The Sexual Assault of Bristol Palin?

Remind me to send Jesse Ellison a thank-you card.  Without the benefit of her insight, I would never have realized that I’m not a conservative.

Conservative circles, she says, “regularly deny that date rape exists.”  And Ellison writes for The Daily Beast, which means she basically knows everything there is to know about conservatism.  Therefore, I must not be a conservative.

Because I believe that date rape exists.  And I believe that what Bristol Palin describes in her memoir Not Afraid of Life — a night of alcohol-addled coupling in a tent in the Alaska wilderness that she did not even remember in the morning — qualifies as sexual assault.  Perhaps that’s just because I’m the father of a daughter, and I can imagine the volcanic rage I would feel toward any young man who plied my daughter with drinks until she was effectively half-conscious and then took her virginity.  Or perhaps that’s because I’m, you know, a conservative, who believes in abstinence until marriage, in the sacredness of the sexual bond, and in treating women with old-fashioned chivalrous respect.

This is one of the bombshells of the book, that Bristol began her sexual relationship with Levi with what many reasonable people would describe as sexual assault.  Here are the relevant parts of the story.  Bristol is in her middle teens; the exact age is not given in the parts I’ve read, but the timeline works out to around 15 years of age.  She tells her mother she’s spending the night at a friend’s house, but goes instead with Levi and friends to drink and camp out for the night.  She drinks a lot of wine coolers.  ”Levi kept replacing my empty bottles from his large stash.”  The wine coolers tasted sweet, and — not much accustomed to drinking — Bristol didn’t realize how much alcohol she was ingesting.  Soon she passed from the “happy buzz” into the “dark abyss of drunkenness.”

One moment, she’s laughing in a chair beside the fire with her friends.  The next thing she remembers, she awakes in the morning in a cold tent with a splitting headache.  Levi’s laughing with a male friend outside.  Bristol summons her friend to the tent.

Within seconds, [the friend] unzipped the tent and poked her head in. “Are you okay?”

“What happened?” I whispered.

“You don’t know?”…[T]he next sentence that came out of my friend’s mouth hit me like a punch in the stomach.  ”You definitely had sex with Levi.”

Suddenly, I wondered why it was called ‘losing your virginity,’ because it felt more like it had been stolen.

It goes without saying, and yet must be said, that although the story sounds plausible enough (this sort of thing happens all the time), I cannot say for certain that Bristol is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Levi claims — as any young man would, whether it was true or not — to have thought it was what she wanted.  Of course, Levi has his own memoir hitting bookshelves soon, but credibility at this point, given the things he has said and retracted and un-retracted in public, is virtually nil.  Still, I cannot confirm the veracity of this account.  No one can, in part because it depends on private communications between Bristol and Levi.

But the point is not to convict Levi.  The point is: Does this kind of scenario amount to sexual assault?  Several thoughts on this and other questions raised by the book:

FIRST: Anyone who excuses the kind of behavior alleged of Levi should be ashamed of himself (or herself).  There is no such thing as meaningful consent from a drunken 15-year-old girl, not to mention one so drunk that she doesn’t even remember the encounter in the morning.  No. Such. Thing.  We need to do better as a society at protecting our daughters.  We need to demand more of our young men.  The age-old strategy of drowning a girl in wine or booze until she no longer knows her up from down, her right from wrong, so the young man can have his conquest while her defenses are down, is immoral, shameful and criminal.

It’s not uncommon to hear of cases where a young woman is barely coherent, barely even awake (if awake at all), when a young man at a booze-sodden party takes advantage of her.  Then the young woman wakes up feeling broken and violated, robbed and ashamed.  Something she had held precious — whether her virginity or just her God-given right of freedom — was taken from her.

In this case, if the story is true, Bristol had been clear on her intention to abstain from sexual intercourse until marriage.  Who knows how coherent or clear she seemed?  Who knows whether she might have said she wanted to have sex?  But the point is: it’s what she said before she got drunk that matters.  We need to communicate this to our sons: if the woman said NO before she was inebriated, what she says post-inebriation does not remotely matter.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the National Organization for Women to come to Bristol’s defense.

SECOND: the story itself is a parent’s nightmare, but more destructive still was what followed the drunken encounter that night.  As Bristol says, she should have admitted her mistake to her parents (and God) and cut Levi loose.  Instead, feeling like damaged goods, like the only way to redeem the situation was to stay together and get married, to make him into the kind of man she believed he could be, she ignored Levi’s obvious faults and stuck around.  It was this decision that led to a longer relationship and ultimately to her pregnancy at 17 (Tripp was born shortly after she turned 18).

