For those not following along, there has been a lot of commotion around the quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ever since his rookie year he seems to have gotten himself into trouble with women, between rumors of misconduct and outright allegations of criminal activity, i.e. rape and sexual assault.
(Editing note: I have intentionally left out links to news reports and other websites. If you want to find out more, Google it. The reports made me sick to my stomach, not to mention the comments and replies from the general public, and I would not intentionally impose that on anyone.)
Listen up here ladies and gentlemen, this is not a joke. This is not funny, it is not a bit for a comedy sketch and it is not a reason to pat each other on the backs. RAPE never is.
I will be the first to admit that initially, like most of us fans, I was somewhat skeptical. Celebrities will always be plagued with allegations and their fame skews the facts. But I can honestly say there was never a time when I didn’t feel he must be somewhat of a jerk (I could use a stronger term here, but won’t at this time) when it came to women, and that if he had his head on straight, he would steer clear of these situations altogether.
And look at that. He does not have his head on straight. The most recent incident speaks volumes about his character and his inability to conduct himself, not only in a manner worthy of the Steelers organization but worthy of a HUMAN BEING. It disgusts me to think that in this day and age, in our society, that men still carry on this way and are actually deluded enough to think they can sweep these “indisgretions” under the rug. Are you serious? (See I’m so mad I just spelled incorrectly!)
The police reports are damning. Before this incident it was all a “he said – she said” circus. This time, not so much, and the truth has caught up to him. It’s disgraceful and pathetic. And if you are someone who is now rationalizing in your head on his behalf, you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about because there is no way around this fact: he raped a woman. End of story. Not only did she say no, she said no repeatedly. Not only did she try to get away, all her friends tried to stop it and were blocked from helping by bodyguards (who also should be ashamed of themselves to say the least). She also IMMEDIATELY reported it and tried to get help, only to be met with ridicule, skepticism and power trips.
You can say, oh she was drunk or oh she was teasing him all night or whatever excuses you want. It so does not matter in any way shape or form. And if you disagree with that, you don’t have your head on straight either and I have nothing more to say to you.
Now I will always give the benefit of the doubt, at a very very small fraction of a degree, when women come back a day or several days later with accusations. That could be “buyers remorse” and/or part of a scheme, conscious or subconscious. But that isn’t really the point. There are a hundred and one reasons why a woman isn’t sure what to do afterwards – whether it’s the fact that her life will be turned upside down and never be the same again (like that isn’t reason enough) or that there is some risk to family or loved ones. Or for the simple reason that she isn’t really even sure what happened.
The influence of alcohol and drugs are of course a factor in that last reason. A woman may feel it was her fault because she let herself get drunk. She may feel that she wasn’t capable of saying no and that even if she did, she may not have meant it really. These thoughts though generally come from … guess where… the men. Men who say, well she said she wanted it earlier. Or she was into it all night and “suddenly” changed her mind. Well guess what? She has the right to do that. So do you. And if you are any kind of man at all with any kind of integrity and honor, you would know that you NEVER should (1) “have to” convince someone to have sex with you and (2) convince someone to have sex with you who happens to be DRUNK.
And then there are those people whose reactions to all this fall in the category of “well she shouldn’t have gotten herself into that situation” and “what did she think would happen.” To you, I say, oh really? I suppose she *should* have guessed that a star quarterback superbowl champion is going to have no self control and will force her to have sex in a bathroom while her friends outside are terrified by big scary bodyguards keeping them away. And yes, she probably should have been aware that there are men who cant take no for an answer and lack the decency to respect her wishes, albeit drunken wishes. Sure, she should have avoided that and been careful to not be alone with a man who has everything to lose if convicted of a crime. That should all have been thought through for a night on the town wth the girls.
I just hope you never find yourself in a situation where you feel overpowered and unprepared. I hope you never are faced with any physical danger and have no resort or ability to fight back. May you never have the feeling like someone has ripped your stomach out through your throat and the general sense of terror and panic that this is actually happening to you and not even being 100% certain you *want* to live to tell the tale. And I hope you never do have to go through the mental exercise of deciding if you can live more with the fear and complete lack of confidence for years to come or with the public humility and scrutiny that an investigation is sure to bring. But just for the record, if these things ever do happen to you, you could never question what happens to a rape victim ever again.
All that said, I also do believe in Grace and Mercy in the end, and that a man *could* have made a sincere mistake and due to factors such as drunkenness could have done something that is not usually characteristic of him. We all have done things that we are not proud of and have had moments of extreme weakness or complete idiocy as the case may be.
However, if a pattern emerges and a general attitude of arrogance and disrespect seems to rise to the surface, I would say this man deserves whatever he gets and hopefully the full extent of the law, not to mention social disgrace. What tends to happen in these situations though sickens me, where the victims often feel the disgrace and become victimized all over again, feeling like they made a mistake by (1) telling people about it and (2) not feeling “privileged” or special that it happened at all. Comments like lots of girls would line up to have sex with him is a telltale sign of how messed up our society is about sex and rape. The point is that he didn’t go with one of them – he went after the one who said no. And that is a kind of psychopath we cannot afford to ignore.
I could write pages more. And I have in the past. If you’ve read any of my own sexual history, you know that this is a very significant topic for me and sets me off on a tirade like few other topics do. (Followed closely with whenever Christian “leaders” spout off about heathens, and conversely whenever nonchristians lump us all together – well whenever anyone lumps anyone else together, you know like how all men are pigs… that kind of thing.) I get angry at the ignorance of people and at the injustice of rape cases and the sexual politics that go on. Our country has moved in the general direction of good practice but we still have so much further to go.
I pray for this woman, whoever she is, that she will get the help she needs and that this incident will affect her future in the most minimal negative way possible. Because it *will* affect her for the rest of her life. And there is nothing the law or Roethlisberger himself can do to change that. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try for the rest of his life too.