Next week is my son’s birthday and instead of the hundreds of other birthday wishes I would love to have for him, something else is weighing heavily on my mind. While I normally don’t create blog posts to share my work elsewhere, this is different.
Fair warning: It’s a tough one to swallow.
I’ve been following the Steubenville, Ohio gang rape case of a 16 year old girl for a while now. The case in and of itself is beyond deplorable, but the aftermath of the situation is heartbreaking. The people of Steubenville refuses to acknowledge the deep seated, heavily ingrained rape culture that permeates their community. The scary part is that there are many other cities like Steubenville out there – this isn’t isolated. I couldn’t stay silent and had to call out this rape culture, especially as a mother of a young boy.
I will not have anyone excuse my son for being “too young” or “just a boy.” I will not devalue him like that. While I will do my damndest to ensure that my son will not get sucked into rape culture, and will — hopefully — actively break it down, I also challenge all parents, even ones deeply immersed in communities where this sort of behavior has been ingrained forever, to talk to your sons and teach them that this is not acceptable behavior for anyone.
Please – take a moment to read the article, comment if you feel moved to do so, and share it with others so we can continue to bring attention to not only this story but the larger implications of what is happening in Steubenville right now.