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What I’ll Tell My Kids About: The Steubenville Rape Case

One of two teens in Steubenville rape case.
Keith Srakocic/AP

What I’ll Tell My Kids About:
The Steubenville Rape Case

 

(This is the beginning of a new series about what we at GEM or guest posters would like to tell their kids about various issues.)

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now, trying to decide whether and what, to write about this. I guess I’ve been paralyzed a bit, shocked by the horror and inhumanity of the Steubenville rape case. A few days ago, two star high school football players were found guilty of raping a young woman at a party. As I process the facts of the case, I thought about what I would say to my kids about it.

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BE CAUTIOUS

Chalk drawing - Caution sign and text

 

In my youth I did some dumb things, including going on a solo vacation and allowing myself to be put in a situation that could have ended badly.  I’m a smart adult and was a fairly smart kid, but not worldly, not even a little bit. Part of that was youth; part of it, where I grew up, and still another part was that I couldn’t imagine someone wanting to hurt me nor did I understand how quickly situations can go bad.

So I would say to Casey and Cole be careful of the situations you allow yourself to be put in. That in NO WAY excuses what happened to the victim in this case who will have to deal with the consequences of the actions of two callous young men. But it is meant to serve as a warning to my own children to be alert and understand that there are some bad people out there who will stop at nothing to get their way. Don’t make it easy for them.

Read more:  The GEM Debate: Would You Let You Kids Drink In Your Home?

BE CONCERNED

photodune-547391-why-it-matters-xs.jpg

 

I would tell my beloved children that it’s okay to speak up. When you sense something is amiss, even if involves friends, let someone know. Years ago, I interviewed retired Chicago Police Detective J.J. Bittenbinder. I remember it (and him) because the things he said made such an impact. He told me that it was important to empower our kids to trust their gut instinct and to act on it.

To Casey and Cole I would say when something feels wrong, say something! Don’t worry about looking foolish or how your peers will perceive you. This is the ultimate in better safe than sorry.

Read more:  The GEM Debate: Drinking And Date Rape, What’s The Connection, Pennsylvania?

BE COMPASSIONATE

isolated word in vintage wood letterpress printing blocks

One of the horrors of this case revolves around the fact that there were witnesses who saw these guys dragging the young woman around yet no one spoke up. No one stopped and said, “Hey, guys, what are you doing?” The complete lack of moral compass made my heart hurt. When one of the kids was asked why they did nothing, his response was, “It wasn’t violent. I didn’t know exactly what rape was.” 

That may well be true, but surely they knew, even deep down inside that, what was happening to an inebriated young woman who was throwing up, being dragged around and being subjected to even more, was wrong. For the kids who laughed about it; what if she was their sister? Their girlfriend? Their best friend? Or what if they were in her shoes? Surely they would hope someone would care for them in the event they couldn’t do it themselves.

Read more:  The GEM Debate: Should A Cocktail With Mom And Dad Be The Law?

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There are so many lessons here for parents and kids. You know how I feel about parents letting kids drink in homes, what do you think about it? And what are the things you tell your ids about the Steubenville rape case?

More from GEM:

The GEM Debate: Prom, P.E. And Plan B… Should Kids Get THIS At School? (VIDEO)

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