The Onus, Sadly, Is On You, Ladies

I’ve been following the Daisy Coleman case, and like most of you, watching it blow up across social media. I don’t want to get into the details because the case is divisive enough as it is, but as was the case when I first blogged about Steubenville, there’s something I’m hoping people can take away from Maryville, even before anything’s decided. And that is, when it comes to protecting yourselves from rapists, ladies, the onus, sadly, is on you.

Now, before knee-jerkers accuse me of blaming the victims or condoning rape culture or any of that BS, let’s start with this. In Steubenville, Jane Doe was drunk to the point of being passed out. In Maryville, multiple reports describe Daisy Coleman and Paige Parkhurst as being anything from ‘drunk,’ to ‘incapacitated’. In Maryville, you’ve got a 14-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl who allegedly started drinking during a sleepover, then snuck out to meet up with three boys, two aged 17 and one age 15. Now, I know that some people (particularly the case during the Steubenville rape case), want to stomp their feet and say, “How about telling the boys not to rape the girls!” Which, in theory, is fair.

Unfortunately, theory and reality don’t always see eye to eye.

Let’s say the reports are true. The girls got loaded, snuck out, and were incapacitated by the time they were assaulted. Okay. Let’s compare the individuals in question. Two young girls who can’t hold their liquor. Not exactly a hideous sin, right? The kind of thing teens all over the world do at one time or another. Now, let’s look at the kinds of broken people who would, given the chance, rape two passed out girls several years younger, while one of their friends records the rape on his cell phone.

See the difference? Sure, you can say the burden is on the boys not to rape the girls. But do you really think that teenagers capable of raping a 13- and 14-year-old who can’t say no are the kinds of kids who are going to pass up that kind of opportunity? C’mon, we’re talking major scumbaggery here. I agree it’d be nice if drilling into teenagers’ heads to respect one another at all times worked, but it doesn’t, because some kids are losers at heart and don’t care about the rules so long as they think they can get over on someone.

If you got your Christmas bonus  and went to a hideous neighborhood, at night, to party, guess what? It isn’t your fault if you get robbed and ripped off. You didn’t deserve that. You are 100% the victim. That’s true of Jane Doe, it’s true of Daisy Coleman, it’s true of Paige Parkhurst and countless other teens who have done something stupid and put themselves in a bad spot. I’m not saying these girls deserved anything. But I’m also not going to ignore the fact that there are many, many bad people out there. The kinds of people who will steal your car from a funeral home parking lot. The kinds of people who will pickpocket you in church. The kinds of people who will steal your mail so they can run up a tab on your credit card, even if you’re a widow living alone in a retirement community. And yes, there are boys who will think nothing of using a passed out girl as a sex toy simply because she’s there and they think they can get away with it.

Those aren’t the kinds of people who any amount of “Do the right thing.” reinforcement is going to keep from acting on their urges. That’s the sad fact. Which is why I think this is a good opportunity for people who’ve captured the media’s attention to speak out. I’d love to see Jane Doe and Daisy Coleman and Paige Parkhurst record a PSA. Tell other girls that you can’t rely on lowlifes to do the right thing. It would be great if the world worked that way, but it doesn’t. So send the message. Tell other teens that the best protection starts with yourself. It starts with keeping your wits about you and making good decisions. Getting so drunk you can’t remember what happened at a party isn’t a good decision. It certainly doesn’t mean you deserve what happens if you do, but it should be considered because, anything from getting your eyebrows Naired to being raped could occur, and you weren’t able to protect yourself. That isn’t a good position to be in—for anyone.

If what happened in Maryville is as Coleman and Parkhurst say, I want the kids involved to be prosecuted to the fullest, and get what’s coming to ’em behind bars. They deserve it. However, if there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute, if the girls can’t remember exactly what happened, if the video no longer exists and the accused get away with it? Anger won’t resolve this. Social media can only offer a place to vent. Justice? It may not be served, no matter how hard we want to push the issue.

Moms? Remind your daughters that sometimes, underage drinking leads to really bad things. Your daughters can not, no matter how much we want it to be the case, rely on the kinds of people who’d rape them to act responsibly. I hate that that’s the way it is, but if cases like Steubenville and Maryville don’t illustrate the necessity of looking out for No. 1 first and foremost as opposed to relying on others to act like human beings? Then I’m not sure what will.