Tuesday, August 2, 2011

She's No Jeanne d'Arc, But...

In Bristol Palin's new book, "Unafraid of Life: My Journey So Far", she recounts an episode that is eerily similar to date rape. There, she describes an overnighter she spent with friends when she was sixteen. During the evening, she drank alcohol for the first time, and passed out. The following morning, she learned that she lost her virginity to (her friend) Levi while she was unconscious the night before.

Bristol reveals this incident in her book, but seems reluctant to discuss it on her book tour. When pressed, she insists it was all her fault.

Taking responsibility for your actions is admirable, but here it is only a half measure. When it comes to date rape, one person taking full responsibility is contrary to what both parties on either side of the divide must accept.

Date rape most often occurs when the girl gets intoxicated (or drugged) - either willingly or otherwise - and has either lost consciousness or is so severely impaired that she does not know what she is doing, nor what is being done to her. It is complete when the boy takes advantage of the situation.

Whether Bristol and Levi's episode was an actual date rape, apparently only Levi knows.

What makes this even more compelling is that Bristol is now a spokesperson for an organization that just last year paid her $260,000 to speak abstinence to young people. For a person in her position, it is disingenuous to feign martyrdom in so depraved a matter as date rape where penance must be shared.

Despite her staggered start, Bristol Palin is an uncommon messenger. She is charming, brave, wonderfully human. She not only tells young people to abstain from sex, she declares that she too shall not have sex until she is married. She wants to show them how. In this age of willfulness, it is refreshing to see a beautiful young woman say to our desperate young people, "Follow me."

Is hers a voice in the wilderness? Perhaps. I'd like to thing of it as a voice out of the past calling us all forward to set a better example.

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