Friday, 22 June 2012

When Preventing Rape is Too Costly

I was absolutely at a loss for words when I came across this article at Think Progress about talking about how the American Action Forum was against new policies proposed by the Obama administration aimed at preventing rape and sexual abuse in the U.S.’s prisons. They complained that the measures were too “complicated” and “costly.” I was quite enraged by the response. We’re talking about preventing rape, for crying out loud, and they’re complaining it’s too complicated and costs too much. What the hell is going on?!

Well, I think two things are happening. First is the way that Obama’s administration can’t win with conservatives, regardless of what he does. You can argue all you want about whether it’s because of his race (it is), and whether it’s just because the Republicans are just playing politics and trying to make their opponents look bad (it’s that too). Regardless of why it’s happening, it is happening. No matter what Obama does, Republicans will find something to oppose, even when it’s something as inhumane as suggesting that the Obama’s plan to prevent rape shouldn’t go forward.

Second though is the way in which the U.S. has stopped prioritizing spending money on social issues. For the sake of argument, let’s say that we don’t actually have the money necessary to implement these new policies. That should, in itself spark some outrag. The proper response to that is to question and decry a system that is financially unable to protect the people it has forcibly imprisoned. That is a broken system. We should be demanding that the system is fixed, not attacking people who are trying to fix it.

Let’s take a look at where we can cut spending and be more financially responsible (I’m looking at you wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), and let’s find the money we need to protect our prisoners. If the problem with implementing necessary social policies is “we don’t have the money,” then the next step should be to figure out how to find the money. "It's too costly," is not an acceptable argument against implementing policies that will keep people safer. After all, even the Republicans would agree that protecting its populace is one of the most important roles of government. I’d say that should include protecting prisoners from sexual assault.

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