"They found those kids guilty in Steubenville," Joey said to me yesterday, as we were sorting through clean clothes in our bedroom.
"Good," I replied as I rolled K's tiny pairs of socks together and began to fold her freshly-laundered onesies.
As I continued to put away clean laundry, I stared at my daughter who was giggling and rolling around on the comforter - occasionally picking up a clean item of clothing and throwing it across the bed.
My mind flashed back to a moment ten years ago. I was 17 years old and drunk, locked in the bedroom of a friend's house with a male acquaintance, who was also drunk.
Yes, he said.
NO, I emphasized. I fought, pushing his arms off of me, his beer breath nearly inducing vomit.
I yelled no louder the second time, and heard a loud bang on the door. I shoved his arms aside once more and managed to give myself enough cushion this time to get away from his grasp and make it to the door, unlocking it. Several more friends stood on the other side, male and female.
"What the fuck, man," one of them said to him. "I could hear her saying no."
I know how lucky I am. I also know how stupid I was. I shouldn't have allowed myself to get drunk and lose control with people I didn't necessarily trust. It didn't matter, though. It still doesn't. Even if I wasn't coherent enough to say no, or fight my way to the door, or lucky enough to have friends who cared, I wasn't a willing participant.
It's easy for people to say that the girl in the Steubenville case shouldn't have had that much to drink. Or that she shouldn't have put herself into a position where something bad could have happened. It's all easy for people to say this because we're adults. We've lived more of our lives than she has. We understand how the world works, and what a dangerous and scary place it can be.
I think back to that night ten years ago, and I know how she feels. We all do. We know what it's like to be young and innocent. To think, "Those bad things I see on the news can't happen to me." To think that people will have your back or respect your wishes when they clearly won't. To drink too much to impress your friends or the guy you like. To feel good about yourself because the guy who likes you is interested in you, and surely it's not because he thinks he can have sex with you.
What happened to me ten years ago has happened to many of us. What happened to the girl in Steubenville is the worst outcome - the hellish ending to those nightmare stories that many of us want to forget.
I look at my daughter as I sort piles of her tiny clothes, and I know I will tell her this story one day. I will force myself to repeat the events of that night if it means instilling just a tiny bit of awareness in her.
What I don't know is that if other parents will have similar talks with their children. I don't know if other parents will teach their children about respect and boundaries, or about how no means no. I don't know if I will be raising a teenage daughter in a society that still blames the victim for her choices rather than persecutes the attacker for his.
I've pushed that night so far into the back of my mind, because it's not something that's easy to think about. It's scary. It's embarrassing, even though it shouldn't be. I shouldn't have gotten drunk, but it doesn't matter: he shouldn't have pushed the limits. He shouldn't have forced himself on me. He shouldn't have kept trying after I'd made it clear that I wasn't interested. I know now that it wasn't my fault. I wonder if he knows that.
And I wonder if the young men in Steubenville understand that now, too.