What Parents Can Do To Prevent Another Steubenville Rape Verdict
If you are a parent and you are outraged by the Steubenville rape verdict, you are not the only one. I believe most parents found themselves with their mouth agape, watching in disbelief as CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville Rape Verdict was slanted towards compassion for the rapists, Ma’lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, instead of for the victim, a 16-year-old girl who was drugged then brutally and publically humiliated and raped by a group of football players who thought they were above the law because of the letters on their jackets.
Text messages introduced in court painted a picture of teens swapping graphic stories, photos and as can be seen by a video they uploaded to YouTube, even jokes about the rape. These are not boys who should be pitied. These are boys who should be feared. We should fear them because their moral compass is completely broken. The only remorse that these boys feel now is for themselves because they were caught and found guilty.
This is just a symptom of our culture. A woman is raped and the first thing we ask is what was she doing to provoke it. We dehumanize our women and treat them as nothing more than sex objects. At the same time, we raise our boys to feel entitled and encourage them to be dominating; to take what they want. We don’t teach our boys to respect women; we raise them to objectify them.
We need to stop our way of thinking and we need to start with the way we parent our small children. We need to teach our girls to be more independent, less afraid of rejection and not need the validation of a boy. We need to stop tying our daughter’s worth to their looks, instill them with more self-respect, self-confidence and teach them not to be afraid to say no and fight back.
We need to teach our boys to respect women. We need to teach them to have honor in who they are, what they do and to respect themselves. We need to instill a moral compass that holds them accountable for their actions and a society that follows up with consequences for bad behavior. We need to teach our sons that rape is rape. If a woman says no to your advances or is incapable of answering on her own behalf, if you have sex with her anyways, you have violated her.
It’s too late for these boys, they’ve already been raised to think they are entitled to take what they want. It’s also too late for CNN to report on the verdict responsibly, but there are many lessons that need to be learned from this entire scenario. As parents, we are responsible for raising our children in this new media fueled world with all of the above in mind and we have to face it head on so we can avoid such an atrocity from happening again.
Photo Source: CNN