The Stuebenville verdict is still echoing through the chambers (guilty, jail, registered sex offenders, the whole nine yards) and amongst the general
assholery opinions the internet over is the one where it’s “kids today” and hell in a handbasket and not at all us failing our youth in teaching them a basic respect for fellow human beings. Obviously what Jane Doe endured on August 11th and in the wee hours of August 12th was extreme, not to mention cruel and unusual. And I’m glad that at least two of those involved in her attack will pay bitterly. But what’s most disturbing to me about the national reaction to Stuebenville is that we all seem so quick to separate ourselves from the community this happened in, the families this happened to, when I can’t help but think that in our age of oversharing, this is just the first time it happened so publicly.
I don’t know what you remember from High School, but for all the shock and awe and apparent loss of communal adult innocence this trial has brought to the forefront, I’m wondering if we don’t have a collective case of national amnesia, or if my teenage experience was just ahead of it’s time. Gird your loins for this walk down memory lane, because it’s not going to be a pleasant one. [Trigger alert.]
I grew up in Los Angeles in the 90s. And in a pre-social media late 90s Los Angeles, teenagers were…well, partying like it was 1999…because it was. LA isn’t small town Ohio and although my private Catholic High School had a state champion football team, the drama boys and the water polo players were just as likely to expose themselves to you in 3rd period or stick a finger in your underwear if heaven-forbid you were walking up the stairs ahead of them without spanky pants under your uniform skirt. And forget keeping your bra on throughout an entire school day. Front clasps or back, the boys in my class were masters of unhinging in a single over-the-shirt swipe.
Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t just the girls who were disrespected and casually violated. My freshman year of high school, several Jr. Varsity Football players were “initiated” by members of the Varsity team in a locker room attack that involved ramming broom handles up their asses. Rumors were everywhere, jokes were a-plenty, but no charges were ever pressed…no disciplinary action was taken. […continue reading…]