Serena Williams caused outrage a few weeks ago when she described the victim in the Steubenville rape case as ‘lucky,’ then went on to say ‘she shouldn’t have put herself in that position.’
Her comments have caused controversy because they imply that the victim was at fault for causing her rape.
I related to the Steubenville rape case, because I was that girl.
I drank to black out when I was 16. My drinking put me in dangerous situations; I was a vulnerable, drunk, girl-child.
The argument that usually comes up at this point, is that we have to take ‘responsibility’ for our actions. If we make the ‘choice’ to put ourselves in dangerous situations, then we have to take some responsibility for the outcome.
Because it perpetuates the belief that male sexuality is basically uncontrollable. That men are like wild beasts and if you add booze and a drunk girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing, then they cannot be held responsible for their actions. That it’s not really their fault, they just couldn’t help themselves.
If you think Serena was right, then this is what you are implying.
I’ll give you a minute to digest that one.
I also want to challenge the other ‘myth’ around ‘choices and responsibility’ when someone is drinking abusively.
When someone drinks recklessly, abusively or alcoholically they are not exercising a ‘choice’ to do so. What they are actually doing is using a substance to manage or anesthetize their feelings. They are using alcohol, because they simply cannot bear how they feel a moment longer and need something to take the pain away.
They are driven by need not choice.
It was need that drove them to drink the first drink, then the second, then the third, then the fourth… Emotional pain is no different to physical pain; it demands your attention and treatment.
Emotional pain is so consuming that all your mind will focus on is relief.
Therefore, how we behave, what we do, is always a reflection of how we really feel. Believe it or not every action you take is dictated by your feelings.
Look around at the people you know and you will see it is true. People may say they’re ‘ok,’ but how they act will reveal the truth.
I can only guess from looking at this girl-child’s behaviour, that her need to drink beyond the point of feeling anything, may have had something to do with how she felt. Like me, maybe she already felt uncomfortable in her own skin, maybe she didn’t like herself much. Maybe she felt like she didn’t ‘fit in,’ maybe drink made that feel better.
Maybe that was all that mattered.
Now, she not only has to deal with the rape, she has to deal with the absurd opinions of Serena Williams who is perpetuating the myth that her choices led to her rape.
Why are we not discussing the choices those boys made?
I mean seriously, what were those boys thinking?
Did they go to that party hoping to get laid, to ‘hook up?’
Or, did they go with the intention of finding a drunk girl, who was incapable of defending herself or saying no.
Or did they just notice her and think, ‘it would be kinda fun to stick something up her vagina, she’ll never know.’
Did they think, ‘it would be cool to get her breasts out and fondle them.’
How did they convince themselves that what they did was acceptable?
Was it because their culture views drunk girls differently?
With drunk girls, all bets are off, they don’t care, their feelings don’t matter?
These boys had a complete lack of empathy. They didn’t view her as a person, they viewed her as an object, a drunk object they could play with.
These boys were held up as heroes in their society, star football players on the path to a good college degree.
The kind of boys that you would want to date your daughter.
The injustice from this case is that those footballers and the town that supported them, still believe they are only partly responsible for the circumstances. They still believe the myth, that she had a part, in her own rape.
I’ll give you a minute to think about how ridiculous that is.
As long as we continue to buy into this rubbish, we will continue to foster an environment where drunk women are judged in this way.
That drunk women are choosing to drink destructively.
There are far too many girl-children out there right now, who never learnt how to manage their emotional lives, because no one ever told them their feelings matter. They are hurting and they are struggling and they are looking round for role-models, someone to look up to.
And Serena Williams just slapped them in the face.