As important as it is to communicate the power and sacredness of the sexual bond to our children, it’s just as important to communicate that they can and should come to us when they fall.  Bristol, it seems, did not have a strong enough sense of herself to let Levi go.  Presumably her parents, if they had known what Levi had done, would have intervened and ended the relationship.  From Bristol’s perspective, once her virginity was gone anyway, determined as she was that they should marry, what was the harm in continuing the sexual relationship?  Well, as it turned out, the harm was pretty severe.  Things might have been different if she were equipped and encouraged to respond in the right way to that first error.

THIRD: The way in which the book hit the headlines was typical of the anti-Palin circus.  The publisher, William Morrow, was protecting the book with extraordinary care.  They weren’t given copies to anyone.  Yet someone sold a stolen copy to the Associated Press, and all kinds of American media outlets began blaring the headlines — copying what they saw written elsewhere — that this was some kind of catty, spiteful, whiny, Mean-Girls-esque “burn book” getting back at Levi and McCain and anyone else she didn’t like.  And of course now the stay-classy liberal blogosphere is claiming that Bristol made up the story in the Introduction in order to blame Levi for her sexual indiscretions.  Yet that’s not the way the book comes across at all.  Bristol is open about her mistakes, and yet it’s a redemptive tale in which Bristol emerges from that dark valley to find meaning, purpose and grace.  Don’t believe the mischaracterization of the book from the anti-Palinariat.

Personally, I’m glad Bristol told her story.  It’s an important one for young people, who find themselves reflected in Bristol in much the same way so many Tea Partiers find themselves reflected in her mother.   Bristol’s story illustrates how a series of small, seemingly harmless decisions can lead you straight into the swamps.  Yet it also illustrates how the painful and the ugly things in life can, through grace, be transformed into meaning and beauty.  It’s an important story for parents to hear, as they try to navigate the treacherous shoals of raising children in the twenty-first century.  It must have been painful at points for Sarah and Todd to read; and I would think in particular that Todd would have wanted Bristol to have the gumption to leave Levi after he got her drunk and took her virginity.  And it’s also important for America as a whole to get a clearer sense on what it means by “consent,” especially when it comes to sex between minors and when alcohol’s involved.  Young people should know in no uncertain terms that there is no such thing as meaningful consent when it comes to drunken teenagers.

And for the record: conservatives do not deny that date rape exists.  In spite of what Jesse Ellison might say.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2009/03/karen_swallow_prior.html Karen Swallow Prior

    Excellent post. Thank you for sensitively and insightfully addressing important truths here.

    • Dolores Peterman

      I wonder how many girls had this done to them by the same boys in Alaska, maybe some of them will come forward. If they did it once,they will do it again. Speak Up!!!

      • Sparki

        Not just Alaska – EVERYwhere.

  • Dan K

    to be fair, Jessie Ellison does not herself say that “conservative circles…regularly deny that date-rape exists”; she quotes Jennifer L. Pozner, executive director of Women in Media & News as saying it.

    • Pearl

      By all means, let’s “be fair” to Jesse Ellison. After all, she certainly didn’t endorse that view by quoting it nor have the liberal media ever been less than fair to Sarah Palin and family. Good call.

      • Dan K

        Yes, I do think we should “be fair” when we characterize the views of others, regardless of whether such fairness is reciprocated.

        In any case, it is also important to be accurate. The quote is wrongly attributed in this article.

  • Kubrick’s Rube

    Great post. This (unfortunately) cannot be said enough:

    “Anyone who excuses the kind of behavior alleged of Levi should be ashamed of himself (or herself). There is no such thing as meaningful consent from a drunken 15-year-old girl, not to mention one so drunk that she doesn’t even remember the encounter in the morning. No. Such. Thing. We need to do better as a society at protecting our daughters. We need to demand more of our young men. The age-old strategy of drowning a girl in wine or booze until she no longer knows her up from down, her right from wrong, so the young man can have his conquest while her defenses are down, is immoral, shameful and criminal.”

    I just want to add something, and I hope it’s taken as supplemental, not oppositional. I do think this is a great post.

