Anea Bogue: Let me be very clear. Under no circumstances is it OK for a man to have sex with a woman unless she has given him a resounding, "Yes!"
So when an intoxicated 20-year-old college girl told Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, "No. This is not OK" when he had one of his bodyguards escort her into a bar's back room, that should have been the end of it. Period. It certainly should not have progressed to the alleged rape that it did.
That said, while men like Roethlisberger must be taken to task by the law (and in this case, by the NFL -- who recently suspended the star QB), predatory men who believe it is their right to take what they want from women are not going away. So what can we do as parents to ensure that our daughters have the tools they need to protect themselves in these situations?
If your daughter is already a teen (and perhaps off to college) the quickest tool you can give her is awareness. She must understand that being intoxicated in any environment is going to lower her defenses.
This does not mean you should simply tell her to never drink. She will tune you out before you get to your second sentence, and all will be lost. Instead, explain that context is everything. Just as she wouldn't walk in a dark alley alone or count money out on a busy street, becoming intoxicated in the company of strange men (and just because he's a celebrity doesn't mean you know him!) makes her extremely vulnerable. Everything from poor decision-making to becoming unable to physically defend herself because she's intoxicated increases her chances of being victimized.
Secondly, it must be a rule within her group of friends that they never allow themselves to be separated from one another. The "bathroom buddy system" is essential at parties and bars. It is common practice for a predatory man to deliberately work to separate his target from her friends. Roethlisberger used this technique with the help of his bodyguard ... and succeeded.
The third and most important thing you can do for your daughter, whether she's 9 or 19 (and ideally it begins at her first breath), is to constantly be aware of building her self-esteem. When Roethlisberger announced that night, "All my bitches, take some shots," one young woman replied with, "Who does he think he is?" and then left. For her, the celebrity football player held no value if he was going to speak of her as though she had no value. How different would the whole night have been if the 20-year-old victim and her friends had valued themselves enough to be equally unimpressed by Roethlisberger's antics, rather than enamored by the feeling of being desired by an obnoxious drunk who happens to wear a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey once a week?
|Anea Bogue is a girls' self-esteem expert based in Los Angeles who works with tween and teen girls and their mothers. Anea Bogue is an educator, a certified, highly trained life coach, a consultant and a sought-after speaker with more than 20 years of experience. Anea works with her clients individually and in workshop settings on challenges tween and teen girls face, including body image, peer and media pressure, friendship challenges, bullying, academic-performance pressures and the mother-daughter relationship. For more information about Anea, please visit www.aneabogue.com.|