Sunday, March 17, 2013

Underage Drinking and Rape and Monday's Prayer

Attention: This is long.  To expedite your reading, I have used bold font and 
different  colors.  The blue signifies a news report.  The purple color signifies
a story from my own school district that we are dealing with now.  The prayer
and scripture is at the end.

Stuebenville, Ohio.  It's where my parents grew up.  It's a steel mill town
 with the mill across the Ohio River in Weirton, WV.  My dad and all my
 uncles worked there.Many of my cousins ended up there too.
My brothers got their fill during their summers
until college graduation.

Those mill days of big money, union power, and fantastic pensions are over.
However Steubenville still exists and is still incredibly proud of their
Big Red football team.  My 80-some aunt still listened to the games
on the radio and died a true fan.

But Big Red has become internationally known due to an infamous party night in which
two football players digitally raped a 16 yr. old girl who was so drunk she passed out.
She woke up naked on a couch in a strange house with no recollection of what
had happened.  She went home and then the texts and Facebook reports started
coming in.  She was sent a horrifying one of herself taken at yet another house. She started at
one house and was taken to at least one other.

One of the boys took a picture and sent it out to make the rounds of many phones.
The boys reported on themselves.  Social media revealed what she could not remember.
She and her family had no intention of filing charges.  But social media took it to where
the authorities had to intervene.  Investigations and charges resulted.

Today, the boys were found delinquent (guilty).  The one boy got two charges and a minimum
of two years in a juvenile facility (his photo of a sexually explicit material with a minor
earned him the separate charge and the second year.)
Both boys are under 18.
Neither boy apologized until the verdict was read. The sentencing had not occurred yet. Only one sounded sincere according to reports.

From the news:

The victim's mother also had a statement for the two defendants, Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, who were immediately sentenced to one and two years, respectively, in juvenile detention. (Mays received an additional year because he was also convicted of using nudity-oriented material, in the form of pictures of the girl on his cellphone.)
“It did not matter what school you went to, what city you lived in, or what sport you’ve played," the victim's mother said. "Human compassion is not taught by a teacher, a coach or a parent.  It is a God-given gift instilled in all of us. You displayed not only a lack of this compassion but a lack of any moral code."
Two witnesses testified that the defendants sexually assaulted the girl during a night of partying on Aug. 11 and used their cellphones to take pictures of the incident. Those images went public and ultimately contributed to the case's notoriety.
"Your decisions that night affected countless lives including those most dear to you," the victim's mother continued. "You were your own accuser through the social media that you chose to publish your criminal conduct on.
"This does not define who my daughter is,” the mother said. Emotion then briefly rippled through her voice. “She will persevere, grow, and move on.
"I have pity for you both. I hope you fear the Lord, repent for your actions, and pray hard for his forgiveness.”
Both boys cried after the verdict was read and apologized.
“I would truly like to apologize,” Mays said. “No pictures should have been sent around, let alone have been taken.”  (I've checked several sources and this is being written as his sole apology--I also watched a video of him saying it.  He does not apologize for anything done to her other than taking and sending a picture! )
Richmond broke down sobbing as he tried to speak. “I would like to say I had no intentions to do anything like that,” he said. [This young man walked across the court and faced the girl's parents.  The girl was not there today. He is black and the other one is white and the girl is white. ] 

I was watching a commentator when one of the pictures of the girl flashed across the video.  I had read about this pic, but to see it is just vile.  One boy had hold of her legs and the other her arms.  She was clothed.  However, her body was limp and her had hung down--she had either passed out or was nearly there.

I liked what State Attorney DeWine said in his statements after the trial:
"This happens every weekend all over America.   Every Friday and Sat. night kids are getting drunk and rapes are occurring."    He wants the people of the United States to quit focusing on Steubenville and start looking around their own towns."
He also made quite clear that digital penetration is rape. That is a shocker to some.
[He said much more and I'm sure if you Google his name and/or Steubenville rape trial, you can
get more info.]

