There has been a lot of press coverage of the Steubenville rape case and Sunday's verdict. I feel sorry for the young girl who has been victimized again and again in social media and even in the press. The boys who perpetrated the crime? Not so much. None of my sympathies lie with them. I find today's attitudes toward women, among young people, disturbing. I had hoped that there would be movement forward, that women would receive more respect these days, not less.
Rather than dwell on negativity, I want to talk about how some young people are making this world a better place and how they give me hope for the future.
One young man I know attends the largest university in the city in which I live. Lamenting the dearth of healthy food options close to the school, and the expense of fast food, he and his friends decided to open a café on campus that serves vegan food at extremely affordable prices. Because I know this young man, my sister and I visited a couple of weeks ago to check it out and enjoyed a healthy, delicious lunch for an excellent price. Everything was made from scratch, including homemade bread.
A huge chalkboard on one wall showed a drawing of the area in which I live and a list of all of the ingredients they use in the café and arrows to where in the province they originated.
Not only was the place full of students, but also professors. No wonder. Great food at the right price? A no-brainer.
The kitchen was full of four staff members preparing meals. It was gluten-free Friday, so there was GF chocolate cake available for dessert. Did I mention that this is all run by volunteers?
It's been in operation for a few years now, but at the beginning the young man I mentioned worked there three days a week, producing nine loaves of bread a week—all without pay, for the greater good.
Another young woman I know volunteers in a bicycle shop. Everyone in the shop is a volunteer. They sell used bikes that are donated by members of the community. Once a month, they will pull an all-nighter on a Friday night repairing the bikes to sell. Volunteers make a communal meal that they share. Sales of the bikes keep the shop alive for its true purpose, which is to teach bike owners how to repair their own bikes. All of the teachers are volunteers.
Don't get me wrong. These young people aren't saints. They have parties, they drink, they have fun. But, women are never hauled around as though they are carcasses of meat and they aren't violated sexually while unconscious and they don't have photos and videos of these things spread all over the Internet. (I'm not so naive that I don't know that rape happens even with a 'friend,' too often, but the young woman in Steubenville should have been able to trust the boys she was with that night. To be violated and then held up to public ridicule in social media is appalling.)
There are young people out there who are good, who do good things, who counteract the bad things done that gain nationwide coverage. These acts of kindness being performed by young volunteers will never receive the coverage that the Steubenville rape did. Sometimes, amid all of the negativity about today's youth, we need a reminder of goodness.