I have been marinating this post since the Steubenville verdict was read. I have been afraid to write it because I hate confrontation and I suspect this is going to cause some. But try as I might to just forget it and move on, one thought kept waking me up at night.
“Would my boys be capable of doing this?”
While I can’t say with 100% certainty that there is absolutely NO WAY they would ever be involved in something like this, I feel extremely confident they wouldn’t. They were raised to respect women. They were raised to have compassion for those around them. They were raised to cheer for the underdog and stand up for what is right. They were raised to know they aren’t entitled to anything, they will have to earn everything and most importantly they will take nothing.
Like Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond, they were born an empty slate and filled with promise and it has taken years to create the men they have become.
Boys aren’t “just being boys”. They are being what we are raising them to be.
What went wrong for these boys? For all boys who rape?
Is it the endless magazine covers and commercials objectifying women? The insane amount of porn at their fingertips? Is it the music they listen to?
Being greeted by two naked models with suds on there booties, they give me hugs and lots of kisses, and they ask me what my wishes, I say go and call your bitches, cause there’s gonna be a party, next they wash my body as a team, and then the say “foo your royal penis is clean” LMFAO
Was it a series of events and people in their lives? Did something happen to them? Was it alcohol? Were they not taught to respect women? Were they led to believe that somehow they were entitled to what they wanted because they are athletes? Were they taught that being an athlete means they are better than? Were they not loved or treated with compassion? Was it parenting? Was it coaching? A lethal combination of several things?
I obviously don’t have the answers, but what is abundantly clear is that something went horribly wrong with the clean slate and promise of Ma’Lik and Trent. They lacked compassion, respect, love, kindness and human decency that night. Why? What led them to do what they did? What series of events and failings created boys who are capable of such horrific acts? We must find out.
I believe these boys should be punished. I believe they should not only serve the time but be forced to get psychiatric help. I believe that they should be required to do years of community service and outreach. I am not saddened by anything that is happening to them, both because their actions deserve the punishment and because the only hope they have at being anything other than rapists is to suffer and change.
That said, they didn’t just wake up that morning and turn into horrible monsters. Their behavior that night was cultivated over a long period. The decisions they made that night weren’t just a lapse of momentary judgment, they were made with a belief system that has taken years to build. They made the decisions they made based on what they thought of themselves. Their horrifying choices that night were made utilizing all the factors that have gone into creating the men they have become.
Who or what failed them? Why did they believe it was ok to do what they did? Did they have examples of violence in their lives? Why did no one stop them that night? Why was it important for them to make people aware of their heinous acts? Why the chest beating and look at me I am so powerful?
The questions posed throughout this post need to be asked of everyone around them, society as a whole and most importantly of Trent and Ma’Lik and other boys who rape. We must find out why so we can figure out how to stop this cycle of violence.
We have to ask the questions that start the conversations and lead to the solutions. We MUST look beyond just punishing these boys and get to the root of the problem. We have to try harder, dig deeper, be better for both our sons and daughters. Our sons must be and deserve to be raised in a way that respects and protects. And our daughters deserve to be respected and protected.
Boys are not born rapists. This I know for sure.