We’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not there yet.

Since 1993, the number of sexual assaults have declined by more than 60% (RAINN.org). Underage drinking rates have declined since 2000 by about 11% (Cesar.umd.edu). But as daily local, national, and international news reports show, these concerns have not been extinguished.

This doesn’t have to be our culture.

243,800 sexual assaults in 2011. 50% of sexual assaults involve alcohol.It made big controversies on the evening news, on social media, and around dinner tables: the rape of the 16-year-old girl in Ohio.

From the Associated Press,

“Two members of Steubenville’s celebrated high school football team were found guilty Sunday of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl…

…Three other boys, two of them on the football team, saw something happening that night and didn’t try to stop it but instead recorded it with their cell phones. Granted immunity to testify, they confirmed the girl was assaulted and said she was so drunk she didn’t seem to know what was happening.” (Ap.org)

This tragic event could have happened anywhere, even in our corner of Iowa.
Helping Services’ staff responded:

“My youngest son actually told me about this situation after he had read about it on social media. It is very sad. He said he could see it playing out the same way here.”

“I really hope this can be a wake-up call for society to see all the victim-blaming that goes on.”

“The teens involved were drinking, not being supervised, and had profane and degrading text messages on their phones. Steubenville hits home for me because it exposes something in our youth that is so much more common than many people see.”

The topic for this newsletter, Sexual Assault and Underage Drinking, was chosen a few months before the Ohio case made national headlines. The reality in Ohio is reality here. Our need for a culture change is dire.

We can stop feeding a culture that blames the victim and dangerously accepts underage drinking. We can go one step more and prevent these wrongs from even happening.

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