Serena Williams is being accused of blaming the victim in a [email protected] case because she dared to ask some very important questions.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, the tennis champion questioned why a 16 year old girl was drunk in the first place and she also questioned why her parents had not taught her better. (The infamous Steubenville rape case is one where two high school football players [email protected] a drunk 16-year-old girl while other students watched and, instead of helping her, they texted details of the events.)
This is what Serena said, when asked about the case:
“Do you think it was fair, what they got?[the boys]They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
Now, there is a huge backlash in response to what Serena said and the loudest voices have been reported to be some angry feminists.
First of all, Serena was asked for her opinion and that is what she offered. Serena is not obligated to jump on the feminist bandwagon every time she expresses her opinion.
In fact, I submit that Serena’s question is much more empowering than calling the girl who was [email protected] a “victim”. When we teach young girls and women that they are “victims” we rob them of their power. Of course the boys who [email protected] the girl committed a horrific act but it does not remove the questions that need to be asked of the 16 year old girl or any other teenager who thinks that getting so drunk that she doesn’t know what is going on is a way to conduct herself.
Teaching young women and girls to make good decisions and choices is imperative and even when other people behave criminally and horrifically, we still need to point out the areas where we (women) were empowered to make decisions and choices that would or could keep us safe.
Serena also added that we have to consider that maybe the girl’s drink was “spiked” (that someone gave her a drink that had drugs in it). To this, Serena advises that young girls should not just take drinks from anyone.
So from where I’m standing, Serena alluded to three pieces of solid advice; if you’re a 16 year old girl, drinking is not a good idea, especially if you’re going to get so drunk that you can be taken advantage of. The other piece of advice was that girls should not take drinks from people because they may be spiked . She also alluded to parents being mindful of where their teenagers are and what they are doing.
Serena does not owe anyone an apology. For the sake of peace and to shut down endless chatter from the angry feminists, Serena may issue an apology but she does not need to apologize for what she said.
Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter