Tag Archives: womanhood

My Thoughts on the Steubenville, OH Rape case . . .

As a rape survivor myself, when I was an 18-year-old girl, it still, some 37 years later, brings tears to my eyes, and a gut wrenching pain to hear of cases like this:

http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2013/03/23/opinion/its-unbelievable-no-one-stepped-in-for-rape-victim.html

In my case, I was not a 16-year-old girl who was passed out drunk, or drugged. I was an 18-year-old virgin who was raped by a young man I had gone out on a date with. Some things match, though. He was popular. By the time my case went to court, my family had received many phone calls from people in his family asking what it would take to “just make this thing go away”. The prosecuting attorney pushed me to allow a plea bargain, saying that my little brothers had to go to the same school with this guys younger siblings and their friends, and life would be made difficult for them. I finally agreed, but then, his attorney decided to continue the trial and force me to cross-examination. It was one of the most traumatic times of my life.

When he began cross-examination, I was asked by the defense attorney while I was on the stand, why I had allowed him to take me out, if I had no intention of going to bed with him. I said, under oath, that my mother had not raised a prostitute, and that taking a girl out is not payment for sex. I was asked if anyone in my family had known I was going out with a guy who was black (both of my parents, and my little brothers, were at home when he picked me up, so yes, they did).

The defense attorney tried in every possible way to shake my testimony, and failed. He was, in fact, overheard saying to his client that if he had to rape someone he shouldn’t have chosen someone who could hold her own on the stand. After that, he came back and said they were taking the plea deal, which turned out to be legal at that time. I don’t know if it would be now.

The biggest difference in these two cases is that in the Steubenville, OH case, the rapists were star athletes, the girl was either drunk or drugged, she was unconscious, and there were tons of witnesses, who took video and still pictures of the entire crime, who posted these images to the internet, tweeted them, and did further unspeakable things to humiliate this girl.

In my case, I was an 18-year-old virgin, who fought back, and was had finger print bruises around my neck for weeks afterword from being choked.

In the Steubenville case, a girl went to a party with the “popular” kids.

In neither case was rape in any way excusable.

No, she should not have been drinking, or at a drunken party. But you know what? that is NO excuse for what was done to her! Staying out of a situation like that, dressing in a way as to be completely unnoticed as a female, etc . . . does NOT protect you from being raped. I was not dressed immodestly at all, when it happened to me.

Rape is NOT a crime of passion, or of lust. It is a crime of violence. It is a crime of power. It is a crime of control over another person.

No matter what choices this girl made, to go to a party, to drink, or whatever, these boys had no right whatsoever to do what they did to her, and it is SHAMEFUL that of all the other young people there, not even one tried to help her, tried to stop these boys. That an entire school system, and apparently at least half a town, would be so afraid of going against the popular star athletes to do what is right, speaks volumes.

Parents, please do not JUST teach your girls to stay away from situations where they can be raped. They can be raped in ANY situation, including going from a store to their car, or having their home broken into while they are there. Provocative dress does not make a girl or a woman “responsible” for a crime of violence being perpetrated upon her. If that’s all it took, old ladies and little children would never be raped. I would never have been raped. Being drunk doesn’t make her responsible, either, in fact, under the law when one is drunk or drugged, one cannot legally give consent to anything.

Yes, I still think we need to teach daughters to be careful, and to be wary. We still need to teach them not to advertise their bodies. Not to keep boys or men from attacking them, but because it’s right for them to not advertise their bodies to anyone to whom they are not married.

However, we also, at least as much, if not more so, need to teach our sons to RESPECT girls, for then they will respect women. We need to teach them that they too, would best be served by waiting for intimacy until they are married. That they need to respect THEMSELVES enough not to think a girl is “easy” just because she may wear something a bit tight, or a bit short. We need to teach them what is biblically right, that they are to PROTECT women, not take advantage of them (which, by the way, includes taking advantage of the fact that a girl is being deliberately provocative, which yes, of course, is sometimes the case). We need to teach them that REAL men do not take advantage of women, or girls. Real men are not afraid to stand up and say NO! when their peers are victimizing someone like this. REAL men risk losing the popular crowd, but REAL men are the men we should want our sons to be, and should want our daughters to end up with. A boy who would do what these boys did, and get away with it (as many do), will be a man who abuses his wife and children, if he ever has them.

