We need to face ugly truths

To the editor:

I’ve been following the rape case in Steubenville since before Anonymous brought it to national attention. I am not from Steubenville but I have lived in the Ohio Valley all of my life. This case is not a singular event in the world today, as the case in New Delhi sadly illustrates. But is Steubenville being unfairly painted as the bad guy? I have heard arguments from each side and I agree with points made by both. I will give my opinion, which is just that.

I agree the whole town of Steubenville should not be painted as the villain. It’s a town of individuals, as all towns are, and as such there is a vast gray area in the matter of opinion. Some people believe a rape occurred, others are not so sure. Some people blame the victim; some keep her in their prayers. Some may even make disgusting jokes about it. But this is the same as any other town. There are good and bad people, but none of them are the voice of the entire town. Some comments I have heard residents make about the victim have made me sick. Then there are comments made about Steubenville I have thought to be unfair.

Rape culture does exist. There are still people, as evolved as we have supposedly become, who believe if a woman’s skirt is too short she is asking for it. If she gets drunk and passes out she is fair game. If she has had multiple sexual partners she cannot be raped. News flash, even prostitutes can be raped. Because she is incapable of saying no, doesn’t mean she would not have said no. It doesn’t matter how short her skirt is, or even if she flirted a little at first. No means no. Period. We need to educate our sons and daughters about these facts. It is from you, the parents, that your child learns what to consider normal. You cannot know what they are doing every minute of every day. But you can educate them about what is not acceptable behavior.

I’ve heard residents liken the current events to a modern day holocaust. Really? How many residents of Steubenville have been pulled off the streets and put into prison camps? Or murdered? Or tortured? Have you ever seen pictures of the real Holocaust? If you are making this comparison, without doubt, you sicken me. You make a mockery of all the people who endured the real Holocaust.

I will not discuss whether I think there was a cover-up. Perception is reality, and opinions are based on a person’s reality. But, in my opinion, all cases like this deserve national attention. Something needs to wake this country up. When an 11-year-old girl can be gang raped by 18 men in Texas and they tried to blame the victim, it’s time to wake up. Nobody asks to be raped. The truth is not always pretty, but we still need to face it.

Melissa Allen