My son turns six next week, and among all the other wishes I have for him, I have a silent hope that won’t be shared at his birthday party. It’s one that swims in the depths of my mind, surfacing occasionally when awful things happen that force me to think about it: I wish and hope and pray that my son won’t grow up to be a rapist.
I know that sounds horrible and not a wish a mother of a six year old should even have in the back of her mind, let alone flashing loud and red and painful throughout it. But I can’t help it. We live in a society that is steeped in rape culture, no matter how many people refuse to acknowledge that reality. My worry was driven home more forcefully after watching a video that Anonymous posted online of Steubenville High School students talking about the rape of a 16-year-old fellow student. This case is heartbreaking enough — the victim was sexually assaulted while drunk and unconscious, only to have the photographic proof of her rape spread all over various social media outlets. Her attackers, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two football players for the high school’s team The Big Red, were let off relatively lightly, subjected to being under house arrest. However, the victim was also punished, forbidden by the judge in the case from sharing any details of the case, essentially re-victimizing her. Keep reading »