The Lion and the Lamb
More recently, however, I have come across something that I think is an exception to this basic rule. I refer to a recent case of rape from Tampa, Florida. To give you a little background:
First, police say, a 21-year-old woman was raped at Gasparilla. Then, she was handcuffed and jailed - for two nights and two days.
The premedical student attended Saturday's Gasparilla parade and veered off from her friends shortly before 1:30 p.m., police said. The Times is not naming her because police say she is a victim of a sexual crime.
As she walked north on Howard Avenue at Swann Avenue, she was grabbed by a man with crooked teeth and raped behind a building, McElroy said.
After the assault, the man ran off. The woman walked to her car, which was parked on the University of Tampa campus. At 3:40 p.m., after finding her vehicle, she called police.
As police assisted her, taking her to a nurse examiner's clinic, and processing her report, an officer found two outstanding warrants for the woman in Sarasota County.
Attorney Virlyn "Vic" Moore III of Venice said his client was seated in the front seat of the police cruiser, on her way to the scene of her attack when the officer learned of the warrant, cuffed her and placed her in the back seat.
The student had failed to pay $4,585 restitution after a 2003 juvenile arrest, McElroy said. Moore said his client is convinced that she paid the fine and that the warrant was probably the result of a clerical error.
Now, by itself this makes me uneasy. This woman reported a brutal crime and, in return, was placed under arrest. I have no diea whether or not the warrant is valid, but given what the warrant is for, I think less rash action was feasible.
What makes me really queasy is what happened to this poor woman next:
A jail worker with religious objections blocked her from ingesting a morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, her attorney says, keeping her from taking the required second dose for more than 24 hours longer than recommended.
To provide a little more detail, we find the story with a quote from the victim's lawyer in USA Today:
"She was not allowed to take her morning-after pill that morning, even though she was crying and begging for it. The nurse didn't want to give her the pills because it was against (the worker's) religion."
Refusing to dispense preventative birth control to free people is one thing. Refusing to dispense emergency contraception to a rape victim is a different, much worse thing. But refusing to dispense birth control to a rape victim who is imprisoned and unable to take other action? That goes way beyond "different" into the realm of self-absorbed, egotistical evil. What's next? Refusal to dispense anti-psychotics because you believe schizophrenia is speech from god? How about we don't give out antibiotics because it's interfering with god's will that someone die?
Look, crazy religious freaks, I really want to be fair and protect your rights. I disagree with you, but I really, really want to support your ability to participate in the political process. Here's the thing, though: you like to talk about how the meek will inherit the Earth, about how pride goes before a fall. You like to talk about how the lion will lay down with the lamb and we should turn the other cheek.
So why did you keep a screaming, begging woman who had been brutally violated away from her legally prescribed medication? Where did you get the right to make that choice for her when society and common decency gave it to her and her alone?
If the meek are going to inherit the earth, I think we can all agree that you won't be among them.