I have such a fucking headache. You all have no idea how many people have messaged, and tweeted and talked to me (Off the internetz) about the Steubenville rape case, and about how maybe this all could be avoided. I’m not going to name names regarding this argument being presented to me, but it has been presented to me, and it goes a little something like this.
EVE WHAT YOU ARE NOT UNDERSTANDING IS THAT TEENAGERS SHOULD NOT BE DRINKING AND MAYBE IF THIS GIRL HAD NOT BEEN SHITFACED SHE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN RAPED AND IF YOU GO GET DRUNK YOU CAN EXPECT BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN TO YOU AND MAYBE IF SHE WOULDN’T HAVE SNUCK OUT OF HER HOUSE AND GONE TO A PARTY AND DRANK THEN SHE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ASSAULTED BY THOSE BOYS AND GO MAKE ME A SANDWICH AND YOU ARE A CUNT AND A WHORE AND A BITCH AND A DRAG QUEEN!!1111!!!!111ELENTYONE!!11111
I may have added the “make me a sandwich part” and the punctuation but not the insults that have been lodged at me. And this argument has also been presented to me in a more articulate way, but it’s still the same argument. Minus the insults. But that sort of happens to any woman who dares to make the suggestion that maybe rape isn’t a “girl problem.”
I believe that any person of legal drinking age should be able to get totally wasted without being raped. That is my stance. Women over the age of 21 (and men too, because men do get raped) should be able to get drunk without being raped. I do not want people to get drunk and drive, but if someone wants to get drunk and take a taxi or get a sober-ride then they should be allowed to without getting raped. End of story. Women should not be raped, no matter how drunk they are, or what they are wearing, or who they are with.
Teenagers and kids shouldn’t be drinking so much that they lose consciousness or are unable to make “good decisions.” Not being able to make a “good decision” means not digitally penetrating a girl who is passed out. I have said before that on occasion I have given my own children sips of alcohol, mainly my 16-year-old because my younger ones have zero interest, but my eldest son has had a shot glass of wine at holidays, if he has wanted one, mainly to make a toast. I’m not going to demonize alcohol. I love alcohol. I don’t drink that often but when I do I enjoy it. But I am an adult, and I am allowed to drink if I chose to.
There were many “bad” decisions made in Steubenville. Other than the crime of raping an unconscious girl, I think everyone agrees that those kids should not have been drinking. None of them should have. I think most parents, well, maybe not some of the parents in Steubenville, talk to our kids about underage drinking and the dangers of alcohol consumption and how they should never get in a car with someone who has been drinking. We remind them that if they are at a party and with kids who have been drinking that it’s illegal, but if they need a ride that it is imperative that they call us for one. For a lot of parents, that is our rule:
I won’t be happy if you get wasted before you are 21, but if you do, if you don’t call me for a ride I will kill you.
I feel like I have said this so many times before, but maybe I need to say this again. As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our kids that alcohol and drugs are sometimes dangerous and that it is illegal to drink when you are under 21. Most kids and teens can’t handle their alcohol. Yes, if the Jane Doe rape victim in the Steubenville case would have stayed at home playing Monopoly with her parents and not snuck out to a party she probably won’t have been raped. But it is still not her fault. Period.
In addition to talking to our kids about the dangers of underage drinking, all parents need to add to this conversation the “dangers” of raping someone. We need to teach our girls (and yes, our boys too) how to be safe, how to say no, how to protect themselves, how they shouldn’t base their worth on outward appearances and who likes them and all the other hormonal voodoo that goes through these teenage minds about how they can make themselves desirable or attractive to the opposite sex. I’m teaching my own daughter that she shouldn’t drink, that she shouldn’t sneak out of the house, that she needs to be a warrior, that she needs to realize that she is amazing, and tough and should never feel pressured into having sex until she WANTS to. I’m teaching her what to do in case she feels she is in a dangerous situation, what she can do to “protect” herself against rape (and yeah, sadly, most of us know there is NO protection against rape, except, you know, stopping people from raping) and what to do if God forbid she is ever raped. And I’m teaching my boys that they shouldn’t drink, they shouldn’t sneak out of the house, that they are warriors, amazing and strong and tough and that they should never ever pressure or coerce a girl into sex, that they should never rape a girl, unconscious or otherwise. And if any of my kids see this going on? They should call the police or another adult to stop it other than standing their laughing and snapping pics of it to share on Instagram.
I know in the Steubenville case an underage girl was drinking. Her rape still wasn’t her fault.