This kind of situation stays with you, tucked away in the back of your mind. It makes you fearful of future sexual encounters. It makes you question your self worth and who you are as a person. How did I get myself into that kind of situation? How did I not stand up for myself? Why didn't I leave instead of staying and consenting to something I was not at all comfortable being a part of?
I was a female college student who thought she was invincible. I was a female college student who knew to be aware, careful and smart. And then I became a naive college student who made a stupid decision I will forever regret.
I don't personally know Jameis Winston. I do know that he is an amazing football player in an elite college football program-one that I follow because I attended Florida State University. From all accounts, Jameis is a typical college kid. One who parties with his friends. One who is a natural football and baseball player. One who will forever be a man who was accused of rape.
Rape is not a joke. Rape is a gut wrenching, emotional crime that will forever change a woman's life. Rape is a horrific crime; one that does not get proper attention in our society.
Instead of openly teaching males and females about rape, our society loves to shame victims who come forward. Instead of opening talking to our children about rape, we broadcast the names of victims to the world, embarrassing, shaming and emotionally abusing them at their weakest hour. And in this case, instead of taking a perfect opportunity to discuss the rape culture with our children, most are concerned with Heisman Trophy voting and whether or not Jameis will win.
Did the female in this case get raped? No one but her and Jameis (or whoever was involved) knows that answer. Should we bash this female for accusing a "popular" collegiate athlete? Discount her accusations because her story wavered as to events which occurred? No and no.
If you are a female and you are raped or feel you were forced into a sexual situation that you did not feel comfortable with, GO TO THE POLICE...GO TO THE HOSPITAL...DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED, EMBARRASSED or GUILT FOR WHAT HAS OCCURRED TO YOU.
We are only a few weeks away from 2014. Victims of rape should not be shamed and vilified because they are coming forward to report a felony crime. I have zero tolerance for our societies views on rape. I have zero tolerance toward those who say rape can be prevented by the female involved. I have zero tolerance toward people who call women who were raped "sluts, whores and/or easy." I have zero tolerance for those who accuse rape victims of having ulterior motives. I have zero tolerance for those who call bullshit on any woman's claim when she says she was raped.
Whether Jameis is guilty of a crime is not my decision to make. Trying rape cases is an extremely difficult task that all state prosecutors face on a daily basis. Whether or not Jameis should win the Heisman Trophy is not what our news media should be discussing. What should be talked about is how do we teach our boys that no means no...that if a female feels uncomfortable, the sexual encounter needs to immediately end. What needs to be discussed is neither males nor females should put themselves in a situation where a rape and/or accusation of rape can happen.
What needs to be happening is a real life sex talk with all of our children.
Just because Jameis was not charged in this case does not mean this issue is over. The victim, whether charges were filed or not, feels she was raped. She will forever be changed because of this.
Rape is not something our society can continue to ignore. Rape is not something that can continue to be shamed. A rape occurs every moment of every day. It is disgusting that instead of talking and educating our kids about sex, society continues to doubt the accusers and (in this case) glorify the accused.
Rape is a real life crime that, whether you know it or not, affects at least one woman you know. Rape is also a real life crime that, a majority of the time, goes unpunished. It is time for our country, our society and us as parents to step up to the plate and have a hard talk with our kids-both boys and girls. It is time for all of us to drop the political correctness crap, the blinders that most have on as to whether or not our child is sexually active and parent, educate and inform our children.
Kids have sex. They sneak and watch porn. They experiment. They make really stupid decisions. And, they forever live with those stupid decisions. It is time that we stop protecting our kids from the real life realities of sex and educate them as to real life realities that come along with being sexually active.
It is time we teach our boys that females are not lesser human beings than they are. It is time to teach our boys that when a woman feels uncomfortable because of them, they need to leave. It is time we teach our boys that sex must be consensual and safe, instead of glorifying them for getting another piece of ass.
It is time we teach our daughters that their bodies are their bodies. It is time we teach our daughters to stand up for themselves, to not give into sexual pressure, to respect themselves enough to say no. It is time we talk to our daughters and let them know that sex is supposed to be an enjoyable experience for both parties involved. It is time we teach our daughters that there is no shame in coming forward if they find themselves a victim in a sex crime-that the shame and guilt trapped inside when they do not come forward is far worse than speaking up.
It is time we stop expecting others to be parents to our children and step up to the plate.
As a mother to four boys and a daughter, I am terrified my children could one day find themselves in a sexual situation they will forever regret. It would crush my heart if my daughter came to me and said she was raped. It would crush my heart if any of my boys were accused of rape. But instead of staying quietly terrified of those scenarios, I openly talk to my teens about the situations they should never put themselves in as males. I talk to them about treating a woman with respect and dignity. I tell them making a dumb, split second decision can and will forever change not only their life, but all parties involved.
Rape happens. It is a life changing experience that will forever alter the lives of the victims, their friends and family. Rape is not a joke. It is not a made up "thing" that women magically accuse men of. Rape is a traumatizing experience that our country still treats as a minor thing that happens.
Take a moment and talk to your children. Set aside the embarrassment broaching the sex topic with kids causes. Set aside the naive beliefs that your children don't have sex because eventually, sooner than you think, they will. As a parent, you want your kids to hear about the birds and the bees from you instead of their friends, television, or strangers.
As a parent, you should be wanting to do everything in your power to protect your sons and daughters from either side of a rape situation.
Rape is not a joke and it is time our society stopped treating it as such.