When will it stop?
This week two teenage girls–TWO–killed themselves as a result of not just their brutal gang rapes, but because their brutal gang rapes were passed along on the internet like horrible entertainment. Feed the girl to the lions. This is not the Coliseum, folks. We no longer feed victims to the Lion, or the Cracken for the stadiums to erupt in a ferocious roar. This is not the Hunger Games. We don’t subscribe to children killing children, do we? We’re not a society willing to watch girls brutally raped and then shamed publicly. Are we?
Because in the past seven days, we’ve allowed these poor kids to be destroyed.
1. Audrie Pott
Writes Eve Vawter on Mommyish:
In early September of last year, 15-year old Audrie Pott attended a party at a friend’s house while her parents were out of town. The teens, between 8-10 of them at the party, drank hard liquor mixed with Gatorade. Audrie passed out and at least three male teens performed various sexual acts on her. Someone took at least one photo of the assault on Audrie, which was spread around via email and text before it was finally posted on Facebook. She wrote on her Facebook page:
“The whole school knows…My life is ruined.”
2. Rehtaeh Parsons
From Big Fat Feminist:
Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself in her bathroom, because Rehtaeah Parsons was gang-raped by four boys a year ago.
They took pictures.
It took weeks for the police to even talk to them.
The people in Rehtaeh’s school called her a slut. They passed her phone number around. They asked her if she’d have sex with them. They bullied, shunned, and browbeat her to death.
I like to think the strong reaction to Steubenville is because our society knows this, all of this, the slut-shaming, the misogyny, the rape, is all-too present. That deep down, our society reacted to Steubenville because we’ve had enough.
Girls have been taught not to dress a certain way. Girls have been taught not to drink too much. They have been taught not to be alone with men. But boys have not been taught not to rape. Our society knows this. But we don’t know how to communicate this. And it’s time, people. It’s time to communicate this to your children. It’s time to use those uncomfortable words and language and explain what rape is so that our boys know. We all are to blame for throwing these girls into the arena with the lion because the LION HAS NOT BEEN TAUGHT.
I know this is a hard concept, because we want to believe humanity will allow people to make the right decisions and for common sense and decency to prevail. But it hasn’t.
She deserved it. She shouldn’t have been there. She shouldn’t have had a drink. She shouldn’t have been so available. She shouldn’t have been so pretty. She shouldn’t have had sex the week before with someone else.
This is the mentality.
And then we lose our girl because she’s just a girl. For Christ sakes. Just a girl! Making girl mistakes! Making her own stupid girl choices! We lose her–as we lost two this week–and we wonder why.
This is why.
Donate to the Audrie Pott foundation here.
Rehtaeh Parsons Facebook memorial page here.
Images: the Pott family and the Parson’s family