Saturday, 16 March 2013

Getting Away With It

"Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men's belief that they "own" their bodies - those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of another!" --  C.S. Lewis

I've been following the sickening story of two Steubenville Ohio teenage football stars who allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl who was drunk and comatose with no way to defend herself.  What's worse is that several others witnessed this and did nothing to stop it because they supposedly thought the girl had consented and therefore there was no wrongdoing.  Other members of the football team have been wearing masks and protesting outside the courthouse, demanding that the players on trial be set free.

My first thought was WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS?  Who in their right mind allows their teenager to go out partying at all hours of the night and get drunk?  Who teaches their sons that it's acceptable to harrass and rape someone?  Are people becoming so self-indulged that they can't or won't guide their children appropriately?

A big part of the problem is that in many small towns, the local athletic team (usually football) is accorded celebrity status.  The players are practically given free rein to do as they please, and they get away with a LOT - which includes, unfortunately, sexual assault.  Coaches and other authority figures will even cover up for them.  It brings to mind another case from a few years ago where a Texas high school cheerleader refused to cheer for the basketball player who had raped her.  As a result she  was kicked off the squad and publicly humiliated, and a grand jury refused to indict the ones responsible.

One comment on the story summarized it quite well: "Rape has always been about power and control, and in this country, we assign those attributes to atheletes and celebrities. We tend to allow them to think they have some sort of absolute power and authority to take whatever they want to take and there are no consequences. We sort of canonize atheletes because they can run fast or throw a ball straighter than the next guy, and these young players are taught they are elite."

Fortunately we seem to be getting closer to breaking this taboo subject wide open.  The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University made national headlines.  But there are countless high schools and sports clubs around North America that might harbour the next perpetrators of the unthinkable.

These boys in Steubenville must be used as an example to others.  If you assault a girl you will go to jail and have a black mark on your record for the rest of your life.  No second chances.

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