Sorry, Being “Tall, Dark, & Handsome” Does Not Mean You Aren’t A Rapist

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After a high school football player was arrested for sexual assault, his father came out in his defense, telling newspapers that his son couldn't possibly be a rapist — because his son is "tall, dark and handsome." The boy, a freshman at all-boys Catholic private school De La Salle, was accused of sexually assaulting another high-schooler, a freshman from the all-girls Carondelet High School across the street. Both parties remain unnamed as they are both minors, though local newspaper The East Bay Times reports that the assault occurred on the night of a football game (the alleged suspect plays for De La Salle's football team). The survivor reported the assault to her school's principal, who then reported it to the police, and the boy was arrested a week later. The suspect's father told East Bay Times that his son is "tall, dark and handsome, he plays for De La Salle, there’s a lot of girls that want to be with my son." Maintaining his son's innocence, the father said that the survivor "basically chased my son down. They were just two teenagers having sex; they were just doing it at the wrong place, at the wrong time.” The father, who is a registered sex offender himself, told East Bay Times, “Just because my background is what it is — I’m not that type of individual, and neither is my son.” He added: “I don’t want to see my son be a victim also.” Meanwhile, the survivor told local television station KPIX5 that the assault was assuredly not consensual. “It’s not okay for this to happen to anyone and it’s not okay for people, like society, to feel like the person that’s been hurt, that they’ve done something wrong to feel ashamed about the situation,” she said. “Boys need to know that no means no, period. Point blank." According to NBC Bay Area, the boy has been released from custody, though the investigation is still ongoing. It should go without saying, but since it apparently doesn't: Even if someone is "tall, dark and handsome," that does not mean that they are not capable of sexual assault. Being an attractive person certainly does not automatically mean consent from every partner in perpetuity, nor does physical attractiveness excuse sexual assault in any way. In this specific case, girls may or may not be attracted to the boy in question, but if the survivor did not consent to having sex in that particular incident, what happened is indeed sexual assault.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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