Sexual Assault/ Abuse Does Not Define You

stebeunville rape photo #2 (1)

As most of you know from my previous blog post and tweets, I have been closely following the Steubenville Ohio Rape case.

Both boys, Trent Mays and Mailik Richmond, were found guilty. And the punishment fits the crime: [They]will serve their sentence at a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21, and both will be labeled as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

In spite of all the ugliness surrounding this case, the victim’s mother conveyed a message of hope when she addressed Richmond and Mays at the end of the trial: “This does not define who my daughter is. She will persevere, grow and move on.  Her mother could not have said it any better. This is a message of hope for her daughter and millions of women around the world who have been raped, or sexually abused.

Sexual assault/abuse does not define you.

When someone violates you sexually, that can be hard to heal from.  Take your hurt, your pain, your shame and do something great with it, gather strength from it and move on.

I also what to extend this message to women who have chosen sex work, stripping, who have pursued a promiscuous lifestyle, or have experienced the heart ache of being used and dumped by a man like a Kleenex:

What you do or do not do with a penis, or what a man does to you, do not define who you are.

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Rape is Rape

Steubenville Ohio Rapist:  Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmon,

Steubenville Ohio Rapists: Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmon,

When it comes to sex, no means no, and stop means stop.  I promise you that there is no hidden meaning. And if a woman is passed out drunk, then she is in no condition to consent to sex.  But who would want to have sex with an unconscious woman? Unfortunately for the sixteen year old victim involved in the Steubenville Ohio rape case, this is exactly what happened. She was unconscious while two males “penetrated her vaginally with their fingers, and then distributed pictures of her and one of the perpetrators masturbated on her. I can feel the vomit rise in the back of my throat while reading how these monsters violated and exploited this young girl.

Victim Blaming

Another aspect of this case that is disgusting is the victim blaming. People are blaming the victim  for being drunk, blame her parents, and believe that it was her lack of morals that caused this situation. Some even believe that she wanted it, or that she gave consent before she passed out. This is utterly disturbing. But what is even more disturbing is that the perpetrators in question, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmon, don’t have any remorse for the crimes they committed against this young woman.

No is no. And no consent given still means no. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. I don’t care how short your skirt is, if you’re walking down the street naked, or if you’re drunk and high all at once and passed out on the corner, no man has the right to penetrate you in any way. As a society we need to stop blaming the victims.  The fault lies with the rapists.

Unity

As women we should stand behind this young girl, not pick her apart. We need to set the standard that what happened to this girl and what happens to millions of women around the world on a daily basis is not okay. I cringed when I read tweets from other women bashing this girl. What if you were drunk and unconscious, would you want random men sticking their fingers up your crotch? What if she was your sister, your best friend or daughter? . When a fellow woman is raped we need to support her.

Rape does not discriminate       

Rape does not discriminate against race, age, or social status. It is a monster that knows no boundaries. Single women are raped, women are raped by their boyfriends or friends, and yes some women are raped by their husbands. It happens to the prostitute on the corner, or the student innocently walking home. I call on women who have sons to teach them to respect women. Teach your sons that sex is not a right, that a woman is not a toy, and that they should not act out their sick porn-influenced fantasies on a woman who has not given her consent.

My Plea

This hatred against women needs to stop. No one deserves to get raped.