After a day of pondering the verdict and sentencing for the two Steubenville High School footballs stars, Trent Mays, 17, who had been a quarterback, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, who had played wide receiver, I am not so sure they are the only people responsible in this attack. What responsiblity does the 16-year-old victim have in this attack?
Please notice that I did label this girl as a VICTIM. There is no excuse for any person to abuse and/or take advantage of anyone EVER!!!! According to reports, she was at a house drinking with several other students. Forced or unknown drugs given to the victim was not reported. So, I think about the actions that lead up to this teenage girl waking up naked surrounded by three male schoolmates. According to her testimony she had no memory of anything aside from a brief vomiting episode, woken up the next morning naked in the basement living room surrounded by Mr. Mays, Mr. Richmond and another boy, with no idea where she was or how she had gotten there and unable to find her underwear, shoes, earrings or phone. Therefore, we can assume she made a decision to drink underage and break the law.
We can blame the parents of the boys for raising two young men who chose to abuse a person in need of help rather than assist. We can blame her parents for raising a child who ignores the laws and her own safety. We can also blame the home owner of the home she got drunk in AND the home she was found in. But, will this blame game address the issue that this 16-year-old could have protected herself in the first place. If this young lady obeyed the law and chose to make her safety and well-being number one maybe she could have stopped this crime from happening to her.
I remember as a child my father talking about the Mike Tyson rape case: A young 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant, left her hotel room at 1:36 am, voluntarily got into Mike Tyson‘s limousine, went to his hotel room, and later into Tyson’s bedroom, and later reported she was raped. My father’s response? Besides berating and demonizing Mike Tyson he also said… “Why is this young woman leaving with a man she does not know at one in the morning?” He turned to me and my three sisters and said, “Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.”
The Steubenville rape victim did not take the steps to protect herself from harm, by the way she drank to unconsciousness. As a female we know men prey upon us. Rape is not going away. I would love for men (and women) to wise up and stop attacking and abusing one another. The reality is 1 in 5 women are or will be raped. According to the CDC, the high estimate of women raped per year is 1.3 million. This kind of attack on women is not decreasing, but in situations that we can deter the chances we have to do so.
In many rape attacks women cannot stop the rape and we don’t live through it. The vicious rape attack and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey in Delhi India, is one of the most recent horrors. The Steubenville rape victim was lucky, but I hope this rape case starts a discussion that all girls, teenage girls, and adults need to have. Pay close attention to how you conduct yourself and protect yourself from people who prey upon the weak and incoherent. We don’t have to stop wearing our mini skirts or stop drinking. We do have to always think of the worst case scenario and live out our lives with a wise plan to see the next day.
Etiquette 101 is taking care of you so you can see the next day with joy and excitement.