I cannot remember the last time I ever felt the need to expound on a situation as much as I have regarding this recent rape case in Steubenville. I apologize for the length of this and appreciate any of you who read the whole thing; it's a need to vent.
Recently, the purported events surrounding an inhumane attack against a 16- year-old girl via a group of her peers has moved many to come forth and vocalize their disgust for such acts. As a result, protests have taken place and a candlelight vigil is to be held in memory of rape victims. As a lifelong Ohio Valley resident, this incident brings to light the culture of the entire Upper Ohio Valley Region - not just Steubenville. Many persons have either written or verbally protested against Steubenville High School's administrators, coaches, football team, board of education members, city officials, county officials, and the lack of what seemingly is objective reporting by local news media.
The sad fact is that this is something that could have happened anywhere. Whether we like it or not, our area, the Wheeling-Steubenville-Weirton area, is synonymous with the "good ole boy" and "mob/Mafia" cronyism which clearly defines the history of the Upper Ohio Valley throughout the entire 20th century. It still exists and it will always exist. The part that is the most disparaging is the lack of morality in today's version of it.
In years past, the "good ole boys" would not have tolerated despicable behavior such as this - even from within their own. The appearance of how this case has been handled - sweep it under the rug - turn the other cheek - protect the perpetrators - is what has outraged the entire surrounding community. If indeed it is found that persons of power and sworn civic duty knowingly helped to cover-up this atrocity, then those individuals need removed from their position of office.
The second and perhaps even more saddening fact is that the entire incident is indicative of modern social mores. Quite frankly, many of today's youth have zero social mores. There are no values. They do not value each other as humans, they do not value their future, they do not value their families, they do not value their upbringing, they do not value laws and authority figures.
We've allowed it to happen. We work on Sundays, we no longer attend church or social gatherings as families, we watch and glorify the "party life" seen on television. We promote material belongings and possessions as symbols of success to our youth. Seriously, why on earth would a 12-year-old need to own an iPhone5 or have unlimited access to the Internet? Why would a group of teens, who excelled athletically, need to drive around partying and drinking like Charlie Sheen out on a bender? Nothing good can come of it, and clearly nothing good has, as is seen in this case.
Young lives ruined. The girl who is the victim, the boys who perpetrated the crime, the peers who stood by and watched, the boy who reveled in sick humor scoffing at even his own unborn children they are all forever marked by this one night. The community will never forget. Persons of respected social standing are now fallen from their pedestal. And we ask - why? Pray, meditate, wish, appeal, beseech, commune, invoke, petition, solicit - do whatever it is that you do to urge others to seek justice for those who cannot defend themselves.
I was always taught to do unto others as I would have done unto me, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, and to never idly stand by and watch someone be hurt by another. Do we no longer teach those ideals to our youth? God be with the victim and God be with us all.
LesLee D. Terek