News of the alleged rape of a 16-year old Steubenville, Ohio girl by two 16-year old Steubenville High School football players is disturbing on many levels. Perhaps most disturbing is the solid evidence of the criminal behavior’s acceptance coming forth via postings on social media.
“She is so raped right now,” was the callous comment on videos posted to YouTube the night of the event. Those videos have since been removed, but the simple fact that they were ever posted should be a signal that something is terribly wrong with the collective consciousness of our youth. The 12 minute video that has surfaced is horrific in how it makes light of the rape and talks about the girl as if she were dead.
There are so many factors that play a role in this kind of behavior. Certainly, even kids with a decent moral compass can be pressured into going along with the crowd in a situation like this, even more so if they are under the influence of alcohol. And I would argue that the barrage of pornographic material that rains down on our youth via theInternet contributes to the objectification of women, especially teens.
As a parent, this case is a wake up call. It exposes the tremendous power of the Internet to influence behavior, and to chronicle behavior. I would love to assume my boys would take a stand in a situation like this. I would love to assume that they would speak out and and step up to defend the defenseless girl, but I refuse to make that assumption. A passive, “not my kid” approach to confronting this problem is not an option for me.
I’ve been blocking access to porn sites from our home wireless network for a long time. And while I realize this is a bandaid on an open wound, it’s my way of making sure I’m not passively encouraging looking at women as sex objects. Now it’s time to sit down with my boys and make sure they understand that it is not just the rape that is reprehensible, but this kind of supportive behavior as well.
A culture that encourages and supports the objectification of young women should not be surprised that it is also a culture that can allow child sexual slavery to exist, as it does today.