Steubenville – “I didn’t know it was rape; it wasn’t violent” - Human Options


Words from Vivian Clecak, LCSW, MFT, and Co-founding CEO of Human Options

The rape of the girl whose inability to move or respond earned her the name “the dead girl” in the texts among the teens shocks us all. That this outrage can happen and so many spectators remain silent after all we have done as a culture to strengthen respect for women and girls requires us to review the challenges we face in changing harmful long held cultural beliefs.

Domestic violence, date abuse and date rape (one form of date abuse) are the only crimes in which the victim is blamed as much or as more as the criminal. Again and again in the thousands of texts teens blamed the girl for getting drunk and becoming incapable of consent or self-defense. Again and again distant observers and friends ask about victims of date abuse or spousal abuse, “What is wrong with her? Why did she stay? What did she do to provoke it? I would never be in that situation…”

This blaming and distancing turns the victim into a non-person. It is then very easy to become a silent bystander. We as a community that stands for respect and dignity for all women and girls must stand up against this silence.

Look around your community. Speak to your friends and family, your sons and daughters. Ask them what would you do? Tell them what would make you proud and why.

Speak up against the silence of the bystander.

Stand with Human Options and help build a community where we might say to a girl lying on the ground unresponsive or to a women or girl with unexplained bruises, “I want to help you. I want to stand with you and speak up for you.” Start now, forward this message to 5 friends and raise awareness.


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