In my small town, there are adult men who care more about the high school football games than the teenagers do. They care more about the football teams in the local schools than they do the quality or variety of classes offered there. In a small town like this, there's a great deal of socioeconomic prejudice. There's also a great deal of sexism. We might as well put up a sign on the highway, "Welcome to Rape Culture."
When I read about 14-year-old Daisy Coleman of Maryville, Missouri, she could easily be a girl I know. Daisy was raped by a member of her high school's football team. Instead of getting the justice she deserved, Daisy and her family were attacked by members of their own community. You can read Daisy's story, along with the story of her friend who was also raped, here in the Kansas City Star:
I know a lot of girls who are "boy obsessed." This obsession with boys, putting them at the center of our universe, contributes to rape culture. Still, the only person who can be blamed for abuse whether it be sexual, physical, or emotional, is the abuser. At the same time girls have to start putting themselves at the center of their own universes, clear messages need to be sent from other boys that young men are responsible for their behavior. We girls have a role here too, as we need to stand by those young men who are sending this message.
Young men and young women need to always demand justice in cases of abuse. In this case, the case of Daisy Coleman, the fact the rapist was a football player with the right last name led to him getting off free as a bird. It was Daisy and her family who were ostracized, bullied, and subjected to further attacks. The adults in that town need to be ashamed of themselves. Many of the adults in my town need to be ashamed of themselves too.
We can change the culture that contributed to what happened in Maryville, Stubenville, and many other towns across America. It will take standing up and demanding respect not just for ourselves, but for others. Right now, let's all stand up and demand respect for Daisy and her friend who went through and continue to go through a horrible ordeal.