Love Her For Her Bravery

When the news of the Steubenville, Ohio rape case first came out in January, 2013, I wrote about it on the old page. If you’d like to read the first post before reading this one, please click here. The verdict of that case came back Sunday.

If you haven’t read it, the two high school football players, were convicted of rape. They will both spend at least one year in prison. The outraged part of me wants to write an entire post on the atrocity of that fact, but I think, perhaps, it is finally time to give some respect to the young woman those two men raped. I don’t know all the facts, so some of this is just what I have learned about survivors.

It has been just about two months since the 16 year old female student was raped repeatedly by two people she knew. She may have only seen them around school, but she was probably familiar with who they were. Ok, so she was at a party drunk. Bad idea. I hate to tell you, but every person I’ve ever known had at least one bad idea in his or her lifetime. That does not make it ok to rape someone.

She was taken to several parties that day, not of her own will mind you, but by these other people she knew. They raped her, and then recorded her and said she looked, “so raped.” Her body was repeatedly violated. She was unconscious. And the two men who were raping her thought it was ok.

Now, she has been living with the fact that she has become a victim of a violent crime she will never forget. Every day since her rape, she has had to wake up and look at a reflection in the mirror she may not recognize anymore. She wakes up every day and showers, probably trying to scrub off the “dirty” feeling she has. She isn’t dirty, but society tells her she is the one at fault.

She has to endure the looks of all her classmates because she did testify. There is no denying she’s the one. Some people will love her for her bravery and others will hate her for the same thing.

She may have to deal with an STD, an eating disorder, a drug or alcohol addiction, anxiety, depression, counseling needs, inability to work. If she chooses to have children, she will now have to figure out a way to tell them her story.

She may never wish to go to a party again. She might be too traumatized to go to college. She could have become a doctor and found a cure for cancer.

It is easy to look at all the things with which she will now have to struggle. Easy isn’t necessarily the right word for that, but it is always easy to list the bad things. The outlook of her life could be pretty bleak.

But.

There is hope. It may take her a long time to get there, but she can overcome the adversity. She can go to college. She can study whatever she wants because, after all, there is no limit of what a person can do when they set their mind to it. She could be a rock star, like Carlos Santana or Tori Amos (both survivors of abuse). She could be a television mogul like Oprah (a survivor). She could become a mom and teach her sons not to be rapists (like so many survivors I know are doing).

In light of the Steubenville case, it has once again become painfully obvious that we are doing it wrong. We have a rape culture in which we are so entrenched, we try to teach women how not to be raped, but we never consider that maybe, just maybe, we should perhaps try to teach men not to rape. Yes, the reverse is true, that we also need to teach women not to rape as well.

Since this seems to be an issue, many people have actually written tips for teaching others not to rape people. It is actually rather appalling to me that such things have to be written, but here is one, in case someone you know, or you, need a reminder. As the author, Ben Pobjie says, you can print it off and carry it in your wallet. That way, you can look at it if you need a reminder.

THE HANDY GUIDE TO NOT RAPING PEOPLE IN SEVEN EASY STEPS

1. When you meet a girl who doesn’t want to have sex with you, don’t have sex with her.

2. When you meet a girl who wants to have sex with one of your friends, remember the golden rule: You Are A Different Person To Your Friends. Maybe this handy mnemonic can help: Yentl Acted As Ducks Probed Three Yucky Frenchmen. This will help you remember that a girl who wants to have sex with one person does not necessarily want to have sex with every person she meets. Confusing, I know; what can I say – political correctness, etc.

3. If you meet a girl who DOES want to have sex with you, but then a bit later she says she’d rather not, don’t have sex with her. Again, pretty confusing, I know, but it’s due to a special Scientific Fact: sometimes girls change their minds. Like, remember the time you wanted a kebab, but then you thought no, I’ll have a hamburger instead? It’s a bit like that, only with sex.

4. When you meet a girl who is unconscious, don’t have sex with her. This is true even if she was drinking before. I may be delving into some fairly arcane theory here, but scientists have discovered there is actually technically a difference between “drinking a lot of alcohol” and “saying yes I want to have sex with you”. I realise this difference is probably hard to spot for a lot of you guys; you might have to squint a bit.

5. When you go home with a girl, try not to have sex with her until after she says she’d like to.

6. Practise not having sex with people. I know it’s hard – sometimes you just look down and it’s like, whoops, I’m having sex with this girl, how did that happen? But I bet with a bit of concentration and discipline, you can actually manage to avoid having sex with someone, even when they’re in the same room as you. It’s true! Anyone can do it! Why, last week I met at least five women who I actually didn’t have sex with, without causing myself any particularly severe internal injuries.

7. When you meet a girl who doesn’t want to have sex with you, don’t have sex with her. I realise I already said this one, but that was five steps ago, and I have a feeling some of you guys might have slightly short attention spans.

Please share these tips if you know someone who needs this lesson. If you are a survivor, please know that you are not alone. You can heal and there is hope!

Bravery

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