1) It seems counterintuitive that men should be the ones who define what rape is, given that they are statistically less likely to be raped. However, throughout the entirely of history, this has largely been the case. Even as long ago as almost 1800 BC, rape was considered a crime—however, the harshest punishment did not fall upon the rapist, but rather the raped woman. The raping of a virgin, according to the code of Hammurabi, was property damage, and a married woman who was raped would be found guilty of adultery and be sentenced to drowning.
Thousands of years later, rape was still defined by men, with no regard to women. According to one of the oldest legal texts in England, rape that resulted in pregnancy was not, in fact, rape. It was claimed that without giving consent, a woman could not conceive. This notion can still be found as recently as 2013, when former Representative Todd Akin claimed that “[in the event of] a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.” Who knew?
It was only at the end of the 13th century that anyone gave a thought to women rape cases. King Edward I of England was the first man to legislate that rape of a woman was a crime, regardless of virginity, social status, or age. While it was not a crime to rape women of color for centuries afterwards, this was still a step in the right direction.
Recently, the FBI updated its definition of rape for the first time since 1929. The new definition includes the cases in which date rape or other drugs, as well as alcohol, have been used. Though it is still a case of men defining rape, the new definition of rape is much more considerate of women. Though it is, of course, completely possible for men to be raped, it is nevertheless concerning that consideration of women in rape cases has only recently been the case.
2) It seems counterintuitive that the solution to drug violence is to give violent drugs addicts more drugs, but it seems to be working for the city of Vancouver. Recently, the city has started a program to prescribe the highest of heroin to the most dangerous of addicts, which can be taken with no legal repercussions and minimal health risks.
Currently, the program is only in place for 26 addicts in the city of Vancouver. Each of these addicts has made an attempt to get clean using traditional methods, but with no success. Therefore, doctors are prescribing the finest heroin to each of these addicts, to be administered twice or thrice per day with no charge. The drug is administered through clean hypodermic needles, and the arm into which it is injected is first cleaned with an alcohol wipe. The only real risks are the side effects that inherently come with heroin use.
The primary focus of the program is to minimize the damage done to the addicts themselves, as well as to the everyday residents of Vancouver. According to Allen Schauffler, “If you give these people doses of heroin every day and keep them comfortable and keep them docile and keep the sort of demons of heroin addiction at bay, then those people are much less likely to end up in an alley, dead with a needle in their arm, or much less likely to sell themselves sexually for money to buy drugs, or much less likely to break into somebody’s car to steal something, or to shoplift or to strong-arm rob or to whatever. So the harm that they can cause to themselves and society is reduced if you simply give them the drug.”
Schauffler also says that the program sends a very odd message to its participants. It says, “[Y]ou’ll always be heroin addicts, there is no hope of you getting off heroin, therefore let’s provide you with heroin so you are the least dangerous drug addict you can possibly be.” However, while this program may be, as Schauffler says, “[A] very odd moral line to walk,” it seems nevertheless effective.
3) It seems counterintuitive that a Jewish girl might be baptized by a church to which she does not belong. However, in February of 2012, that is exactly what happened. According to Helen Radkey, the posthumously famous Holocaust victim Anne Frank was baptized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just over three short years ago.
In the Mormon faith, it is rather common to posthumously baptize those who have passed on before being baptized by the Church. Evidently, the Church, in a manner most considerate, extends baptism to those who are not, in fact, Mormon. Furthermore, it appears that one can even be living at the time of this unsolicited ritual—the Mormon Church recently attempted to posthumously baptize famed Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel, graciously ignoring the fact that Weisel is a devout Jewish man, has written over 40 books about the horrors of the Holocaust and is—although perhaps least importantly—not actually dead.
Despite agreements between the Mormon and Jewish churches to cease the post-mortem baptisms of Holocaust victims, as well as Jews who are not descended from Mormons, the Church has cordially taken matters into its own hands. It has saved the souls of countless Jews, regardless of state of life, age, number of descendants, and so on. For example, Anne Frank—who died at the age of fifteen, was Jewish, was not married, and had no descendants whatsoever—had her name submitted for posthumous baptism at least nine times.
Following the announcement of Frank’s baptism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement saying that “The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism.” It is likely that there is some doubt about whether this will prove true or not, though it is anyone’s guess as to why.