This past week, a promising student from Stanford University, Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman on campus. This is a horrendous act and he should have been punished for more than the six months he was given.
With that said, I’m going to take a different spin on this story. I will be preemptive and tell you now. I AM NOT PLACING BLAME ON THE VICTIM. She is NOT to blame here. I cannot even imagine what she is going through. From originally not knowing what happened, to the media shit storm that this became and everyone voicing their opinion on the punishment.
My story here is about how we are allowing our children to grow up. Where they go to college and feel in order to fit in, they have to get drunk with the other students at parties. They are getting so drunk, THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THE NEXT MORNING. They get so drunk, that they pass out, unconscious and have to hope that no one will take advantage of them. They get so drunk, that they have no inhibitions and have a sense of entitlement to what they feel they can do with no consequences. Why is it necessary to get that drunk and put yourself in the position of not only as a victim, but, as a potential suspect?
I am not blaming the victim for being attacked. If you read it that way, read it again.
I am by no means, a teetotaler. I enjoy my drink as much as the next person. Do I get tipsy? Absolutely. Do I get a buzz? Absolutely. Do I get drunk to the point of not knowing what I am doing? Absolutely…. NOT. I had one incident when I first starting dating a guy. I had two bottles of Mikes Hard Lemonade. While I am a lightweight with alcohol, no way would two bottles have made me pass out in his car on the way home. But, I did. I’m convinced that someone slipped something into my drink. No, it wasn’t the guy I was dating. I knew him, trusted him, and he tucked me into bed, set my alarm for my class the next morning and let himself out. Sure, he teased me the next day about me offering to give him my key after two dates, and while it took me almost a month to remember everything that happened that night, I knew that first morning that he didn’t do anything to me. From then on, I’ve kept my thumb over the opening of the drink when I’m dancing.
But, I digress. My question remains the same. Why do college students feel the need to get so drunk, that they have no idea what happened. They may never remember what happened. I am 100% sure that what happened with Brock and his victim has happened many times over to many students across the world. But, those girls, or, yes, even boys, didn’t have someone riding by on their bikes to stop the assault. Yes, it is still consider it assault. Regardless of how intoxicated you are, you are STILL responsible for your actions.
This has been happening with every generation of college students. But, in the last 20 or so years, it has gotten worse. There are more and more cases like this occurring. Why? Why do these students, who are so intelligent when they are sober, become total idiots when they go to a party?
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that these kids are not prepared for college. They have a sense of freedom for the first time in 18 years that they let loose. Obviously it’s not all kids who act like this, but, you go to these parties, you are going to get the same type of person. You have the jocks who ruled the school in high school and their parents let them get away with things because they got good grades while maintaining their athletic activities. You have the homecoming queen who ruled and every girl looked up to her for their style inspiration. You have the students who hung out with these groups because it was their claim to fame to say they were in those circles. You have the students who did drugs and drank in high school.
Am I saying these kids failed because of who they were in high school? No, I’m saying the adults failed them because they allowed the students to act and feel like this. It is the parents that these kids live with, and the high school teachers and administrators, who see them each and every day for 180 days of the school year, responsibility. They are so concerned that these kids do well in school, which is great and that should be a priority, that they aren’t looking deeper. They aren’t looking at the actions of these students that show how they are outside of school.
These students need to be taught real life issues. Not just academia. They need to be taught and counselled on what can happen if they don’t keep their head straight. I’m not saying that they need to be taught that alcohol is dangerous and should never cross their lips. That’s insane and will never happen. They need to be shown what happens to people who drink too much. They need to be shown that they can have a GREAT time without getting shitfaced and lose every bit of common sense they were raised with. They can have a great time just being tipsy or having a little buzz. Where’s the fun if you can’t even remember it the next day?
If they want to get flat out drunk, to forget their troubles for a night? Then they need to be taught it’s ok to have a friend who they trust with their life to be there with them. I was that friend. I was always the designated driver. I’ve watched friends backs more times than I can count and I’m happy to do it. I have my friends that I trust with my life and they’ve taken care of me when I’ve had way too much to drink.
If it ever comes down to my daughter getting that drunk? She knows the first person to call is her father or I. She knows we would never judge her. We’ve been there, done that. But, I also trust that she would very rarely get to that point. I’ve had her read these stories. I’ve told her that I’m not showing her these to scare her from drinking because that would be unrealistic. I’m showing her these stories to scare her from getting so drunk that she has no idea what’s happening and ends up raped, or worse.
So, over 1100 words later, what am I proposing? I’m proposing that the schools make time to have real life classes to help our kids understand not only the dangers, but, the good parts of life after school. I’m proposing that parents get their heads out of the sand and show their children that there is going to be more to life after high school. That their cliques now? Are only temporary. They aren’t going to rule the college by walking across campus. College students aren’t going to care that they were the Homecoming Queen. They aren’t going to care that they were the Quarterback.
Because, what is college? College is just a bigger high school, with about fifty times more students and standing out is going to be a lot harder to do. I mean honestly, who wants to be remembered as that student who was arrested because they were stupid enough to get so drunk, they assaulted someone, or as the one who was assaulted? I wouldn’t think any student would want THAT claim to fame.