What Worries Me About Steubenville

I am not sure if I should even be writing this. I was not there. I was not a witness or participant in anything that happened.  But I can’t stop thinking about it and IMG_7993writing helps. Whenever I know that the life of a teenager has been negatively impacted by a situation that could have been prevented, I hurt along with them.  Obviously, I don’t understand the impact this situation has, but I still hurt and feel for what they are going through and will go through for the rest of their lives.

In Steubenville, Oh, two star high school football players, ages 16 and 17, were found delinquent (the juvenile equivalent of guilty) today of raping a 16-year-old girl.  The 17 year old was found guilty for disseminating a naked photo of the girl that later appeared online.    At the time of the verdict and sentence, both defendants were in court, however the victim was not.  The 17 year old apologized to the family for the act that was not his intention and the 16 year old apologized that he took the photo.

I don’t know. I am torn with my feelings over what has happened. So much so, that I know I shouldn’t be writing about it now. I acknowledge that my knowledge of the information comes from CNN broadcasts and internet site.  That in and of it self, should warrant my stopping this post.  Plus the fact, I am angry, confused, and heartbroken over everything that I heard from the testimonies given. It is painful to hear, I can’t even imagine what it was like to witness or worse, take part. What worries me more than anything is that any of this happened at all and everything that led up to this point in time could have been prevented.

On top of that, what brings me worry are the following statements:

  • A 16-year-old girl was so drunk that she couldn’t remember a thing that happened and asked one of the rapists to tell her what he did.
  • A 16-year-old girl was so drunk that there is a photo of her dangling from the hands of these accused boys.
  • A 16-year-old girl was sitting on the street, puking, with just a bra and shorts on and nobody helped her.

Where were the “friends” and “family” of this 16-year-old girl?

  • A 17-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy were photographed carrying this girl and nobody stopped them.
  • A 16-year-old boy was in the back of a car when he penetrated this girl and nobody stopped him.
  • A football coach told his star quarterback that he would “take care of” things and not to worry.

Where were the “friends” and “family” of the 16-year-old and 17-year-old boys?

  • A video of another boy was posted, with him bragging about his friend’s work, exclaiming and laughing at the fact that the girl “was deader than dead” .
  • 16 people refused to talk to police about the incidents.
  • Tens of thousands of text messages, found on 17 phones, went around the community sharing the events in question.

Where was the community? Where was the church?

  • The names of the two juvenile boys were plastered all over the public despite the fact that they were tried as juveniles.
  • Two boys found guilty of rape, could serve only one year in juvenile detention.
  • A 16-year-old girl will forever be known as “that” girl for the rest of her life.
  • Two teenage boys, who had promising futures, will forever be known as sex offenders.
  • 16 people refused to talk to police about the incidents.
  • Tens of thousands of text messages about the events of these nights were found on 17 phones.
  • Steubenville, Ohio will forever be known as “that” town, where a young girl was treated this way and the power of young football heroes came to surface.
  • Three lives and families will forever be changed and broken due to moments in life that could have been prevented.

Where is the justice?

What worries me is I am writing about what happened in Steubenville, Ohio without any first hand experience and I have yet to pray for any of them.

Where is the grace?

Three teenage lives, and countless others, were negatively impacted by a moment in time. May we all learn from this experience.

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