This is the response I wrote to the college professor who wondered why people didn't take responsibility for Hannah Graham - who was tragically murdered after attending a college party, drinking too much, and losing her way home:
My 3 daughters attended Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio. It is a Catholic college where students actually believe, and live out, their faith. The male students routinely tell their female classmates to NOT let themselves be treated like anything other than the beloved Daughters of God that they are. They open doors, they pull out chairs - they are RESPECTFUL. The 1st party my daughter went to caused her to call home the next day. She couldn’t believe it but the party was held off campus at someone’s house. Although there was available alcohol there, no one under age was drinking it because… well… it was against the law. At midnight, everyone called for silence at the party so that they could all…. Say a Hail Mary and thank God for another day.
When I tell people these, and other, stories they invariably laugh. They read in some sort of ‘female oppression’, or ‘brainwashed religion’. They say it could never happen, and that marks the end of their thought on the matter.
And THAT is how we have failed Hannah Graham.
We have ALLOWED OURSELVES TO BECOME a society that ridicules goodness – and yet are shocked to find that our children embrace evil at a rapid rate. We have ALLOWED OURSELVES TO BECOME a society that scorns modesty & virtue – and yet are shocked to find our young women treated, and then discarded, as nothing more than sexual objects. We have ALLOWED OURSELVES TO BECOME a society that marginalizes faith – and yet are shocked to discover that our young people are bereft without any of the strong moorings that used to get them safely through hard times.
I heard often throughout many of these replies that ‘well, we really CAN’T expect them NOT to go out and get drunk, etc.’ So my question is: “Why not?” Couldn’t I equally say we can’t expect young men NOT to prey on young girls? We can’t expect young people NOT to steal cars, lie, cheat and hurt each other? Why not? Having raised 4 children, I will tell you a secret – children grow up doing the things we give them excuses to do. It’s actually OUR JOB to tell them they absolutely, positively cannot do those things. That’s called parenting – you know, the hard kind – the kind where you care more about your children’s long term lives; then your own short term ‘peace and quiet’ and/or ‘likeability’. This is even more difficult, because then WE have to start living with those traits and virtues ourselves.
And so I have a way for us to begin saving all these young girls (and boys) who are in danger in our culture today. Begin to speak up - not only to your own children, but to other’s as well. That’s what people have done since the dawn of time – reclaim it, it worked. Expect virtue (from them AND yourself). Take them to church this weekend, and the next, and the next. Find other people of virtue, and begin making efforts to get together with them. Turn off the television – and TALK TO EACH OTHER at nighttime. In fact, get RID of the television – it is brainwashing them, and it is brainwashing you. It is making you actually think things like ‘we can’t expect goodness & virtue’. Really? Listen to yourself; be amazed you have sold out so easily! Set firm rules and even firmer consequences.
And stop – as of RIGHT NOW – making excuses as to why you ‘just can’t do it’. The time for excuses is over. The time for discipline and hard choices is now. It begins within – put down what you are doing, and make plans to begin with yourself. Then stick to them.
Several years ago, Franciscan University was indistinguishable from all other universities. The students, like students on all other campuses were ‘expected’ to be rebellious and – shock – they were! And then their new President, Father Michael Scanlon, decided that the adults could expect a lot more. They called their students back to their Faith, and pointed out that it entailed a higher way of living. They began that way right then. As they modeled, and expected, Love and Goodness, the students slowly did also.
And so it IS possible. Not easy – but possible.
And by doing so, you just might begin to turn this society back around, one child and one family at a time; and THAT, more than anything else, will save the next life.
Original Post by the Professor.
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to hope in Love.