1 in 4 women will be the victim of sexual assault in her life time. Take a look around you right now. If it's not you, it's someone you know and love.
Though I'm not technically sure whether I fit the criteria since I was able to fight off my attacker and escape, I am a victim.
I was 15.
My attacker was a 15 year old boy. A friend. A good friend.
Until something in him flipped and he decided to try and overpower me, force me to do things against my will, locked me in a bathroom and scared the shit out of me.
I am thankful for years of martial arts training for saving my ass that day.
Did I press charges? No.
Did I tell my parents right away? No.
Did I tell our circle of friends? No.
Did I tell ANYONE? No.
I didn't because I was afraid, even back then, that the events would be distorted. That I would be somehow blamed, responsible. That my shorts were too short. That I'd looked at him the wrong way. That I'd said something he misinterpreted. That I asked for it. That I was a whore. That I was easy.
That he wasn't to blame.
That he was just a boy being a boy.
That it was crazy teenage hormones.
Stop right here for a moment and think about that.
What if I was your sister? What if I was your friend? What if I was your daughter?
Rape is not about sex. Rape is about power. It is about control. It is not perpetrated by horny young men without an ability to control themselves. It is perpetrated by criminals with intent to hurt someone else for the sake of making themselves feel bigger, stronger, greater, better.
I think all the time about what might have happened if I hadn't been able to fight back enough, if he'd gotten his way.
Then I think about what might have happened if it all went down now, in this generation. If he had a cell phone and a Twitter account. If he took pictures of what he did and showed them to anyone who wanted to see. If those people who saw the pictures did nothing. If there were other people there when he took them, and none of them did anything to stop him.
Then I think about what might have happened if I was drunk when it went down. I drank a lot back then, way more than an irresponsible teenager should have. I blacked out sometimes. It could have happened. If it had happened at a party and there was more than one guy. If they passed me around like a toy. If they thought I was dead and laughed about it.
This is what happened to the girl in Ohio.
The guy who attacked me wasn't an athlete. He wasn't a great student. He didn't have a wonderful future waiting for him. These kids in Steubenville, did, so the media says. They were good students, great football players.
Why should that matter?
Who gives a shit?
It does not change the fact that they are criminals. Sexually violent criminals.
They didn't make a mistake. They didn't have hormones raging out of control. They are criminals.
If we are going to give boys like them a pass or feel sympathy for them because they are hormonal and drunk, then what are we saying about boys in general??? That they simply lack the ability to control themselves? That they are not capable of empathy? That they are just automated semen machines waiting for something to hump after a few beers? That if they have talents in some other area, we'll let violent sex crimes go?
Men are more than their irresistible primal urges, and women are more than holes waiting to be penetrated.
Does that make you uncomfortable???
GOOD. It should.
Raise the goddamn bar, society.
Hold these kids accountable for what they've done. Stop feeling sorry for the ones here who had a choice in what happened, regardless of what their GPAs were. Stand up in support of this girl, for speaking out about what happened to her, doing something I did not do out of fear, even though she knew that there would be horrible consequences.
These boys are criminals; criminals that should have been tried as adults in my opinion, if not for the actions that took place that night, for what they did after they sobered up. They did unspeakable things to this girl, treated her like a piece of meat. She's since had to deal with even more abuse at the hands of the rest of the school, and now by the media.
It doesn't matter that she was drunk.
It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter.
Rape is rape.
We need to stop allowing this twisted society we live in to portray these boys as victims, we need to give the victims incentives to come forward - like protecting their identity on the nationwide news, we need to stop allowing our politicians to qualify rape with words like legitimate, we need to stop believing that if we teach our girls to dress conservatively and not to drink that they'll be safe.
We need to start teaching our children, ALL OF OUR CHILDREN, male and female, to respect other people.
We need to teach them empathy and compassion.
We need to teach them that rapists are criminals and that victims aren't to blame.
We need to teach them that there are consequences for hurting other people, and that society isn't going to give a damn how well they can catch a ball once they are sitting in a defendant's chair.
Raise the bar.
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