Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Unconscious = NO!

This post has been brewing in my head since I first read the news story about the Steubenville Rape Case.  This story gets my blood pressure boiling. This morning I read a blog post by Jenny Rae Armstrong which references this news article by Dan Wetzel on Yahoo! Sports. And then I read this post by Shayne Moore who is co-author of Refuse to Do Nothing. After reading these, I realized I couldn't keep my opinions to myself any longer.

After talking with someone about this story, they asked why this was national news. I thought for a minute and maybe it is because the football team is famous, maybe. But maybe it is because it is time that this is finally brought to light. In that same conversation they said that it really shouldn't be news because "this happens all the time, girl-gets-drunk-boys-take-advantage, so this makes it not news worthy." REALLY!!! Because it happens all the time it isn't news worthy!!! This person went on to say that "they shouldn't be labeled rapist or sex-offenders because that places them in the same category as serial rapists, child pornography collectors/viewers, and more." I can see their point, but at the same time they were wrong, it was at least sexual assault which would place them in the sex offender category anyway. I also heard, "Well they were the same age or a year older so why should it be that bad?" ARE YOU F-ING SERIOUS????? If I was raped or received any unwanted sexual touching by another 29 year-old would that make it less bad???? 

I kept going over these comments and thoughts until my anger went to heartbreaking sadness. How in the world is it 2013 and we live in a world with more slaves than ever before, most of which are sex-slaves? How is it that people feel more sympathy for the young men who performed unwanted sexual acts on a 16 year-old girl who was passed out than for the young girl?

Oh that reminds me of another argument I heard, "Would it really affect her since it wasn't actual sex, but penetration with the fingers? It wasn't like she was really raped?" O-M-G!!!! Just stop right there! She was freaking unconscious and any, ANY, A-N-Y, touching, that is not wanted is WRONG!!! I don't care if it was a stripper, let alone a 16 year-old girl, NO ONE should be touched when they don't want to be and definitely not when they are unconscious. Unconscious = NO!

How have we come to this point that the other young men riding around in the car with them and watching this take place in the home, didn't think it was wrong? If it weren't for social media, the poor girl would have never known what really happened. She would have just felt that something happened but never have known for sure. With social media, not only did people "hear" about it at school but they read about it and they saw pictures of her. Social media takes rumors and gossip to a whole new level making it harder to deny something happened and making it harder for this young lady to recover.

In the news article above, it said she didn't know what to do when she found out, she didn't know if she should tell. Why? She was violated. Why should any girl or woman ever feel like they shouldn't tell when they have been touched when they didn't want to be or even know they were being touched inappropriately? How have we not gotten further than this? Why do girls and women still feel powerless when it comes to standing up for themselves and their own bodies? Why do boys and men feel they can touch us however and whenever they want?

Part of it is because they know the defense will dig up their entire past and drag this out as long as possible. The defense attorneys, others they know, exes, and so on will tell of why their past is tainted and they basically deserve this. People always feel sorry for the girl when she is completely innocent but when she has even the tiniest bit of a sexual past, she is made out to seem like she was "asking for it." It isn't just men saying this, it's women. We as a society have made the victims feel they are to blame. When in all reality they are truly victims who will live with these actions taken against them for the rest of their lives.

This is beyond sad. Is our world really raising boys like they are simply animals that wear clothes and have the ability to talk? Do our young men hear, "Here son, you have a penis and that gives you the right to do whatever you want in this world, including do whatever you want to girls without any repercussion. You are a boy and girls are just a whole to stick your things in?" If that isn't what we are telling them, then why do stories like this keep happening, not just here, but around the world?

Looking at my 2 year-old daughter, this scares the mess out of me. Kids are going to do stupid things, they are going to screw up. That's what humans do. But some mistakes and screw-ups should never happen. We have to teach our sons and daughters that they are responsible for their actions and that they need to stand up for anyone not being treated like a human. We need to teach our daughters (and sons) to come to us even when they aren't sure.

These boys ruined their own future. They won't have their football future they dreamed of, their high school diploma they dreamed of, or their freedom. They will have to live with the label of sex offender the rest of their lives because of one night of incredibly stupid decisions. It is sad that their lives are forever changed but what if they wouldn't have gotten caught, would they have kept doing this. This might have been the only time these young men ever did these things but one time is one too many.

The young women will have the live with the fact that she was violated and have to see all the people in her town who saw pictures or who even saw the acts taking place and didn't stand up for her. She will most likely have to go to counseling and these events could show up later in her life with intimacy issues. No matter what she was wearing, what she was drinking, or how she was acting, she did not deserve this. No woman ever deserves this!!

How have we come to a point in the world, especially in the US, where people will stand up for animal rights before they stand up for human rights? How have we come to a place where woman are still violated and made to feel like the bad person because of the events that lead up to the violation?

If you have children, especially a teen, take time to sit down with them today and talk with them about this. Don't assume they know this is wrong. Maybe they are as naive as the other young men and even women who testified in this case. Don't assume your daughters would know you would support them. Tell them.

To my daughter:

I know you are 2 years old and have no clue what anything I just typed says but I want to make sure you know that you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a right to stand up for yourself. I don't care what you were wearing, what you were doing, who you were with...when you say no, or when you can't speak for yourself and someone touches you in anyway that is inappropriate, you come tell mommy and we will take the steps needed to make sure this doesn't ever happen again. I don't care if you are in the middle of the most heated make-out session ever where the only thing left is to have sex, if you change your mind and say no, and that boy/man doesn't listen and takes advantage of you, tell me or your daddy. You are not wrong. No means no. You have the right to change your mind at any moment. Your body is your body and no body else's, not even your husband's. And through all of it, please remember you are never alone. I hope and pray we never have to act on this but if the unthinkable ever happened, know you are forever and always loved and supported. 

Please talk to your kids, teenagers, even adult children, and let them know that they are no one's property! 

***Just before making this post go live, I was checking the spelling of Steubenville, and ran across this article on CBS News about a 15 year-old and 16 year-old girl being arrested after threatening to kill the victim. For those who pray, say a prayer for this girl. She has a long rode of recovery. And parents freaking talk to your kids and teach them right from wrong!!!! 

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