The responsible parties here are these “star athletes”, along with the coach and the town that raised them on such a pedestal that no matter what they did, or who they hurt, it became better to punish the VICTIM, instead of expecting them to face up to their own choices. And yes, what they did was a CHOICE. It was also a CHOICE for the coach, the school system, the other “kids”, and a good part of the town, to demonize the victim of their attack, and to defend the criminals. This trial did not ruin the criminals’ lives, the very choices they made ruined their lives. And I believe that any and all people who took videos and pictures and posted them to the internet, should be on trial as well, along with each and every person who threatened the survivor of this vicious, violent attack.

I pray this girl gets help, and that one day, like me, she will come to see that she is a SURVIVOR . . . but society needs to understand, we all need to understand, what was done to her will NEVER leave her. It has been 37 years for me, and I still have fears that hit me, which are directly attributable to what was done to me . . .

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Celebrating Womanhood, & what being a woman has meant to me…

When my friend Amanda let me know about this blog hop, at first I just thought it would be something I’d want to read, but I’ve come to realize that perhaps I might have something to contribute to the conversation as well… 

When I was young, I decided I was going to be a famous author. I used to write stories all the time, and I majored in journalism when I went to college. I lost my idealism for journalism though, when I realized that professional journalists are not objective at all, the way we were being taught that they were supposed to be.   I still occasionally wrote stories, but never really went any further than that with creative writing.

I worked for General Motors for several years, first at Buick, in Flint, MI, then a transfer to Pontiac Motors, in Pontiac, MI, until I became ill and began having black outs with no warning, that not one doctor over several years was ever able to diagnose. By the time it was dignosed as a serious thyroid problem, necessitating major surgery, the assembly plant I worked in had been closed during a time of severe downsizing, and I no longer had a job at General Motors.

In the meantime, I had gotten married, at age 32. So, now I was no longer having blackouts, was healthier, etc., and I knew that what I wanted most of all was to be a full time wife, homemaker, and mother. The problem was that we just could not conceive a child. We did realize eventually that the most important thing for us was that we become parents, not necessarily that we conceive, and I give birth, and so our adoption journey began… we quickly discovered that private, newborn infant adoption was not going to be for us. It’s quite costly, at least it was then, and it just didn’t feel right, either, to us. We found out we could adopt a waiting child in foster care, but I knew I couldn’t be a foster parent. I couldn’t handle having to give the kids back over and over while waiting for a child to be available for adoption. Later, though, we found out that we didn’t have to be foster parents in order to adopt, and our first son came to us when he was just under the age of two. He has special needs, fetal alcohol syndrome, mild mental retardation, and is on the autism spectrum. And he is a joy to our lives (most of the time!) 🙂 After his kindergarten year in public school, my life took another turn, and I became a homeschooling mom, something I never thought I would do, ever. I began with straight Abeka, a curriculum for homeschool in a box, with teacher manuals to tell me day by day what to do, which worked well for the first couple of years. After that, we drifted into more relaxed homeschooling, with me putting it together from many different sources, rather than a curriculum in a box. We still use things from many different sources, but we are very relaxed about it, halfway between relaxed homeschooling and unschooling, and my kids are learning so much more now than they did before! 

When my stepson finished kindergarten, he came to stay with us for the summer, and he’s still here at age 15! He loves the way he is able to be educated, learning according to his own passions, not according to what a specific curriculum says he must learn at a specific age. So do his brothers. His older brother, our first child, is now age 19, and still learning, so much more than he would have if he’d been left in a school. His younger brothers, our 11 year old twins who were adopted at age 8, have also learned so much more than they were learning in school while they were still in foster care. Homeschooling has turned out to be one of my best life choices.

My life, like everyone’s life, has been a series of journeys, and choices. I made the choice, with my husband, that I’d be a full time homemaker, then later added being a full time at home mom, then a full time homeschooling mom. I’ve had times when it was not an easy road by any means, for a number of reasons, but honestly, I wouldn’t be anything else. it’s the best feeling in the world to know that I am the person who taught my kids how to read, how to write, how to do so many things. 🙂 

And maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll try writing again, and maybe I WILL be a famous author! Or, maybe I’ll just write, no matter what comes of it, no matter if nobody ever reads it except for me…

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