Tuesday, March 19, 2013

To help those…

In December, a friend of mine who lives in the heart of Denver, woke up in the middle of the night.  He just so happened to look out his window and see a woman fumbling and falling her way down the street, obviously drunk.  And obviously not dressed for the weather conditions outside.

So he and his wife got dressed, and went looking for the woman he’d seen.  They found her passed out in a snow drift.  They got her up, they got her warm, and then they got her home.

We help those that can’t help themselves.

One day. an assistant coach walked in on a compromising situation in the men’s locker room at Penn State.  Never mind that the adult was an established and well thought of coach, never mind that it was obviously a child unable to speak for himself.  The assistant coach walked out as quickly as he walked in.  Without doing a thing.

We help those that can’t help themselves.

In August, a 16-year-old girl attended a party with some friends and drunk herself into a stupor.  Unconscious, she was violated repeatedly by classmates.  And I’m not just referring to the perpetrators themselves.  I’m talking about every teenager that stood there and let it happen.  I’m talking about every teenage boy and girl that received those images on their phones and did nothing.

We help those that can’t help themselves.

Three different situations.  Three different responses.  Only one of them was the correct response. 

I am enraged.  It’s the rage of a mother who has three girls.  It’s the rage of a mother who has a son.  It’s the rage of a woman who is tired of a culture that constantly perpetuates the idea that a person’s worth ends, where the athlete’s ability or athletic program begins.  That the talent of an athlete or prestige of a program outweighs the worth of a person.  I am tired of it.

At what point is apathy no longer an excuse?  At what point, do we stop standing in horrified silence and finally do something to stop the cycle of protecting the perpetrators and attacking the victim?  When do we, as a culture, scream that enough is enough?  That NO athlete is above the law, that no sports program is so prestigious that we’ll just look the other way and pretend nothing happened. 

I have the difficult job of raising a son in a sex-obsessed culture, where looking is encouraged and the idea that if a girl dresses provocatively, then she must be asking for it.  I have the job of teaching my son to respect women, no matter the circumstances.  And let me tell you what I would have expected of my son had he been at that party… My expectation is that he would have grabbed a blanket and covered the unconscious girl.  I would have expected him to call her parents, and then stand guard over her until her parents had arrived. 

We help those that can’t help themselves.

I have no words.  None.  I have no way of grasping the idea that an entire school (if not town) turned a blind eye to the victimization of a teenage girl.  And yes, the actual acts themselves, but also the victimization that happened each time a photo or video was shared.  I can’t comprehend how a news network had the nerve to bemoan the future of these “promising young athletes” when a guilty verdict was handed down.  Never mind that a child’s (and yes, 16 years old is still a child) life was completely altered in one night!

How do I reconcile a culture that goes completely against what I’m trying to instill in my own children?  I can tell you that I will continue to work on their hearts, their character, and their integrity, hoping that should a moment ever present itself, they will step up and do the right thing.  And should my children ever find themselves in the victim role, I pray that another mother, somewhere, instilled the same values and integrity in her child and that they will step up to protect mine.

Its time, fellow mothers, to say enough is enough.  Its time to start holding people accountable… from the coaches who say we win at any cost… to the fellow teammates, classmates, and peers that turn a blind eye… to the perpetrators themselves.  Its time to stand up and let them know we won’t sacrifice our children any longer at the hands of those that have perverse ideas of what is right and wrong.

Its time that we start teaching our children to help those that can’t help themselves… that is the correct definition of right and wrong.  Every time.


J. Johnson said...

While I don't normally say this, the first thought that came to my mind when I read this is, "Amen, sister!"

Mandy Rose said...

Holy cow, just read the above comment as I typed "Amen, sister!" Haha! I agree completely Jenn! What is this world coming to!!!

Timsha Coleman said...

I couldn't agree more!! Great post!

Erica @Always a Sooner Girl said...

I agree 100%, I do not have any children yet but I teach my nieces to treat people with the way they would like to be treated.Which means if they saw that happen to someone they need to help them, and what would you like for someone to do if that was them.You wrote this perfectly.

Britt @ The Adventures of Josh and Britt said...

I wholeheartedly agree with everything in this post. Sometimes I look at the things going on in the world, then at my sweet boy and it truly scares me. What ever happened to "the golden rule"?! Amazing post!

Brigitte said...

Yes!!!! Yes, yes, yes. We are equals, and should expect everyone to treat each other justly, and by the golden rule! I will always teach my children this, and pray others will do the same.

Ashley from The Kitchen-Sink Chronicles said...

My generation is for the most part spoiled brats who were raised to think someone else will help or be held accountable. My generation has a "pass the buck" mentality. I'm very ashamed of my generation as a whole... sadly. :(

Lauren said...

This is SO good. So very good!!!!!!!

Natalie said...

This mentality that BOYS WILL BE BOYS is killing our society. Between people turning a blind eye to bad behavior and no one accepting responsibility, I'm so angry.

Not only do I want my sons to treat women with respect and dignity, I hope they would be the type of person who wouldn't sit idly by and allow a girl to be a victim.

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