    Rape is rape whether the victim is a virgin, a partying coed, a married woman, or a sex worker. Rape’s wrongness does not come from being a sex act, it’s wrong because it’s rape. I don’t doubt for a second that you agree with that, but I do admit to cringing when I see the words “abstinence” and “chivalry” in an explanation of why Levi’s alleged actions are so appalling.

    You’re 100% right when you say, “As important as it is to communicate the power and sacredness of the sexual bond to our children, it’s just as important to communicate that they can and should come to us when they fall,” only I’d add that before any potential fall, it’s just as important to communicate to them that sexual assault is a thing apart, and not a matter of failing to live up to moral standards.

    I hope some of that makes sense. Bristol’s story has been much on my mind the last 2 days and it’s quite upsetting. Thank you for the clear articulation of the utter wickedness of what Levi is alleged to have done.

    By the way, the National Organization for Women stuck up for Sarah Palin and her daughters a few years ago when David Letterman made tasteless jokes at their expense.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Agreed on all points, KR. Thanks!
      -Tim

    • http://www.creativeinspirationsbylisa.com Lisa

      The NOW organization would appear as more credible if they were consistent enough to speak out whenever ANY woman who appears in the limelight is blatantly insulted and disrespected — not just on occasion — and not only when they are pressured by the media and the American people to do as they proposed to do when they first organized, back in the late 1960′s.

      What hasn’t been mentioned, is what we all sometimes forget — that rape is an act of violence, first and foremost. Vicariously, men who rape — no matter in what context of the word it is done — are taking their animosities out on the women in their lives. For whatever deep-seated reason(s) these men believe they may have for doing so, there is none that legitimizes the this act upon women, not even having an ounce of respect enough to get her consent before having sex.

    • irishalaman

      What a crock..THE NOW is a CROCK.
      They had to be begged to help her. NOW didn’t go after LETTERMAN and his CASTING Couch for INTERNS! NOW is a disgusting abortion group. That is it. That is ALL they stand for. My guess is the OVENS of PP are nice contributors to NOW. 60 Million Americans and counting!
      Way to go Planeed Parenthood and NOW! Breast Cancer chances increase dramaticaly with an Abortion? Where is NOW on that little known fact?
      NOW didn’t say anything when a commentator called her a C@@t. really, NOW? How about Never, like the chance at life 60,000,000 Americans have been denied due to the brutality of NOW.

      • Kubrick’s Rube

        “In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.”

        http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/abortion-miscarriage

        • ms.garcia

          The NCI fact sheet is filled with lies.
          Yes, they lie about the effects of abortions on women.

    • Scott W

      Meaningful consent from a 15 year old girl; drunk or otherwise, does not exist.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Agreed, Scott. My only point was that all of these factors ought to add on top of one another to make the act even more hideous. Not only was she a 15-year-old (which is enough), but she was drunk, and sufficiently drunk to have no memory of it.
        -Tim

    • Chuck

      Really I have no recollection that NOW made any comment supporting Sarah Palin. In fact I do remember wondering where they were on this. Also this was echoed by every Conservative talk show.
      I would love to see ANY proof of this.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        NOW offered some supportive words for Willow Palin (I think it was) when David Letterman said something vile about her. We’ll see whether they speak up in this case.
        -Tim

    • Robert M

      The ONLY thing I would change is:
      “Rape is rape whether the victim is a virgin, a partying coed, a married woman,a Man, or a sex worker. Rape’s wrongness does not come from being a sex act, it’s wrong because it’s rape.”

      Like nearly all crime, gender is irrelevant.

  • http://maynardsong.livejournal.com Kripa

    I’m a feminist. I’m a liberal, bleeding heart, pro-choice, eco-feminist. I condemn Levi’s actions. I’ve also condemned my own “side” in their victim-blaming bullshit. I am not the only one. Just thought you’d like to know.

    • http://theheartlander.wordpress.com heartlander

      Glad to see your input here, Kripa, and kudos for speaking out against “blame-the-victim” behavior when you see it. Especially glad to know you’re not the only one!

      One thing I’d like to give you to think about. You call yourself a “bleeding heart.” Shouldn’t compassion extend to babies peacefully growing in the womb?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS1ti23SUSw

    • Charlie

      It’s always refreshing to see individual thinkers of all stripes, especially those on the left, where group-think could almost be called a communicable disease.

