A Letter to the Victim in Steubenville

From Joanie:

This is a humor blog, but the recent backlash over the ruling that two teenage boys were indeed guilty (delinquent) of rape has made me want to post something a bit different.


To the girl, the victim in all this,

You are not to blame. YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. Whatever the internet says, whatever your schoolmates, your “friends” say, this is not your fault. “Drunk”is not an excuse. It’s not an excuse from a legal standpoint, nor is it morally excusable.

You will be dealing with this for years. Emotionally, physically. It will suck. But it will get better. Seek help, from your parents, from counselors, from church. I am praying for you. And so are many of the people I love.

When I went to college (in West Virginia, incidentally), I had the great fortune to become a brother in Phi Sigma Pi, a co-ed national honors fraternity. When I was in college, I got that drunk at a party–stupid, unconscious drunk. I was underage, too. But I was luckier than you– I had someone take care of me, drive me home, and make sure I didn’t die. It was one of my fraternity brothers, someone who has remained one of the most important people in my life. I wish you had had someone to take care of you like someone took care of me.

Alas, if wishes were horses.

You can’t change your circumstances, but you can move beyond it. Weep, rest, seek the counseling that you need.

One day, you’ll get up in the morning, and this will be a distant thing that happened. You’ll remember it, but the pain will be duller, and the other things in your life, the wonderful things, will be so much greater, you don’t have room to dwell on this.

In the meantime, when you go to college, check out Phi Sigma Pi. And even more importantly, never forget:

This was not your fault.

Joanie

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