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Jan 7 2013

Mayim Bialik on Steubenville & The Horrors of Rape

By at 2:28 pm

I’m at a loss for words. I know, Mayim-who-never-runs-out-of-things-to-say has run out of things to say. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have a lot to say, but I’m not sure what to write about here.

A lot has happened since my divorce announcement, some of which I have written about here. I had jury duty. My boys went out of town with their dad. I cleaned the house. My hand got sore and swollen all over again.

But last week was the first week ever that I have not written two posts for Kveller. Because I didn’t know what to write about. Sure, my kids have done cute things. Fred has started talking up a storm. He asks neat questions. Miles shows signs of tenderness that I never knew 7-year-olds could show. Why not write about that?

Certain news events have been weighing heavily on me, and I don’t know that Kveller is the place for me to write about my feelings about them. Sandy Hook, CT. Webster, NY. The woman who died after being gang-raped in India. The rape victim who committed suicide in India. And most recently, Steubenville, OH.

Steubenville is I think what’s making me feel blocked. I am trying to relate it to being a parent. And being a Jew. And being an actress in Hollywood. But none of it seems to matter. None of it seems relevant because it really doesn’t matter.

A 16-year-old is dragged from party to party in some state of drunkenness and likely unconsciousness, raped repeatedly. Her “alleged” rapists then brag about it and are recorded on camera doing so, joking about how dead she seemed and how thoroughly they violated her. Yes, there are reports that she was urinated on. Yes, they declare that if it was their daughter, they wouldn’t care how dead she was. Sure, it’s drunken asinine disgusting bravado. But it’s deeply disturbing. It’s got me enraged. And maybe it’s all just a joke and they were making it all up. Yeah, that’s probably it. No. That’s not it.

“Anonymous,” the social media misfits, have unleashed fury upon the “alleged” rapists because they were elite football players in an elite high school with an elite team, boasting accolades aplenty. Anonymous can’t take the apparent cover-up. Neither can I.

Here’s what I can’t take. As a mother, as a Jew, as an actress, as a human:

1. I believe in innocent until proven guilty. But there are lawyers representing these boys. And they will defend them even if they know the boys did it. That’s our justice system. I hate it.

2. This girl got drunk. Many of us have been drunk. Many of us have been drunk in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many women have had sex when they didn’t intend to. This girl was raped. I don’t need a textbook to understand that this is rape. She was raped repeatedly. No woman should have to wonder if going to a party will lead to her being raped. But apparently, that’s what kind of a world we live in. How do we tell this to our daughters? And when do we do that? College? That’s too late. High school? Sure. Junior high, maybe? So they can start understanding the culture they have been born into and preparing themselves for us never letting them out of our sight? Because that’s sort of my solution. And when do I tell my boys that it’s never acceptable to rape a girl, no matter what pornography tells you women want, and no matter if you think she wants to have sex, and no matter all of that. When do I tell them?

3. I love sports and I adore athletics. Any culture that reveres a sport so much that rape is ignored, underplayed, or covered up does not deserve those athletics. Pure and simple: sports communities cannot tolerate rape or cover it up.

4. Rape makes people very uncomfortable. It should. Teenage boys raping a drunk unconscious girl and dragging her from party to party to rape her should make everyone weep. We’d like to think we are different from the way the culture of India is being described; our men are different, our culture is different, we think. Not so much. Have you seen what’s going on in India lately? We should take to the streets like they are. Rape is rape is rape. It should make us all lose sleep at night. It’s the most unbearable violation and act of cowardice and filth.

I will try and gather my thoughts and do better later this week, I will. I still believe in the goodness of humanity. I believe in the brave women and men fighting for the rights of women to not be raped, and those who work to build a culture where it is unacceptable and unthinkable to ever violate a woman this way.

Until then, I pray for the 16-year-old girl and her family, and for the millions of women around the world with no one to fight for them or pray for them.

What a world.

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

About Mayim

Mayim Bialik is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is best known for her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom, as well as her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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