanover High School are disputing the use of the words “gang rape” in a police report that described skits performed at an off-campus gathering by members of the school’s football team, which was later reprimanded. Norwich Police Chief Doug Robinson said he based his report on an investigation by school administrators, who spoke …