Gansler's comments reflect 'boys will be boys' culture [letter]

Our society continues to tolerate record numbers of rapes and sexual assaults on college campuses, in our military and elsewhere. Everyone committed to eradicating rape and sexual assault assumes our political leaders, particularly those involved in law enforcement, would be more sensible than Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. Now a gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Gansler espouses the very views that permit the rape culture to thrive.

As we now all know from the media coverage, Mr. Gansler sent his son to Landon, the expensive private school that gave us George Huguely and a "fantasy sex league" in which unsuspecting girls were ranked for performing sexual acts. After graduation, Mr. Gansler paid for his son's house at the beach and actually attended a party at which it was impossible to miss blatant underage drinking. When asked by the media about his failure to take any action whatsoever, Mr. Gansler responded, "It also has to do with whether you have a boy or a girl." ("Gansler says 'whether you have a boy or a girl' makes a difference in teen drinking," Oct. 28)

Mr. Gansler apparently buys into the dangerous view that young men should be permitted or indeed encouraged to drink and have as much sex as possible, but young women should be sequestered away. Such sexist thinking perpetrates the dangerous "boys will be boys" approach that leads to lack of accountability and lack of moral character development among our young men.

We do not need to teach young women to hide away from the world lest they be raped. The truth is, rape and sexual assault will stop occurring only when all young men are taught that non-consensual sex — whether obtained via force, drugs or intoxication — is morally wrong and a crime punished by society. Why would we want to elect a leader who does not even get the basics right?

Susan L. Burke, Washington

The writer serves as attorney for the Midshipman victim in the pending Naval Academy rape case and also represents other survivors of military rape and sexual assault.

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