Feminists are pissed. Jose Canseco outed his accuser. I grew up watching Canseco and his “Bash Brother,” Mark McGwire. They hit the long-ball a lot and they struck out…a lot. Canseco’s nickname was “Jose Can-strikeout.” He was as bad at striking out as he was good at hitting home-runs. Even though his career was plagued with injuries, I remained a fan throughout the 90s and was glad when he outed his story of steroids in baseball. Everybody knew that steroids were rampant among baseball players, but nobody said anything. So long as the fans were happy, so long as records were being broken, so long as attendance soared, the media, the owners, and the trainers all looked the other way. Baseball players had the relative freedom of anonymity to juice their bodies as they pleased. Long-ball was in. Small-ball was out. Even the drunken fans knew that something was wrong, but we didn’t care.
In an age of slut-walks and post women’s sexual liberation, why do we care about anonymity for the rape accuser? The whole point of granting the privilege of anonymity to an accuser is to minimize the shame of the accuser. Do we still need to grant the protection of anonymity to rape accusers? Do women really need a white knight to ride in and protect them from shame? Are women such delicate flowers of moral purity that they cannot be strong enough to endure the publicity of their sex life? I think not. Anonymity is a special privilege granted to women and denied to the accused men. Strong women shouldn’t have to suffer alone and anonymously. Anonymity is for the weak. Strong women should come forward and be public about their sexual history. Strong women should have no shame about their sexuality, being raped, or talking publicly about their victimization. Taking refuge in anonymity perpetuates their victimization indefinitely.
The occurrence of steroid abuse in baseball was perpetuated by the refuge of anonymity. Countless players were made victims by this anonymity. Home runs were not the only things to soar during the steroid era. The rates of ligament, tendon and other steroid-specific and related injuries to professional baseball players also soared throughout the steroid era. Had there been transparency about the abuse of these performance enhancing drugs, steps could have been taken to ameliorate the problems. Instead, we cared more about the long-ball than we cared about the bodies and spirits of these men. The anonymity perpetuated the disposable nature of these men, making them victims to the whims of society. These men are valuable only insofar as they perform and so long as their performance can be enhanced by the anonymous abuse of these drugs, nobody cared. Enter Jose Canseco. He came forward, from the refuge of anonymity, to shed light on and make transparent the abuse of these drugs. He deserves much credit and respect for coming forward to make the story public. He also deserves credit for coming forward to make public the name of his accuser.
This is the 21st century. Although remnants of sexual shame may still exist in some areas within the bible-belt of America, I doubt they ever existed in Las Vegas. Given the location and the state of women’s sexual liberation, there is no good reason for rape-accuser anonymity today. As the anonymity of steroid abuse made men into victims, so too does the anonymity of the rape-accuser make men into victims, destroying their reputations, livelihoods, and lives. It’s time to end the special privileges granted to women. Rape-accuser anonymity is a special privilege rooted in the antiquated idea that women are morally pure and that sex and sexuality is base and immoral. Again, this is the 21st century. Jose Canseco is still a hero and he has hit another homerun, but this time he did it on Twitter.