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Steubenville Rape Case Means We Need to Teach Our Kids Better

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Culture & Entertainment

Steubenville Rape Case Means We Need to Teach Our Kids Better

There are so many levels of wrong in the Steubenville teenage rape case that my jaw hurts from continually dropping, and my neck is sore from continually shaking my head in disbelief. The crime itself was hideous, but that onlookers did nothing to stop it, and instead filmed it, is equally horrendous. The barrage of graphic and demeaning texts that followed, including online photos and videos is appalling. And still, not one of the teenagers involved thought to report any of it to an authority of any kind. To top it all off, the victim finds herself socially ostracized for standing up for herself. As though all of that wasn't bad enough, the way much of the media has handled this story is downright shocking. As a journalist, I get especially irritated when the media presents "news" in scandalous or fear-mongering ways. But the way many news outlets, such as CNN, presented the guilty verdict issued today was beyond contemptible. (See reports from The Washington Post and The New Yorker for accounts of the skewed coverage.) Instead of focusing on how justice was served and that the boys guilty of rape were to be punished for their crimes, they decided instead to sympathize with the guilty parties, and point out how sad it was because they had such "promising futures." Um, WHAT?! Thankfully, CNN has received much-deserved criticism for this reporting. But the fact remains there seems to be as many sympathizers for those who commit rape and are caught and punished, as for the victims of it. The message being sent, particularly to young people, is that being drunk and female means that rape is okay. And if it happens, the female in question has no right to bring charges against her attackers. Is this what we want to teach our children? That "good" girls don't drink or get raped? And if they do, it's their own fault? Or that star male football players are exempt from any legal or moral code? We need to teach our daughters to know they are smart, beautiful and important. And that they matter as much as any boy. We must instill in them a sense of empowerment so that every girl knows what her rights are, and never questions whether she should stand up for herself. But what's more critical than teaching all of this to our daughters, is teaching this to our sons.  
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Steubenville Rape Case Means We Need to Teach Our Kids Better

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