Steubenville has been in the news a lot lately, for all the wrong reasons. It seems like rape has become the latest sport for high school jocks. The worst part is - actually, I can't even begin to finish that sentence as there are so many worst parts.
Lets count them off shall we?
(1) A young girl goes to a party with HER FRIENDS and gets drunk; full down, vomiting,paralytic drunk. Nobody looks out for her. Nobody.
(2) A group of boys decide that this means she is fair game. Nobody stops them. Nobody.
(3) These boys proceed to perform various indecent acts on her not least of which is trying to get her to perform oral sex on them. She is incapable as she is far, far too drunk.
(4) Cellphones are used by numerous people to take photos and videos and upload them to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Everyone seems to think this is a good idea. Nobody stops to think "What if that was me? " Nobody.
(5) The girls is carried by two boys from one party to another as she is too drunk to walk. Nobody stops them but again photos are taken.
(6) The boys refer to themselves as "The Rape Crew" so they have some idea of what they are doing.
(7) The next day the girl wakes up naked in the basement with two boys with no idea of anything that has taken place. she slowly gains some idea thanks to Facebook and Twitter.
Now there is another case of two football "heroes' raping a thirteen year old girl in Connecticut read about it here and again the victim is being blamed for ruining the boys careers. Um, didn't they do that themselves when they RAPED a young girl? Or am I missing something here?
So let's look at India shall we? It's a third world country nowhere near the lofty heights of first world America and yet they both have the same kind of rape culture; men, sometimes gangs of men, rape women and then blame the victim. If you have the stomach for it you can read about it here. Last year Jyoti Singh Pandi was brtually raped, so badly in fact, that she died from her injuries. More recently a Swiss tourist was raped by 5 men in India.
The only difference between India and America is the age of the rapists. In America they were between 16 and 18. In India they were men.
In both countries the victims are blamed; for being drunk (?), for dressing provocatively, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, for destroying promising careers by being raped.
In both countries the men took no responsibility for their actions. NONE.
So how do we change the culture that says it is ok to rape women?
Here's some thoughts:
(1) Let's stop portraying women as objects. We are not a collection of body parts to be ogled at and drooled over. Lets stop allowing advertisers to dehumanize us in their attempts to sell everything form cars to airfreshener.
(2) Lets start educating males that their sex drive is totally within their control and that having a hard on does not automatically give you license to use it against some woman that is in your vicinity.
(3) Lets make it part of sex education that rape is not ok and all the things that count as rape. Lets make it crystal clear that unless you get a very clear and resounding yes that you do not under any circumstances proceed further.
(4) Lets stop blaming the victim; in court, in the media and in society. She didn't "ask for it"; by wearing sexy clothes,by being out late at night, by being alive. No, the rapist made a CONSCIOUS choice to rape soemone who was not willing. Lets start making that crystal clear, HE made a choice, she did not.
(5)Lets stop all the "boys will be boys" nonsense. I know I raised my boys to be better than that and I'm sure you did too. Didn't you?
(6) Lets stop anointing our sports men as Gods who can do no wrong and teach them about respect, integrity, sportsmanship and looking out for one another, not in a boys got each others back way ( because so far, that ain't working) but human being to human being.
(7) Lets make the true heroes those that step up and say "This is not ok and you need to stop" not make it so that by doing so you are a snitch.
Now go hug your daughters and let them know that they can always call you day or night, and even if they have done soemthing stupid , like getting shitfaced drunk, you will not yell at them and you will still love them.
And go hug your sons and tell them that standing up for people is not only the right thing to do but the heroic thing and its not always easy. Let them know that respect is for everyone not just for their mates and that girls are not objects and should never be treated as such.
Talk to your sons and daughters about sex and let them know that sexual urges come and go and do not always need to be acted on. Awkward as it is to talk about sex let them know that you can and will talk to them and you will listen too, without judgment. These are your precious children and it is your job to keep them safe, sometimes, even from themselves.