Steubenville Trial Sheds Spotlight on Underage Drinking & How Parents Need to Take Control

Every parent has an obligation to teach their teen about the Steubenville rape trial. Boys need to be taught that this kind of behavior -- which they might think of as a joke or not serious -- is, in fact, sexual assault and a criminal offense that could ruin their lives and the life of their victim(s). It's not enough that parents raise their boys to "respect women" -- although that's certainly a good foundation.

But get a bunch of teen boys together, add peer pressure, adolescent hormones, and plenty of alcohol, and suddenly the precious little boy you think you raised so well may not be so well-behaved after all. But parents of teen girls have an obligation too. And I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, since there seems to be a backlash against saying this type of thing for some reason, but teen girls need to be warned of the dangers of consuming too much alcohol.

I am NOT saying that a girl who consumes alcohol to the point of passing out is fair game or anything of the sort. What I am saying is that teens may simply have no idea the effect alcohol consumption can have. I know I didn't!

At 16, I was invited to the house of a boy I went to school with. His parents were not home yet from work. It was me, and about five other boys and five other girls. The host boy got out a bottle of vodka and passed around shot glasses.

I had absolutely no idea what kind of punch of a little shot glass could have. The teen boy poured round after round of vodka into our shot glasses, I downed shot after shot, thinking, These tiny little glasses are nothing. I probably downed about five or six shots, and the vodka didn't taste like anything, and I had zero idea that such little glasses could get you drunk. I thought maybe I'd get a little "buzzed" at most.

I was massively wrong. About 20 minutes later, the booze hit me. I slumped to the floor nearly unconscious. Then one of the teen boys got on top of me, straddling me and holding down my arms and legs. I couldn't fight him. I could barely speak. I glanced around the room and realized all of the boys were on top all of the girls -- and all of the girls were in the same boat I was. I heard some of the girls moaning and saw them weakly and unsuccessfully trying to get away.

I have no idea how I managed to escape. But the next thing I knew, I was running out the back door and through the woods. I found my way to the office where I had an after school job and called my mom (no cell phones back then), who came and picked me up. As I lay in the back of the car, groaning and moaning, I merely told her I was "sick."

Since then, I've always wondered what happened to the girls that day. Did they manage to escape too? Were they raped? The next day at school, the girls were acting normally, so I pushed it out of my mind and never questioned them, especially since I didn't know them very well. At 16, I wasn't taught about sexual assault. I just knew that something bad was going to happen and I wanted to get away from that house and those boys. It never occurred to me to report the incident.

I'm haunted by what may have happened, but reluctant to track down the women and inquire went on that day. If they were raped, would that mean that I could have prevented it if I'd called the police? Would they hold that against me? Would they even remember that day?

After that incident, I didn't need a parent to tell me that drinking too much was a bad idea. At every party I attended for the rest of senior year, I didn't drink. Which made me a very popular ride home.

But I'm glad I didn't learn that lesson the Steubenville way. I know how I was as a teen -- I know that if I'd been warned that even a little booze could put me in a dangerous situation, I would have listened. Not all kids would, but I would have. Parents, talk to your kids. Before it's too late.

Do you talk to your kids about alcohol and sexual assault?

Image via YouTube

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Todd Vrancic

There are reports that her drink was spiked.  How could she have protected herself then?

lulou lulou

I was raised around alcohol as a kid.  Maybe more like PBR at BBQs and hung out at the tavern on camping trips, and by even 13, while not personally then,  knew its effects.  It suprises me at 16 you couldnt taste vodka, while Ive never had any vodka better than say Absolut, even during my times of binge drinking decade cant say Id done a shot of vodka without tasting it. While I could see this if a drink was drugged, cheap booze teens would have Id think would have an even worse bite.  Anyway, maybe my early exposure helped.  But will keep going with the smart choices talk to them at all ages on all subjects.

IKnow... IKnow0101

At an early age I was first taught never to share and food/ drink with anyone and as I got older never to leave a drink unattended.  I think that is a lesson that should be taught to all not just a teenage girl.  I never drank as a teenager and only drink wine maybe twice a year because I saw the effects it had on my friends in high school.  Lessons that should be taught is to never go anywhere and drink so much that you become impaired, never become physically involved with anyone who you even suspect is drunk, and speak up if you see a situation that is spiralling out of control.  No one wants to be the snitch or be considered uncool, but if one person intervened that night then two young men wouldn't be going to jail for the rape of a young girl and several more may have their lives changed with possible charges.

I still want to know how they had access to so much alcohol, who house were they in, and didn't anyone notice that their children didn't come home that night.

nonmember avatar jasi

you're right to be concerned about the girls at the party because almost certainly they were abused. but you should also wonder about the boys. did they go on to drug and rape more girls? at no time in your life you felt any sort of courage to follow up? what if you could be helpful in a trial to put these boys (possibly repeat offenders) away and save other girls. i'm glad you decided to be safe watch how you consume but honestly, i hope my daughter never, ever has a friend like you.

mommy... mommytojack0524

I have a son, and I will most certainly teach him about the far-reaching consequences that alcohol and abusing women can have.  I will also teach him to not put himself in situations like this. That would have saved that poor girl. If you're not at a party like this, no one can spike your drink. She didn't deserve any of the abuse she got.

slwinner slwinner

I live in Ohio and followed this trial closely. I have 16 year old daughter in high school. I have seen this behavior first hand. Girls who get too drunk are fair game and star athletes get a pass on being held accountable for their horrible and illegal behavior. I asked my daughter what she thought about the trial and she said the girl was stupid for leaving a party with 4 boys. That being said she agreed this girl did not deserve any of the abuse put upon her. When I told her the boys were convicted her response was goooood!!  I asked her if she heard about this kind of thing going on in her school would she tell someone. Her answer was no, that would be social suicide. That broke my heart. Social status is more important to her than preventing a crime! And it is for most teens. We all have to work to change that. I am embarassed to admit that was her repsonse as we have talked openly about drinking, sex, parties, boys etc...  and she still doesn't get it. I have work to do. We all do.

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