The verdict is in but the story about the two Steubenville high football players convicted of raping a West Virginia teen girl continues to make headlines. More recently two high school football players in Torrington, Conn., were charged with assaulting a 13-year-old girl, and the alleged victim has been menaced on social media as a ‘snitch,’ according to a report.
As a mother of two young sons, I cannot imagine what was going on in the lives of the football players to make them treat a women or girl in this manner. As a woman, a daughter, an aunt, a sister and friend to women with daughters, I’m equally curious as to how an underage girl could be put in this situation. I don’t understand the alcohol consumption, I don’t understand a teen party with no adult supervision, and I don’t understand why there’s no curfew for these kids who were out all night.
As a victim, my heart continues to break because I know the life-long ramifications of sexual assault.
There are no easy answers to a story as complicated and tragic as the Steubenville case. Everything about it outrages and saddens me. The out-of-control underage drinking. The fact that dozens of people witnessed what was going on and NO ONE did anything to stop it. The social media aspect. The lack of friends who would step in and help the victim (some of her “friends” even testified for the defense…) and what seems to be a massive cover-up to protect two stars of the storied football team.
Where were all the people that were supposed to look out for these young people and navigate them through the trials and tribulations of the teenage years? Teachers, coaches, parents, neighbors, pastors, etc.?
Even though this isn’t my world, it is the world for a lot more people than I’d like to imagine. The selfish answer is for me to worry about only what’s mine, to make sure that my sons are always at chaperoned events and that I have face-to-face meetings in advance with any adults that are supervising them. I can also continue to demand that they respect all people, but women in particular. I can take them to church and make certain that they’re spiritually and morally grounded.