When we hear stories in the news our instinct is to judge ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ based on the initial information we receive and often that is skewed by the way the news story is told.
There are two sides to every story, but my first reaction to most rape cases is to support the female and condemn the male(s.) I realize that’s not fair, but that initial reaction is based on what I have observed in my life about the general mentality of most males when it comes to females - I said ‘most’ males. I also know that there have been cases where women have claimed to have been raped when they were actually willing participants. That’s certainly not fair to men and those women should be punished and held accountable for any false claims. But that’s a subject for another blog.
Defense attorneys for the two Ohio high school football players on trial for rape, Trent Mays, 17 and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, say the boys are innocent. One argument being made is that the girl was extremely intoxicated and was a willing participant. But prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said the boys stripped off her clothes and other teens joked about urinating on her. According to a CNN article, Hemmeter said the boys “treated her like a toy.”
There are many aspects of a case like this that can be discussed, but I want to focus on the idea that the 16-year-old girl may have been drunk. What if she was drunk? Just because someone is not physically or mentally capable of protecting themselves from sexual abuse doesn’t mean that they are not fully protected by law from evil attacks.
The argument will be made that the teenage girl was drinking and put herself in a position of being sexually assaulted, but should that be an excuse of committing the act of rape? Even if she was intoxicated, she was still a human being and deserved all the protection of any human being.
Last year in New Orleans, we followed the story about an Alabama football fan who sexually assaulted an unconscious LSU fan at a fast-food restaurant in the French Quarter after the BCS Championship game. Even though the LSU fan got so drunk he passed out, the Alabama fan was still held accountable for his actions against a helpless individual.
Every male should be appalled by the tendency to blame the female in the case of rape, particularly when the excuse centers on the idea that ‘she was asking for it’. The argument that any female was ‘asking for it’ because of what she was wearing or because she was drunk at the time she was sexually assaulted is the outdated and morally ignorant attitude of a culture built on ‘male prerogative’.
Generally, males have the strength to over-power females. Even if the teenage girl was not intoxicated, chances are the two football players could have taken sexual advantage of the girl. Even if it wasn’t rape, being intoxicated at a party is not the right time or place to have sex.
The advice to females is – do not get drunk and allow yourself to be in a position where you have no control. The advice to males is – treat even a helpless and unconscious female as a human being – which she is.
The trial of the two Ohio high school football players continues and the boys are innocent until proven guilty, but there are lessons to be learned even before the verdict is rendered.
Talk to your teenagers about being personally responsible for their actions – both males and females. Those boys are someone’s sons and the girl is someone’s daughter.