If you had three daughters

Today’s post was contributed by Rob Teilhet, an Atlanta attorney and former state legislator.

Rob TeilhetIn the span of about 72 hours since Donald Sterling was revealed as a racist on audiotape, the NBA moved decisively by banning him for life and setting in motion a process that will force him to sell his team. There is no place in the NBA for a racist. It has been awesome to see an organization not only get it, but act on it without hesitation.

There is another issue that I wish we would move on with the same urgency: violence against women.

Just as I heard Donald Sterling on tape describing his abhorrent views regarding race, I also saw on videotape Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his girlfriend’s limp body through a casino lobby. Her body was limp because he had beaten her unconscious in front of several witnesses minute before. He is still in the NFL and is still a Raven.

The Tallahassee Police Department declined to investigate an alleged sexual assault of a female student by a football player at the local university, an activity that had been videotaped. Had the tape been obtained and witnesses interviewed at the time of the report, we would probably know whether the assault that was alleged took place. Now, we’ll never know. Everyone involved with the exception of the alleged victim continues in the same capacity they were in before, and no one has been sanctioned or faced discipline in any way for any of it.

In Ann Arbor, the placekicker and star left tackle were alleged to have been involved in a sexual assault and subsequent harassment of the victim. For four years no action was taken. The placekicker was eventually expelled from school–after his eligibility had expired. In the FSU and Michigan cases, the federal government will require some answers for why these public universities chose to do so little. The investigations into the institution’s inaction will last months, probably even years. Would we have accepted that timeline for Mr. Sterling?

And just this morning, I read that we still do not know the answer to what seems to be a relatively simple question: Did Vanderbilt’s then-football coach contact a woman in the days after she made a sexual assault report against four of the team’s players and if he did, what was the nature and purpose of that contact? That is an easy question to find out the answer to, yet it has not been done. It hasn’t been done either because no one in authority cares whether it happened or they don’t want to know the answer. Both are unacceptable.

The saddest part is that I could keep going all morning. When women are the victims, there is so very little action, and it is so very, very late. And people seem to be largely o.k. with that.

Maybe if you had three daughters, you’d feel differently.

We begin again

Another year comes to a close. I learned an awful lot in a year that I decided to be more fully present in, for myself, my family, and my friends.

It has been a good year for me (most of them are, having really cheated death at 25, and showing early stage cancer who’s the boss at 50).

In January I stood silently with strangers for marriage equality on a brilliantly sunny winter day. Seven months later in late afternoon July heat I stood for equality with my sister, nephews, and Guilford friends. In Washington I was proud to see a young man I met while he made his way though college lead Georgians in our country’s biggest climate action.

I didn’t paddle 12 rivers in 2013, but I did nine, and loved everyone one of them (including the weekend we chalked up three).

This year allowed me to stretch beyond the confines of fighting Plant Washington. I am no less passionate, but glad to have fewer sleepless nights as this project continues to wither.

And again, I circled back to welcome another year with women I have known and loved for decades.

I’ve got plenty to do as the New Year eases in. My middle-aged body will have to work harder to whittle away this season’s eggnog. Adequate sleep needs to be a priority (said she who is up after midnight, again for the second night). Less time in front of a monitor and more time reading is a priority.

It is a New Year. Be present and look for the good in it and each other.