Since So Many are Afraid to, I’ll Call it Like it Is

Trigger Warning:Ephebophilia, Suicide, Victim-Shaming

In the early hours of August 7th, 2014 Dean Ochi, 43, took his own life. Ochi, a contracted athletic trainer at Mayfield High School, who worked for the Cleveland Clinic, had been indicted on August 5th on fourteen felony counts including sexual battery and sex crimes with a minor.

According to Cleveland’s Fox 8 News, an investigation began in April regarding sexual relations between Ochi and a then 17 year old student, after the student told a friend who reported the relationship to authorities. Detectives on the case found, among other things, nude photos of Ochi and the girl, as well as hundreds of text messages between the two.

This was not the first time Dean Ochi had been the center of ephebophilic controversy. In 2003, in response to a letter from the school’s principal, Ochi acknowledged that he had made poor decisions when he put his arms around a girls waist, massaged a student under her shirt, gave out private contact information, and wrestled with a female student on the ground.

 When I read about Dean Ochi's self-inflicted death, I experienced multiple emotions. Having lost my father to suicide in 2009, and having found out some less than positive information about him, post mortem, I immediately felt innate sympathy for the daughter and wife and family he has left behind. No one should have to experience the pain that they have. However, above all, I felt livid at the cowardice he showed, outraged by the fact that he no longer will have to face the consequences for his actions.

When Ochi’s death was released to the public, it was not hard to find people’s opinions on the matter. As is common with younger generations, students from Mayfield High School took to social media to express their sentiments on the matters at hand. While some showed sympathy for his family and friends and mourned the loss of someone they considered a loved one, others took the events as an opportunity to defend his morality and his honor; others took the opportunity to blame the victims for the outcome, saying that if they had not come forward, he would still be alive.

Many people made statements similar to: 


Are they kidding me? Are they literally making a joke? I do not remember the last time I made the “mistake” of breaking the law and becoming a felon. I question the morals of people who would call someone who sexually assaulted their classmate – a minor at the time – a good guy, or “the man”. When they say things like this, they are essentially saying the victim's claims are invalid. 

I think that reasonable and responsible adults would comprehend this issue and come to the conclusion that this man abused his position of power and trust. The people who are defending him are NOT reasonable and responsible adults. It does not matter that they are over the age of 18.

Other students made statements like: 

If one defends another’s actions (especially toward a minor) simply because they were not committed against themself, they do not deserve to be called an adult. This is one of what I believe to be societie's greatest downfalls. The indifferent, apathetic,  blasé attitude runs rampant amongst so many people, where unless a crime is committed in a way that directly impacts the individual, it's as if it does not exist.

The thing about truth, is that it is fact, and it is what it is regardless of opinion. Their opinion on him does not change the fact that he was an accused ephebophile. 

Many of those who have come out in support of Ochi made statements about how one mistake (try 14+) should not have had such an affect on his life, as if implying that he should not have had consequences for his crime. That would be like murdering someone, getting caught, and then walking free because “it was just one mistake”. Like for most people who intentionally break the law, it was not a mistake for Ochi until he got caught. He was well aware of his actions, well aware of the magnitude of the situation, but still chose to act and then chose not to face the penalties.

I have also encountered those who feel the need to defend him on the basis that and indictment is a formal charge and not a conviction. While this is true, sufficient evidence is needed in order for an indictment to be made. In order for indictment to happen, a case must be voted upon by a grand jury, based on whether or not it is convictable. So, here’s the thing, they had the evidence. They police had text messages and nude photos. Not only this, but if he was not guilty and this was all just a scandal, why would he not have tried to fight it? Suicide is not the response of an innocent man, in my opinion.

By no means am I saying that the students that were close to him, his friends, and his family should not mourn his death. They have every right to, and they should. However using his death to deflect from very serious allegations will do more harm than good. 

Maybe I am a bit unsympathetic, but an accused ephebophile took his own life, and there are people who take the time to defend him? They find it appropriate to defend that he chose to break the law repeatedly, and then made the choice to end his life instead of facing the penalties for his actions? I question for whom they find it sadder, the guy who no longer has to face the consequences for his actions or the multiple victims of his crimes? If you feel more for the ephebophile, you might want to check your priorities.


Women Against Birth Control

Recently there has been a series of images circulating the internet depicting a number of women holding signs explaining why they do not utilize birth control. While one or two of the reasons given can be seen as rational (e.g. they want to be “organic” and hormone free), there are many of the statements that are not only highly illogical, but also downright offensive. Among those that fall into the latter category are statements like “because my body is a gift to my future husband and that gift includes motherhood” and “because [birth control] allows men to use women with no consequences.” There are nearly two dozen more images with proclamations like the aforementioned including “because I can control myself,” “because I am responsible and make mindful decisions accepting the consequences for my actions,” or better yet “because children are not an inconvenience, they’re a gift”. What these women seem to be forgetting, what a lot of people on the anti-birth control band wagon have forgotten, is that what is good for them is not good for everyone else, and how you act is not how everyone else acts, and it really is just that simple.

A favorite of mine that was posted is “because I don’t have to give up my womanhood to be a feminist.” By the time I got to this statement, I was already scrambling to pick my jaw up off the ground, but when I finished reading it, I was dumbfounded. I’m not exactly grasping what this woman seems to know as truth. First, since when does having children mean one cannot be a feminist, and second, since when does feminism require you to not have children and to use birth control? The answer to these questions is since never. Never have I heard the feminists I know say or imply that being on birth control is a requirement to be a feminist. The statement she made is just further proof to me that there are still an incredible amount of women who have been mislead about feminism, albeit what “feminism” means to an individual tends to be quite subjective.

Also referenced in a few of the photos in the series, although not cited or peer reviewed, were some interesting science and medical facts. Apparently, at least according to one of the women pictured, women get cervical cancer from birth control alone, and not from things such Human papillomavirus (HPV), which using protection and getting vaccinated can prevent. There is no link between the use of general birth control and developing cervical cancer. The link here is from an increased risk for developing cervical cancer due to long term use of birth control pills in women who already have HPV and leave it unchecked and the symptoms untreated. While I can’t address every single absurd claim of phony science in the photos, I feel like it should also be noted that the same sign also mentioned a link between birth control and breast cancer. This link is also an increased risk, but this was back in the 1970s primarily, when birth control had high amounts of estrogen, not so much with the low dose pills these days. But if hormones are what are deterring these women from birth control there are alternative no-hormone options.

A running theme amongst the images that I found to be exceptionally flabbergasting is the way the word “womanhood” is used, for example “because womanhood and fertility are a beautiful gift and I want a love that is self-giving and life-giving.” What saddens me is how many of the women pictured define womanhood not by the fact that they have vaginas, or feel themselves to be women, but are dictated by ancient value systems of whether or not they reproduce, as though having children is a measure of merit to how worthy one is of their womanhood. Womanhood does not equal motherhood. The two are not synonymous, will never be synonymous, and have never been synonymous. People who say or believe things like that are essentially reduce the countless number of women throughout history who have been unable to have children or have chosen not to have children to what? What exactly is it that these women are implying? Is a woman who does not have any children but is accomplished in other aspects less of a woman because she has not bore children? Many of these same women in the photo series also mentioned how they don’t use birth control because they only plan to have sex for the purposes of producing life (e.g. the one who said that her body essentially belongs to her future husband, and should be fertile and ready to reproduce).

Throw in the reference to Roman Catholic family planning and I can hear the church bells a-ringing.