Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Imagine you are a 16-year-old girl, waking up in another person's house, unclothed and unable to find your underwear or earrings after a night of drinking. Unsure of what happened, you go home and go on, but in the days that follow, you see on social media photos of yourself drunk and unresponsive.

Eventually you piece together that while you were highly intoxicated, you had been violated by two teenage boys. Not only had you been violated, but they had shared pictures and information with other people through social media, and it had spread like wildfire.

What a sad story to share, conquests of a girl too drunk to remember what happened or able to put up a fight.

Tragic, horrific, too terrible for most to imagine.

Last August, this happened to a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio. The trial of the accused rapists, 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma'lik Richardson, was held this past week.

Mays initially convinced the victim that he had watched out for her while she was intoxicated, but she later found out that he took advantage of her instead. She was lied to about what happened.

Violated about being violated.

Based on the testimony that came out during the trial, it appeared that the town was not unfamiliar with teenage binge drinking and teenagers who were making less than optimal choices. The town is known for its high school football team (both boys were football players).

"The boys drank. They drove around. They went to each other's houses until 2, 3, 4 in the morning," Daniel Wetzel wrote on Yahoo Sports Sunday morning. "They exploited permissive parents who let the party continue." In the community, there were "adults that would look the other way."

As a parent, it makes me wonder: What were their parents thinking? I grew up in a small town, and my life revolved around band, football and church. When I came home (before curfew), my mother would call out from her bedroom to make sure it was me. She never went to sleep, at least not fully, before I was home.

I came home on time because I understood her expectations and what the consequences of my actions would have been.

Even while testifying about the incident, town teenagers appeared not to understand the gravity of what had happened to the girl while she was too intoxicated to resist. Both teen boys were accused of digitally raping the girl.

When asked during the trial why he did not stop his teammates, Evan Westlake, who had walked in on the two teens with the girl, replied: "It wasn't violent. I always pictured it as violent."

It was not violent because she was too intoxicated to put up a fight.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.

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