Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yes Does Not Always Mean Yes: Teaching Our Kids about Drinking and Sex

***trigger warning: rape, sexual abuse, bullying***

Brace yourself.  The whiz reporting makes this story read like one of the best true-crime novels, it's so good.  But you might need to visit your doctor to up the dose of your anti-anxiety meds, it's so horrible.  Stories that make one physically ill to read them are the best!  Or is it just me?

In all seriousness, how has this story of underage drinking and alleged-rape and small-town politics not gone viral?  I just became aware of it this morning when my friend shared a link to the story by Dugan Arnett, "Nightmare in Maryville: Teens’ Sexual Encounter Ignites a Firestorm against Family" from the October 12, 2013 edition of The Kansas City Star.  You can read it here.

A couple of young girls got drunk, snuck out of the house, met some boys, allegedly got raped, got dumped back home (one of them outside in 30 degree temperatures), told their moms, alerted the authorities, hired lawyers, and went through the whole legal process of pressing charges against their alleged-rapists.  But then, seemingly because of small-town politics, the charges were dropped.  Read the story to find out what happens to the girls.  It's absolutely heartbreaking.

The part of the article that, to me, seems like a clear-cut case for pressing charges against Barnett is this:

"Barnett was not charged with statutory rape, as that Missouri law generally applies in cases when a victim is under 14 years old or the perpetrator is over 21. But felony statutes also define sex as non-consensual when the victim is incapacitated by alcohol.  Hospital tests around 9 a.m., roughly seven hours after her last imbibing, showed Daisy’s blood alcohol content still at 0.13."

A fourteen year old girl and a seventeen year old boy.

Parents, pay attention.  We must speak to our children about consent.  When we talk to our children about sex, we must emphasize that it is not just uncool but unlawful to have sex with a drunk person.  Children get confused.  They need our guidance.  Basically all of teenagerhood is a battle between your hormones telling you one thing and your morality telling you another.  No matter how much we instruct our kids to not drink, to not have sex, they are most likely going to do it.  I did.  Didn't you?  So let's be honest with them.  Let's educate them that if they are going to drink they not drive, and they certainly not leave drunk girls outside in 30 degree temperatures.  Let's educate them that if they are going to have sex they always make sure their date is coherent.  Yes does not mean yes when the person saying it is slurring the words.

If you're a tough, pro-girl advocate, please share this story.  To raise awareness.  To get these girls and their families the help they need and the justice they deserve.