This is rape culture.

[Content Note: Rape; rape apologia.]

In 1992, Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington. He faced as many as 60 years in prison, was sentenced to 10, and served 3. Tyson still claims that he did not rape Washington: While he was in prison, he wrote a letter to sportscaster Jim Gray, saying in part (as recalled by Gray), "Mr. Gray, I will never admit to raping this woman, even if it lessens my time, because I just didn't do it, and I'm not going to say I did. However, there have been five to seven other things throughout the course of my life that I have done which are far worse than that of which I've been accused, so I feel I'm in the right place."

Tyson may say he did not rape Washington, but Washington, Tyson's limo driver, and a medical examiner testified otherwise. And a jury convicted him. And a judge sentenced him.

Along the way, he has been accused of (and confessed to) domestic abuse, settled a lawsuit with two women who alleged he physically assaulted them after they rejected his sexual advances, was sued by an exotic dancer who alleged Tyson punched her while she was working, and has been again accused of sexual assault. These are only the reports of sexual violence. He has also bitten a boxing competitor, knocked down a boxing ref, thrown glass ornaments at a journalist, assaulted people during various confrontations.

Tyson is a violent, dangerous man. That is the undisputed truth.

Tyson's Undisputed Truth, the title of his memoir to be published in November, tells a slightly different tale, it seems:
Description: A bare-knuckled, tell-all memoir from Mike Tyson, the onetime heavyweight champion of the world—and a legend both in and out of the ring.

Philosopher, Broadway headliner, fighter, felon—Mike Tyson has defied stereotypes, expectations, and a lot of conventional wisdom during his three decades in the public eye. Bullied as a boy in the toughest, poorest neighborhood in Brooklyn, Tyson grew up to become one of the most thrilling and ferocious boxers of all time—and the youngest heavyweight champion ever. But his brilliance in the ring was often compromised by reckless behavior. Years of hard partying, violent fights, and criminal proceedings took their toll: by 2003, Tyson had hit rock bottom, a convicted felon, completely broke, the punch line to a thousand bad late-night jokes. Yet he fought his way back; the man who once admitted being addicted “to everything regained his success, his dignity, and the love of his family. With a triumphant one-man stage show, his unforgettable performances in the Hangover films, and his newfound happiness and stability as a father and husband, Tyson's story is an inspiring American original.

Brutally honest, raw, and often hilarious, Tyson chronicles his tumultuous highs and lows in the same sincere, straightforward manner we have come to expect from this legendary athlete. A singular journey from Brooklyn's ghettos to worldwide fame to notoriety, and, finally, to a tranquil wisdom, Undisputed Truth is not only a great sports memoir but an autobiography for the ages.
"Criminal proceedings." Well, that's certainly a neat euphemism for having been tried, convicted, and sentenced for rape.

"Tyson's story," and it is indeed quite a story, is hardly an "American original." The powerful man who spends his life harming women, only to be publicly rehabilitated again and again, is about as routine as American stories come.

This is rape culture: A space in which a survivor of rape will never be remembered as anything else, and in which a violent rapist will be remembered as a happy, stable, tranquil, wisdom-dispensing legend.

[H/T to Jess.]

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