Now here at home:
There was a party last weekend  in which a boy invited 3 or 4 kids to.  His parents were gone.
Thirty kids showed up.  Most if not all of them drank. The house got a bit messed up. The kid
couldn't control it. These kids go to the high school where I teach.
It was leaked on Facebook and his and two other boys' names were cited.  School officials--
the athletic director, the principal, and a discipline committee-- had to investigate.  The boys
admitted to drinking.  All three are athletes and will be banned from a number of baseball
Guess what the one boy is saying?
He said it to me: "Someone ratted on us.  Thirty kids were drinking, but we are the only ones 
who are being punished because we won't rat on the others.
He showed no remorse.  He is instead saying that the athletic director has been out to get him
all year.  He said the AD lied to the one boy and got him to confess and rat. No punishments were
supposed to happen.
That's not true. No promises were made. And if someone would name the others, they would
get the same treatment.
The boy can be a bully.  The other two boys can be quite obnoxious and kids don't feel any loyalty
to them.  That's most likely why they got ratted on--they were 'a pain' to  some kids and the kids got
back at them.  Now they are saying they are the good guys because they won't rat.

1. Did sex occur?  Most likely. But that most certainly won't come out.  There is a loose attitude toward sex at our school. Some girls openly brag about giving b. jobs.    If one of those braggers became incapacitated and was raped by one or more boys, the feeling by many would be that it couldn't be rape. Disgusting and sad, but true.
2.  Did an adult supply the alcohol? Well, since they were all underage, someone over 21 had to.
3. Are the boy's parents punishing him for having the party? Oh yeah.  They trusted him and are quite upset.
(They are not asking for preferential treatment which is unfortunately the exception and not the rule.)
Fortunately for them, they were NOT there, sleeping in their bedroom unaware of underage drinking happening on their property.

The Steubenville case is not over.  A grand jury will be convened to further investigate a lot of other people and actions that night and the subsequent days.  A group called Anonymous made charges of cover up.
There are mixed opinions on this, obviously.  The prosecutors are saying that it was not a cover up but rather   a case of "first things first"--get the main culprits and then go after the rest.  Three teens were given immunity when they pleaded the fifth.   They had been open with the authorities until Anonymous got involved and then things got very 'chilly' as the assistant prosecuting attorney said. People stopped answering questions.
She feels that Anonymous made it into an international media circus and that made life so much harder for the victim.  It made their job of getting to the bottom of it that much harder too.  Sixteen people have refused to talk to them. Many others talked at first, but then stopped..   There will subpoenas and probably charges.

Things to consider: 
1.The teens who saw it happening and did NOTHING.  One teen girl told the girl she had to leave the house -- that her boyfriend was freaking out that his parents would find out.  So instead of helping a sister in need, she was trying to keep her boyfriend out of trouble because his house was one of the house's  the girl was taken to.
2. Why weren't the parents awakened?
3. Why weren't authorities called?
4. Why didn't someone take the girl home?
5. Why didn't someone call her parents?
Some girls said they tried to get her to not go with the guys, but their 'friend' refused to listen.  I'm not sure she could make a rational decision at that point--she was so drunk.
Some witnessed one of the boys try to force the girl to do a sex act on him and she was incoherent and could not walk at that point.  No one got her help.  No one stopped the boys.
5. Who supplied the alcohol? Everyone at the parties were underage or if they weren't, then they are in even more trouble.

So many questions are still unanswered.  I imagine there are a lot of adults and kids who are having difficulty sleeping tonight as they ponder what is in store for them.

But several things stand out to me as an educator: 
1. Many parents are not involved nearly enough in their kids' lives.
2.  Many of them lead by example: drug and alcohol abuse in front of their kids.
3. Curfews are not made or not enforced.
4. Teachers are supposed to do right by their kids and that often means to not enforce the rules--look the other way.  If not, we are out to get a kid.
5. More often than not, the only regret on the parents' and kids' parts are that they got caught--not that they did  wrong in the first place.

