I began this series of posts in response to ABC’s 20/20 episode, entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, which reported on the rape of sixteen year old “Jane Doe,” and the use of social media to further demoralize her. It was as I watched this report that the following questions arose in my spirit, beckoning me to respond to them.
- What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
- What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
- Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
- Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
- When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined?
- How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
- How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
In the last couple of days, I’ve addressed the first three questions, which brings me to tonight’s question, and I have to tell you, this has really been burning in my spirit.
Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
How many different teens were at those three parties that night? My understanding is that there were around fifty teens at those parties, so I can’t help but wonder — were all of the parents of fifty teenagers out of town that night? Were there no adults in either of the homes where the parties were held?
Were there no neighbors near any of the homes where the parties were held? Were the at least fifty teens who had been drinking that night, at the various parties so quiet that no neighbors heard them when they were standing outside laughing at a sixteen year old girl who was throwing up? Did none of the neighbors hear any commotion? Did none of the neighbors hear the people at the party taunting her, while they chanted and cheered as a Steubenville High baseball player dared bystanders to urinate on her?
When twenty-seven year old Nate Hubbard, volunteer coach for the Steubenville Big Reds came home and found the drunken teenaged partiers at his home, why didn’t he phone the police? Isn’t underage drinking a crime in Steubenville, Ohio, or didn’t the twenty-seven year old assistant coach know that? Isn’t drinking and driving a crime? Why then, would he order the intoxicated minors to leave, without at least offering to drive them home?
What adult bought the alcoholic beverages that were consumed by the teens that night? Did none of the fifty parents know where their children were that night? When their teens told them where they were going, did it not occur to any of the parents to call other parents to see if their children were telling them the truth? Did all fifty of those teens have their own cars, so that their parents didn’t need to take them to their destinations that night? Of those parents who drove their children to the party or to their friends’ homes, did any of them walk inside with their teens and talk with any other parents that night?
How many of the at least fifty teens who were at the various parties that evening owned their own cell phone? Out of those teens that owned a cell phone, how many were bought by their parents? How many parents paid for their teens’ monthly service? How many of those parents had ever checked their children’s cell phones to see what kind of pictures, texts and other media messages their children received and posted before that night? How many of those same parents have ever checked their children’s cell phones since that night?
One has only to look at the reactions — or should I say lack of reactions from the parents, neighbors and other adults in the community to gain an understanding of why there was no one to defend “Jane Doe” on August 11, 2012. We need to look at the adults of the community who failed to teach their youth the difference from right and wrong. Do I sound harsh? Perhaps, but I am speaking truth.
I heard the parents of the two boys who were convicted of rape talk about their boys, and what good boys they were, and how their boys wouldn’t do something like that, and it sickens me. I love my children, but when they are wrong, even though it breaks my heart, I cannot defend their actions. As I listened to them, and even some of the media lamenting for those poor boys, and how this has ruined their lives, I was struck at the lack of empathy for “Jane Doe,” who was victimized by those “poor boys.”
Did “Jane Doe” place herself in a dangerous situation? Absolutely, and I’ll talk about that in my next post, but no matter how drunk and foolish she may have behaved, the abuse inflicted on her by those “poor boys”, and by the other teens who were mocking her, photographing her and smearing her name all over cyberspace, was inexcusable. She was the victim, not those “poor boys,” nor any other person involved.
This is a wake-up call, America. We have become a selfish, self-centered culture, placing our own wants and needs above all else, which is completely contrary to the lives that God has ordained for us to live. You see, we were created for His glory, not for our own pleasure.
“All who claim Me as their God will come, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.
This horrific case has broken my heart for everyone who was involved, the victim, the perpetrators, the bystanders and the parents, and though I don’t want to see something like this happen again, it will, unless people are willing to make a change in their lives. Not only will incidents like this happen again, but I tell you with certainty, that the crimes will become more and more vile and heinous, unless the people of this nation repent of their sins and cry out to God for His mercy.
I’m sure there are some who disagree with me, but the facts speak for themselves. If the parents of those teens had been proactive in their children’s lives, rather than reactive, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened. What if the parents of any of those teens who attended the parties that night, had checked up on their children’s plans before and even during the parties? This could have been prevented, right?
Suppose the parents of the teens who attended the parties that night had brought their children up from childhood to love the Lord as the Scriptures say?
1 “These are all the commands, laws, and regulations that the LORD your God told me to teach you so you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and so you and your children and grandchildren might fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all His laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, to everything I say. Be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.”
It’s sad that many of the parents of the teens involved in this horrible crime likely would never dream of missing their child’s football game, but few would ever insist on their children learning to love the Lord God with all of their heart, soul and strength. How many of those parents have bought the music those teens were listening to that night, like “Way too Gone”, by Young Jeezy? How many bought their teens Nirvana’s “Rape Me”? I wonder, if the boys had been listening to something different, like the song below, do think it’s possible that it would have squelched their evil desires that night?
Suppose the parents of those teens taught their children from the time they were small to be kind to others…
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Suppose, instead of defending their teen’s heinous actions, they disciplined them?
17 Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind. 18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
My dear readers, it’s too late to change what happened in Steubenville, Ohio on August 11, 2012, but it’s not too late to change future events. If you are a parent, grandparent, or an adult that children and teens look up to, teach them to love the Lord Jesus Christ by your words and by your actions. Children aren’t stupid. They are looking to the adults in their lives to show them how to live, not only by what they say, but by what they do.
It isn’t enough for a father to tell his son to respect women, when his son observes his father looking at pornography and cursing his mother. Do you think the son will do as his father says, or as his father does? It isn’t enough to tell your kids to be truthful, when you tell lies.
Parents, you can’t be friends with your children while they are still children and teens. You must be the responsible adult, and you must discipline. Parents who truly love their children will discipline them. Parents who tell their children they love them, but do not discipline them, do not show their children love. Instead, their lack of discipline shows them that their parents don’t really care about them.
Do you want to do what is best for your children, and hopefully prevent your children and teens from committing despicable acts against others?
- Pray for your children.
- Dedicate yourself and them to Christ.
- Lead them by example.
- Show them mercy and compassion toward others
- Live a disciplined life.
- Pray with your children.
- Discipline your children.
- Maintain a loving relationship with the child’s other parent.
- Even if you are no longer married or together, respect the child’s other parent and never put him/her down.
- Even if you are no longer married or together, pray for your child’s other parent.
- Talk to your teens about this case and others that have happened.
- Ask your teen how they would respond to that situation.
- Offer suggestions, so that if something like that ever happens, your teen will know what to do.
My beloved readers, I truly believe our country is at a deadly crossroad, and each one of us must choose which way we will go and lead our children. Will you lead your children on the path of righteousness? Or will you choose to lead your children on the path of destruction?
11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. 12 It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?’ 13 It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?’ 14 The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 16 I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, laws, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!”
Father, I pray for all parents, not only those who live in Steubenville, Ohio, but for every parent throughout this country and throughout the earth. Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that You would give parents a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. I pray that You would give them godly wisdom, so that they can make good decisions for their children and themselves.
Father, build a wall of fire around the youth in this nation, so that the enemy can’t penetrate their hearts. Lord, I pray that You would reveal Yourself to every man, woman, teen and child who might come across this post and draw them to You, for salvation is found only in Christ.
In Jesus’ name, Father, I pray that men and women throughout the world who love You would humble themselves under Your mighty hand and pray to You and repent and seek Your face, and that You would hear our cries, and heal our land. Amen.
Cheryl A. Showers