      Thank your for your honesty and your sticking to your guns. While I feel we probably wouldn’t agree on a lot, you’ve earned my respect for being yourself, and puppet to nobody.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com JamesW

    Great insights. I am no Palin fan, but the way the press treats her and her family is appalling and transparent in its objectives.

    KR: I believe Tim included the “abstinence” comment in order to support the idea that Bristol had communicated to Levi that she had no intention of consenting to sex, ever. Rape is wrong, always. But her pre-rape declaration helps solidify the fact that this was, indeed, not consensual, and that is why that declaration is relevant to the story.

  • Kathteach

    Great reflection here. I am with you when you said “Personally, I’m glad Bristol told her story. It’s an important one for young people, who find themselves reflected in Bristol in much the same way so many Tea Partiers find themselves reflected in her mother.” It’s too bad the anti-Palin crowd – one of whom is e Anchoress (one of your own agents!) compared Sarah Palin’s recent bus tour to a young girl “tempting” the press as rape bait. We have worked so hard in our culture to divorce our thinking from blaming the woman – and yet – aside from ill constructed metaphors from folks like The Anchoress – there is a lot to think about when girls forget that there are predators – even drunk young men – out there to be ever wary of.

    • http://www.creativeinspirationsbylisa.com Lisa

      It IS pathetic the way people see Sarah Palin. She is the epitomy of all that is good in this country, but when there is a group of people who would rather believe all that is bad about this country, in their own warped way of thinking, they make HER into the epitomy of all that is “bad”. Anything that interferes with their agenda, substantiates their reason for thuggish behavior — if you could call it “reasoning”, that is.

  • Rasms

    Excellent posts. We need fathers who will teach their sons about chivalry and treating women with the respect and courage demanded of them by God. We need mothers who will teach their daughters that they hold a special place in God’s eyes, deserving of respect, and who will teach them that their behavior can demand that respect (and conversely subvert it). The mothers raising the daughters of today are victims of a cultural brainwashing by feminists who insisted that society (comprised of men and boys!) should view and treat women as “the same” as men. Unfortunately for the “now-liberated” woman, the way men behave and conduct themselves when in the company of other men is not beneficial behavior for our young girls and women, despite the fact that women have now been brainwashed to believe that this is the kind of social interaction that they should want and deserve! The young girls with the socially mandated script of today want to hang out with the boys, play sports just like the boys, drink like the boys, curse like the boys, talk about bodily functions like the boys, talk about their body parts like the boys, and meld their sexuality to conform to the desire of the boys – all so they can “be just like men”…..it’s a tragedy that has led to the kind of “victimization” we see in Bristol’s story, and worse. The feminist claim was that they were going to elevate the position of the female in our culture but the opposite has happened. Women may be able to “do” lots of things in our society today that make it appear that they have attained some lofty goal set for them decades ago by women with their own agenda, but in reality the sexual objectification of girls and women is destructive and pervasive in our culture and around the world. And unfortunately my generation’s daughters have now turned into the mothers of daughters, and the cycle continues – females surrender themselves up willingly and eagerly to be whatever the guy wants her to be, with no foundation or resources to defend herself against a cultural assault against her valuable and glorious position as “woman” – equal to, but different than men.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks very much for this comment, Rasms.
      -Tim

    • http://www.creativeinspirationsbylisa.com Lisa

      Amen, Rasm. My sentiments, exactly.

    • Michelle

      Thank you for a great quick rendition on our “sexual” culture today, greatly appreciated!

  • Ginge

    Love that you called Trigg Bristol’s baby. There’s no way that it’s Sarah’s baby, and when we see people like Casey Anthony’s family doing everything to hide an out-of-wedlock birth, is it really too far-fetched that a governor used to “setting the agenda” would try to hide her daughter’s pregnancy and then claiming to be pregnant herself? Why in the world would a woman who knew that she was carrying a Down’s Syndrome baby take the risks that Sarah did the day before his birth, flying all the way from Texas, connecting flights, and traveling by car to the community hospital close to home rather than taking care of her son, first and foremost? The logical solution is that Sarah didn’t know he was Down’s Syndrome and the baby had to be born where her daughter was carrying him. I will never trust Sarah Palin.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Ginge, it was a typographical error in which I mixed up Trigg and Tripp. Listen, I know people who know the Palins. Trigg is Sarah’s baby. Tripp is Bristol’s.
      -Tim

  • Justin

    Because when two teenagers get wasted and have sex, it’s always the man’s fault. After all, feminists say that all men are rapists, so what other explanation could there be?