They didn't teach us this in college and it most certainly was not in the job description of what we as teachers and administrators would be required to handle.

Monday's Prayer

Lord, whenever grief over something that has happened tries to come back and torture us, 
I ask that You would take it away and give us peace.  Thank You that You are a compassionate God,
and You not only see our troubles and grief and understand our loss, but You extend Your hand to us and hear our prayers. I ask that You would unlock all the pain that is captured in our memories and set us free from it.  Help us to see that life goes on because You go on and Your compassion never fails.

You, O God, do see trouble and grief; You consider it to take it in hand.  The victim commits himself to you; You are the helper of the fatherless.
Psalm 10:14 NIV

From A Book of Prayers for Emotional Wholeness 
by Stormie OMartian


  1. I am not going to be popular here when I make this statement, but, like I have said a million times, alcohol is Satan. It causes more divorces, more illnesses, more loss of jobs, more pregnancies,more wrecks with deaths and crippling injuries, more imprisonments than nearly any one thing I can think of...and it's legal. Parents who drink don't think anything of their kids drinking as long as they don't get caught. I work in a hospital in the medical record department and have for over 12 years...and in that time, the number of charts that go through that are related to alcohol is just mind-numbing....but nothing will ever be done about it because there are too many government officials that drink and too many prominent city officials that drink, and so forth and so on. If you love your kids, set a good example for them to follow and don't even social drink...because where YOU may be able to stop with one drink, your child may not have the same will power that you have....and they ARE watching you....and the other adults that set examples for them in their lives. Sad, so sad.

  2. The public school system has been loaded with far too much. Along with most of the people of the world, i guess. It seems to me that the birth pains are coming closer together.

  3. Wow - this is horrifying and so sad! I agree with your thoughts on it.

  4. oh Beth, I ache for these kids. I ache for this world, for all of the sin. I wish I knew how to help... Please feel free to read my piece, "To the last virgins standing" to your classes if that will help; here is the link: I'm going to be reading it to a high school assembly in May. Praying for you, as you love on those kids.

  5. I was so glad to see that the boys were convicted. I was afraid that they were going to "beat the system." It will be interesting to see what follows.

  6. So sad...and yes, far too common.

  7. Sad, Beth... I have heard and read about the case in Steubenville. I too asked many of the same questions you asked:
    -Where were the adults? GADS!
    -Who furnished the alcohol?
    -Why did someone not try to help that girl?

    Yes--this is happening all over our country. Kids are not being raised with discipline or respect. They always 'blame' things on someone else, never taking responsibility themselves. And parents take up for kids who get in trouble instead of letting them admit it and then take the punishment.

    I heard that the girl is getting all kinds of grief over this now ---since those boys were 'star' athletes. The family will probably have to move. That girl's life will never be the same. Such a shame.... BUT--she's not totally innocent either. She was very drunk... Again, what kind of upbringing are these kids getting????

    Interesting that this has happened at your school also. Parents should not leave teens at home alone --no matter when or where.

    I truly feel sorry for you teachers these days. You are fighting a losing battle --which is totally caused by the horrible home lives kids have these days. It's such a shame...

    Thanks for talking about this. I never ever connected you to Steubenville.

    God Bless our country and our young people--and TEACHERS.

    1. Just to clarify, there was not a rape at the party in our school district. There were about 30 underage drinkers who had a lot of so called fun. It's now costing three of them baseball time.

  8. i didn't know any of this, and i'm quite shocked. mind you, back in my times, many teenagers got lost to heroin and drugs instead of alcohol, and the (criminal) behaviour that followed wasn't any better than drunkenness. our boys asked for the first time ever to go to a music event organized by older school kids (starting at 11pm), and after much discussing we said no. would have it been better to say yes, and show them that we trusted them? will this no lead to them to not asking permission next time? so many questions and decisions that aren't easy to answer and take.


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