Monday, March 25, 2013

Stop Growing Boys into Monsters

by Anita Sullivan

A case in Ohio has recently shaken a town to its core, after the guilty verdicts of two high school football players for rape and for spreading nude photos of the underage victim.

But it obviously hasn’t been shaken enough.

Throughout the trial and evidence presented, it was very clear that these boys were not taught right from wrong at the most basic human level. Up until their arrests they truly believed that they were untouchable, and they came very close to being right. The school, town, and even their parents, allowed and encouraged behaviors that could have no positive outcomes. Until the end, those involved seem to believe that the mistake was in being caught, not in the terrible acts themselves.

Sadly, that alone doesn’t shock me.

What does surprise and sadden me is the arrest of two girls for making public threats to the victim, after the verdict.

After everything that came to light, there is still not as much outrage at the rapists as there is at the victim, in that town anyway. There is still the “she deserved it” or “she’s ruining their lives” mentality. And not just by their parents who love them, or their coaches who “need” them as athletes, but by girls who could very well be the victims.

One of the most enlightening testimonies to the way of thinking in the town was by a friend of the convicted, who wouldn’t allow him to drive drunk. He had been taught to protect his friend from that danger, and did. But when he later saw that friend violating a girl, he did nothing. He didn’t see that it could also ruin lives. Somewhere along the line, his parents and community leaders failed.

The investigation isn’t over, and there are potentially more arrests to come, of those who knew about and covered up the acts. I pray that the town is shaken so profoundly, that they don’t just clean up their act over the possibility of prosecution, but because of human decency and an understanding that our girls are worth so much more. And so are our boys. Our boys deserve to be raised with higher standards and guidelines that prepare them for a life lived well. These boys ultimately made the decisions that deeply impacted a girl and a community, but this community now has a chance to stop growing boys into monsters. I pray they accept the challenge.


Huffington Post (

Reuters (

Anita Sullivan is the sister of a missing person, and long time advocate of victims, even before having a personal connection to the world of lost. During college,Anita found a passion for helping others and was involved in a variety of ministries. She then started a career in non-profit, first working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She went on to work with at risk families through a supervised visitation program before spending several years in fundraising and advocacy. She now tries to reach people with a message of Hope through writing and speaking, while honoring her brother, Michael "Austin" Davis, who has been missing since 2007. To learn more about Anita, visit her at

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