Torch Voices: Richard A. Hewer

Dear Editor,

In the future, I hope The Torch checks out the facts—even in opinion articles—a little better and doesn’t completely misrepresent what a speech is about or what someone believes. Things like rape are serious matters, and everyone needs to make sure they don’t misrepresent a person’s position, like the recent Torch opinion piece about the Rebecca Kiessling speech.

Last November I heard Rebecca Kiessling give a speech and was very impressed with the points she made. I have heard a lot of debate over the last 40 years over a woman’s right to choose and the rights of the pre-born, but Rebecca’s speech gave me a completely different prospective. Her speech talked about how the innocent children conceived in rape feel and the impact abortion has on trying to convict rapists. I thought that was a great thing for us to discuss and asked PEP to sponsor her. I received approval and scheduled her speech for last week.

After her speech Wednesday night, I saw the back page of The Torch and read that the speech was about “decriminalizing rape.” I could not believe The Torch would publish something as erroneous as this. During the speech Rebecca talked about the problems she had representing the rape victims in court. One of the cases she mentioned that she worked on was for someone who was raped while they were in the military. In that case, the argument used successfully against the rape victim was that since you did not have an abortion you must not have been raped. She made the point about how bad she thought it was that he got off.

On “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Rebecca said, “According to the Supreme Court, it is cruel and unusual punishment to give the death penalty to rapists. Even for child molesters, the Supreme Court has said they did not deserve the death penalty. I don’t believe that I, or any other child similarly situated, deserve the death penalty for the crimes of our fathers.” However, The Torch chose to say “Kiessling told Piers Morgan she believes a rape victim’s rapist doesn’t deserve to be punished.” I do not understand how anyone could possibly interpret the statement the way The Torch did and I do not understand how The Torch let that get published.

Richard A. Hewer

Associate Professor, Ferris State University
ext. 2455