Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
“She is deader than OJ’s wife. She is deader than Caylee Anthony.” These despicable comments made by a teenager later charged with raping an intoxicated sixteen year old girl in Steubenville, Ohio really does show an accurate picture of how my generation views rape and sexual assault. Quite frankly, I’m disgusted, ashamed and embarrassed to say that those young men who raped a sixteen year old girl are a part of my generation. We are a part of the generation that teaches young women to be careful in society, regarding clothing, or to be sexually assaulted or raped as the result. We are a part of a generation that often sympathizes with the rapist, not the victim, as if the victim is making up such “tales” for attention. We are a part of a generation that teaches women “not to be raped” rather than teaching men “not to rape”. We are the generation that jokes about rape and sexual assault, finding the tragic topic amusing. We are the generation that lacks common sense and morals.
Yes means yes. No means no. As children, we are often taught this simple principle early on in our childhood. But, many of us have forgotten this principle, and apparently the residents of Steubenville, Ohio did not do a well enough job of instilling this in their children. As a few young men were caught on video and taking pictures of sexual assaulting, raping and joking about the rape of a sixteen year old girl, there is one thing missing: This young woman had no consent regarding sexual activity. She never told them to “take it slow” and to not jump in to have sex. She never told them to put a condom on. She never told them she didn’t want to engage in a sexual activity. This young woman never had these chances because a few men found it amusing to take advantage of her and her body. It doesn’t matter if she would have enjoyed the sexual activity or if she wouldn’t have enjoyed it if she were sober. What matters is a sixteen year old girl that was unconscious due to intoxication and that to a few young men, her body was not off limits.
As it’s obvious that being intoxicated with alcohol and being passed out is a green light to many to move forward and to rape a young teenage girl, one has to know that this is not the only excuse that people will find for saying that it’s okay to sexually assault or rape someone. A popular excuse in society is calling out women for what they are wearing, whether it’s revealing or not. From short shorts and tank tops, to long sleeves and jeans, women in this country often have to endure cat calls, slut shaming and body shaming. By not taking action and not calling out people who do harass women, this opens doors to telling women that wear what you want, but expect cat calls and expect being called derogatory names. Young women need to grow up in a world knowing they’ll be safe, no matter if they wear tank tops or long sleeves. Everyone needs to be informed that no matter what you’re wearing, women are harassed. You don’t necessarily need to be wearing revealing clothing for this to happen to you. Sadly, almost every American woman will have to endure harassment in their lifetime.
But, just because this is how society works, doesn’t mean we can’t change it. From Slut Walks to tweets to Youtube videos, men and women across the country standing up, calling for action. Even some Americans are coming up with apps for a cellular device, iPod touch, etc. to track down sexual harassment and rape and to report it. Many adults want young women, like myself, to grow up in an accepting world. They want a world where women don’t have to be scared of walking down the street, fearing they’ll be called a slut, but rather treated normally, as they should be. So that young women don’t have to be cat called when they walk into their local grocery store, but rather greeted with a smile. So that young women that are intoxicated with alcohol don’t have to be afraid of being sexually assaulted and raped when passed out, but rather get the help that they need and to get home safely.
Let’s become that generation.