Warning: This is a rant and is sure to contain foul language and strong opinions. Also, I changed the names to protect some young people’s privacy.
My fourteen year old daughter, who is an eighth grader got in the car today after school and immediate informed me “There is major drama going on in the school today.”
Assuming she meant typical teenager stuff I got ready to half listen. No offense to her but sometimes hearing about who is dating who, which friends got in a fight, and who she’s mad at aren’t really the funnest things to talk about. I do however like that she Does talk to me so I got prepared.
“There’s a girl names Kate who…”
As her story unfolded I went through many emotions and I want to apologize now for anything offensive or irrational that I say from this point on. She explained that Kate had a bunch of friends, male and female, over recently and they all stayed really late. Kate fell asleep on the floor in her living room and everyone left. A few minutes later one of the boys, Jacob, came back to get his phone charger.
The story gets a little hazy here. Something happened. Exactly what is not clear. What is known is Kate was asleep. Jacob touched her. She didn’t respond. He left. Later he sent a text to her apologizing for touching her. Today at school he told one of his friends what he had done. The friend got really angry and told everyone he knew. When people asked Kate what happened she said “I don’t know, ask Jacob.” When they asked Jacob, he didn’t really say anything.
The “drama” is that half the school is on Kate’s side and the other is on Jacobs. Some say that there is no way Kate wouldn’t have woken up and if she woke up and didn’t want it, she could have stopped him.
My daughter seemed confused so I laid it out for her. If Kate was asleep and this kid was putting his hand up her shorts to touch her, that is sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if she woke up. The fact is, no matter how this girl responded to it, the guy knew she was asleep when he started this, that’s rape. If you’re asleep, you can’t say yes or no, so the no should be assumed.
If she felt it why wouldn’t she have stopped him? What the hell was she supposed to do? She was deep asleep when this happened. She might have thought she was dreaming, she might have been scared, probably confused.
My daughter says the ‘whole school’ doesn’t understand why she won’t talk about it. WHAT? First of off the ‘whole school’ can piss off. No one gets to tell Kate how she should be reacting. She could be embarrassed, hurt, terrified, confused, angry, any number of things and it’s not for anyone else to assign a feeling or attitude to her. She may not be handling it well, but SHE’S the one that has to deal with it.
This all became such a big deal today that someone finally told a teacher and my kid told me she saw Kate and her mother going into the school (a few minutes before I got there), and the mom looked really angry.
For clarity, Jacob has basically admitted to doing this on Twitter of all places, repeatedly. He’s gone on and on about how he thinks a devil is in him and how everyone makes mistakes and people should stop judging him. He’s bitched about all his friends deserting him and he’s threatened suicide. Now I don’t want this kid to kill himself but the little bastard needs to stop acting like he’s the victim.
I spent the entire car ride home explaining what sexual assault is. I told my daughter that just because Jacob stopped, that doesn’t mean an assault didn’t happen. Just because he now feels bad doesn’t mean it’s okay. Just because he lost all his friends doesn’t mean anyone should feel sorry for him. Just because he Twitter threatened suicide doesn’t mean Kate wasn’t violated. Just because some of the kids on the school don’t think it’s a big deal doesn’t mean they are right.
I’m pretty sure that my daughter felt sorry for Jacob, at least a little until the Twitter thing. That’s part of what’s got me so worked up. Obviously I’m concerned about the girl and I’m glad it wasn’t worse but for me personally, this is a huge thing I need to make my kid understand. She seemed to think it was just drama and a crazy situation. She didn’t take it as seriously as she should have. By the end of our drive she asked me if the boy could end up going to jail. It’s scary as hell to know that serious consequences never occurred to her. That this is a big deal, beyond school drama, never crossed her mind. I guess she didn’t truly believe the guy did something so bad. What if she was the one asleep on the floor? Would she have just let him do what he wanted because she didn’t know how to handle it? I guarantee you after our talk she knows what to do!
Now for anyone that wants to jump on my case, I know there is at least some small chance that Kate isn’t telling the whole truth. I advised my kid to reserve judgement until she knew the facts. I believed that was the best course of action until I saw Jacobs Twitter account, and his admissions.
All parents need to sit down with their kids and have a frank conversation about sex, sexual assault, sexual harassment, boundaries, limits, and what to do if they find themselves in a bad situation. Maybe don’t use as many curse words as I think I did in our talk.
I apologize again for the language, but not for the opinions.