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March 25, 2017

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14 Year Old Child Bride Facing Death Penalty for Murdering Husband -

Saturday, November 29, 2014

BREAKING: New Coal Disaster In West Virginia -

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

U.S. Hostage Freed by Colombia’s FARC Rebels (Video) -

Monday, October 28, 2013

Here’s Why The Zimmerman Verdict Matters -

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BREAKING! UK Government Spied On Allies At TWO G20 Summits (Video) -

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Swiss Support Tougher Asylum Legislation as Refugee Numbers Spike -

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Woman Killed in Syria Fighting for Terrorists, Syrian TV Claims (Video) -

Friday, May 31, 2013

CO2 in the Air Reached its Highest Level in Human History -

Friday, May 10, 2013

Terms of the New Abortion Bill Agreed by Irish Cabinet -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Boston In Lockdown As Manhunt Intensifies -

Friday, April 19, 2013

2 Dead, Dozens Injured After Boston Marathon Bombing -

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fast Food Workers in New York Stage Surprise Strike -

Saturday, April 6, 2013

N. Korean Rhetoric Provokes Missile Shield Deployment -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts from Meiktila Massacre -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sudan to Free All Political Prisoners -

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Free Press In Burma Juxtaposed With Genocide: The World Will Be Watching -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pressure Builds to End Ethnic Violence in Myanmar -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Activists Demand Action As Further Genocide Looms -

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cyprus Reaches Last-Minute Bailout Deal With EU -

Monday, March 25, 2013

Myanmar Muslims Brace for Possible Genocide -

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lessons In Steubenville

The events in Steubenville, Ohio, bring different stories to our minds; stories of young boys and girls who see each other with humanity and compassion. Stories of parents, teachers, and other adults who have guided many teenagers to a place where they know rape is wrong and where, when someone is doing something bad, you do not stand by and let it happen.

So why were the young men and women in Steubenville unable to act in a way that demonstrates even a modicum of compassion and respect for a fellow human being?  Two boys are convicted of the crime; numerous adults, young men and women indicted themselves through inaction, tweets and video as complicit in this heinous act.

What happened in Steubenville was the culmination of failure on many levels. The cultural collision of jock and rape culture created the perfect storm for this failure. My perspective is that the offenders are not ‘victims’ to be defended. But that they are, culturally and socially speaking, as much products of a corrupted adult system as members of an inner city gang.

Often, we do not see that offenders from the middle class, suburban environments might have negative impacts from their seemingly privileged existence. Yet, I’ve stood in the classroom, teaching health in middle & high school, and listened to the wide gap of knowledge from middle schoolers who have access to porn to freshmen who don’t know what ‘intercourse’ means. I’ve seen the misinformation, damaging information, and skewed (rape) cultural information that infects our youth.

I see the total failure of adults in Steubenville; from the perpetrators thinking their coach would get them off, to the young women who were vilifying and victimizing this young girl again, and the idiotic defense of ‘mental development’. The youth of Steubenville were failed when the adults’ hubris and buy-in to the sports culture of invincibility were allowed  to control the narrative of the community.

They are failed when we allow comprehensive health education, which should include DO NOT RAPE education as well as a healthy view for teens of their developing sexuality, to be demonized and replaced with the failed fantasy world of ‘abstinence only‘ education. They are failed when we allow ourselves to be mesmerized by technology, and begin to think that because they have grown up with it teens will know who to use it. We abdicate our role as guide, because we come to believe the narrative of our own digital illiteracy while our children are drowning in it.

There is no doubt, NO DOUBT, that a young woman was victimized and in the age of social media she has been and will continue to be victimized.  As Kim Lonsway (Director of Research at End Violence Against Women International) points out in this interview “…the rape goes on and on and on, as it lives on in the social media world.”  As well as the “compounded trauma of the bystanders” who did nothing to stop it. Yet if there is to be any healing for the victims in Steubenville, we will have to admit that failure.  

I still remember the day my son came home from fifth grade upset. He sobbed as he told me the reason: how the boys treated the girls…”they don’t even treat them like they are human!” I can think of a solution; let’s begin to teach our children to share their humanity, to stand up for what is right even when no one else in the room will, and to be human.

photo credit: Reuters via http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/steubenville-trial-defense/62967/

k.m.f. (9 Posts)

Juvenile justice advocate and educator currently managing a program in youth corrections for enrichment in the arts, life skills training, and transitions services for young men 16-24 years old for successful reintegration into community. Advocating for justice issues, including incorporating Restorative Justice Principles into our current system of crime and punishment, ending the school to prison pipeline, and addressing mandatory minimum sentences. Working to break down stereotype and stigma of juveniles with adult felonies returning to society. M.S.Ed Leadership in Ecology, Culture, and Learning with 20 years of experience in formal and informal education, services and advocacy for at-risk youth, victims of domestic violence and refugee resettlement. Writing from the multiple perspectives of environmental health educator, restorative justice practice, and former law enforcement officer. Trying to live as wide as she does long...