60 Bystanders

The realities of the case in Steubenville, Ohio, where two football players allegedly raped a 16 year old girl are unfolding, in the second day of testimony being heard today. Reviewing the articles, pictures, posts and video surrounding this horrifying event has brought me to a perplexing place. According to a news story released early this morning (see link below) there are 60 possible witnesses between the defense and prosecution. 60 potential individuals who could have attempted to intervene on behalf of the girl and even the boys. Instead, there was a flurry of pictures taken (conveniently deleted) and voyeurs, to what is now a cataclysm. No one was courageous enough to intervene? Really – 60 people?!! Instead, we watch young men repulsively comment on video to what he feels is hysterical – rape. The details coming out of this tragic situation flow like a Lifetime movie, except, this is a real life nightmare for three young people. Self-destructing choices continued to fall like beastly dominos and yet bystanders continued to watch, and click, and post for their amusement. We must encourage, and educate our young people to make self-respecting choices that are carried out under any situation, and to move to action because; it is the right thing to do.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

A Word from the Authors of the Missouri High School Senior List

“I can’t say that I am the most popular guy at school. I don’t have the most friends, I don’t have the best grades, not many girls talk to me… I’m average.
Athletes build their reputation through their performance on the field. Smart kids get credit for their good grades. Popular guys will always be popular because of their good looks and personalities. But for someone not so gifted, I need to create my own image.
When I wrote the Senior List with my two friends, we got immediate attention. Everyone had a copy of the list in their book bag. It was the topic of conversation at lunch and our names were always mentioned.
Some girls were mad, but they did exactly as I planned. I knew that when this list came out, those girls had no other choice but to address me directly because of my critiques. They are reading and re-reading the words I wrote, no other option then to dwell over my reviews. I felt powerful.”
Though this may not be an accurate depiction of the real-life perpetrators in the recent Missouri High School Senior List incident, it is a mindset that fuels the bullying and harassment epidemic in this country. But how many of us can understand this perspective?
The TURNING STONEchoice program teaches us how to identify will all sides of the story in order to see the full-picture. It is not until we understand the reality of situations when our choices are revealed.

Public ridicule: a painful situation for any child or adolescent… if they choose!

What would you do if your daughter came home from school in tears because she was publicly humiliated about her pimples? What if she was mocked about wearing maxi pads because she did not like the feeling of tampons?

Ten families in Missouri had to go through the torment of watching their grief-stricken teenage daughters deal with the reality of a vulgar “Senior List” that was distributed to the class and described the sexuality and hygiene of 10 female classmates.

It is obvious that most children and teenagers, male or female, will react negatively towards an embarrassing situation. But instead of reacting, the TURNING STONEchoice program teaches interaction with family and peers to expose root causes of negative situations.

In the TURNING STONEchoice program, the Keep Close Chat is a practice that encourages families to talk about troubling situations to reveal the innermost feelings of a child in emotional distress.  What would a Keep Close Chat sound like in this case in Missouri?

The victim would most likely reveal that they were embarrassed about the list, angry with the authors and horrified about showing her face to her peers.

Parents or friends would encourage her to look at the reasons for why her peers authored the list. The motive of this type of harassment and bullying is nothing more than an effort for the authors to maintain control in their own lives but controlling the thoughts and feelings of others.

The teenager would then realize she has choices:

1. Come to terms with reality by accepting the motives of the authors and dismissing the actions

2. Fight back by publicly contradicting the statements in the Senior List

3. Speak with the authors of the list and interact with them in order to maintain control of her own thoughts and feelings

4. Talk with a teacher, counselor or principal

It is important to have the teenager understand that there is no right or wrong answer to this situation. There is only what she will do, and won’t do.  Success is achieved when the teenager feels self-empowered and able to make her own choice on how to resolve the situation.

Communication is vital for the well being of children and adolescents. With harassment and bullying being issues nationwide, it is important to avoid children bottling up emotions while triggering harmful thoughts. The Keep Close Chat will improve relationships and boost the self-esteem of individuals.

For more information about the TURNING STONEchoice program and the Keep Close Chat, email us at info@turningstonechoice.com.