While people are horrified at the details of the assaults, which can be classified as rape, it is an all too common practice, once inappropriately called "hazing." And yet, this is different. The attack occurred with coaches nearby, some saying it happened so fast they didn't assume anything had happened. As coaches, you don't feel as if you have to babysit young athletes especially against their own team members, but this story goes to show that a coach must be watchful and put into practice prevention methods. And yet, they don't.
Whether no one believes "it" would ever happen here, in our town, by our boys, it does and time and time again we have been shown the gruesome photos, messages and stories. We can't plead naivety. Like ll of us, I hate to assume that stories like these will continue to happen in greater proportions, but it is. I was asked in a CNN interview after Steubenville if it will all get better now because of the "teaching moment." To Erin Burnett's surprise, I said no. No sooner had I said no than other situations of the same ilk appeared.
I hate to be negative. I would love to think it's always getting better. But, until parents go back to watching their children and knowing what their children do, and by whom they are influenced, it won't get better. Unless schools decide to bring in prevention measures such as NCAVA's Intercept, it won't get better. With the ridiculous messages being sent through our "entertainment," we can no longer afford to assume that our kids are the good guys. We can no longer assume that they need no alternative programming to undo that horrific rape supportive messages that are all over the media.
Porn parties are a high school staple among athletic teams and the stories of high school athletes raping girls who know no better except to not offend the athletes at the school lest she be a target are taking over the headlines. Yet schools only react. They wait until the situation strikes them, and like a deer in the headlights, decide to react and employ measures that should have been employed prior to the event. There is a reason Title IX lawsuits are sweeping the country. Sexual violence is a huge issue that schools cannot seem to get in front. Prevention measures go a long way to doing so. And for high schools, it's not difficult to bring parents in to those prevention presentations and help them identify problems they may see at home.
The silver lining is that while at Steubenville, the young rape victim was subjected to vilification, these boys are practicing with their soccer team and the other athletes have embraced them and condemned the attacks. They are being supported by their team and speaking out against the teammates who perpetrated the attack. That is true sportsmanship and what sports, in its pure form, is about. Supporting one another because it's the right thing to do, while calling out the wrong behavior and ensuring that the athletes modeling the behavior do not represent the team.