I know I'm a bit behind on this post. Most people in America have already forgotten about Steubenville and Jane Doe. I haven't. I wish I could've written a post sooner about this, but I was sick with a nasty cold. I think it turned out better this way, doing the post once most have forgotten.
I was sickened by the news coverage on the day that the rapists were convicted and sentenced.
"They had such promising futures."
"They are amazing athletes."
"This happened during an alcohol-fueled party."
"The girl was very drunk."
The above statements DO NOT MATTER. Those young men are rapists. They got off with a slap of the wrist. They'll be out probably before they see their 21st birthdays. This is appalling.
And we wonder why so many rape victims don't report the attack to the police? I didn't report my rapist because I knew it would be my word against his and that he would never be convicted.
I do not care how much a person has had to drink, what they were wearing or how many sexual partners they've had. Rape is NEVER okay. Someone who is passed out cannot consent to sex. No means no. This isn't rocket science.
At least, it shouldn't be.
I never imagined until now that I'd have to teach my future children that they shouldn't rape. I assumed that "don't rape" would just be a given. Society has shown me otherwise with their blaming of rape victims and sympathy for criminals. So I will teach my children not to rape. What scares me is this question- Who will teach the people that my children will come into contact with that they shouldn't rape?
Will my son or daughter go through the same pain and shame that I did? Will they be afraid to tell anyone because they think no one will believe them, just like I was? If someone hurts them like that will they be fortunate enough to live through it, like I was? These questions scare me.
I have a message for Jane Doe. It's for all the Jane Does of the world, really:
You are not alone. It is not your fault. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Your attacker(s) are the ones who are damaged, not you. You are a survivor. On behalf of every person who has or ever will be sexually assaulted, thank you for your bravery. Thank you, on behalf of women everywhere.