    • http://TDS Nancy Dalrymple

      Illegal entrance!breaking and entering, get it? Not all men are rapist and some girls want sex if it is consensual it is different, unless one is a minor. To wait for marriage is better then you know who your children belong to and getting drunk males and females together in the woods is taking a chance with fate. That is a big chance and teens don’t understand this. Yes children should be better informed by their parents, it saves allot of headaches in the future.

  • irishalaman

    Levi does not sound like a very nice young man.
    Bristol has come a long way.
    May God stay with both of them and bring them closer
    to the Life of Christ as they continue their journey.

  • http://www.creativeinspirationsbylisa.com Lisa

    @Timothy Dalrymple — Correction: Second part, end of first paragraph: “It was this decision that led to a longer relationship and ultimately to her pregnancy at 17 (Trigg was born shortly after she turned 18).” Just a slight technicality; her little boy’s name is TRIPP, not Trigg. Trigg is Sarah’s youngest child and Bristol’s baby brother, who has Down’s Syndrome. Tripp has wavy dirty blonde hair with the potential for it to turn to light brown as he grows older (like Levi’s) and is younger than Trigg. Just thought I’d set you straight on that.

    Secondly, when boys are brought up so much more leniently than girls (generally), they develop the frame-of-mind that they can have anything they want and that nothing can stop them. In other words, they cannot take “no” for an answer. As a result of the leniency of parents and other family members who give in to them, because children are so cute — but manipulative when they are young, this standard substantiates what they’ve thought all along…that if anyone says “no” to them, it is skewed in THEIR minds to mean “yes”. Consistency during childhood, means everything.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for the note on Trigg/Tripp. It’s since been corrected.
      -Tim

  • Sunnyr

    Bristol’s story is like a thousand others but she is doing a really great service for teens everywhere. I applaud her. Keep up the good work, Bristol, and stay the same sweet girl you are today.

  • bdovs

    We all need to have these conversations with our daughters. Our adult common sense,earned over many years, is not what they possess at their young age. The message needs to get to our teenage girls: Don’t get in these situations, say no and mean it, noone is allowed to compromise you, and confide in a trusted adult to help you.

  • Joy

    Excellent points – all! Of course, it’s important that Bristol took advantage of her celebrity (notoriety?) to at least write an expanation/defense of her life as a teen and what it portends for thousands of other teens now and in future as they navigate the shoals of adoloescence! And with creeps like Levi, Bristol’s not out of the woods yet! I think the value of her book is how it will resonate – if, indeed, it does – with this generation of teenagers. Her frank discussion of personal things may guide other your women facing similar circumstances.

  • momofone

    Thank you so much as others have said for your sensitivity. Yes, date rape does exist and no does mean no whether it is made clear before hand through discussion on the subject or at the time of the attempt. I know, because I too have been there.
    I know too that once it happens you do feel like damaged goods no one else would want and sometimes you think this is the way to hold on to this person. Of course it isn’t but you are not thinking clearly at that point.
    I am so proud of Bristol, and the other young ladies who have gone on to live their lives and not let this event define them.
    But, it still leaves its scars, for years. I am in my fifties and married, still I have my times of remembering and regret. It colors your self perception to be sure.

  • http://www.commentary.net AJ

    This is why Biblical Christian cultural law requires that a bride price be paid when a girl’s virginity is taken. Young men would think twice before taking advantage of a girl if they knew it would cost them (or dad) the equivalent of three years wages. Levi owes Bristol and Todd ought to tell him to pay up.

  • http://yahoo Joseph S

    This book should be required reading for all young people. Bristol was lucky things worked in the end. Most young people are not that lucky.

  • Rocky

    Not only have the liberal, left-wing, communist/socialist Obama-loving feminists not rushed to support Bristol, the so-called woman at NOW have actually laughed at the situation and been so crass as to state that this is all a publicity stunt to raise money for her mother. How insulting! REAL women should be enraged, but then again, most of NOW members are the lesbian halfbreeds.

  • sp00ky

    I respect not only the quality of this post but also the quality of the comments. Well said too all.

  • Jo

    Thank you Kripa, for your thoughts. Not all feminists, bleeding hearts, eco-feminist, pro-choice are unfeeling, as are not all Christian conservatives “religious freaks.”

    All of us need to stand up for women who are mis-treated. I believe the Palins have all been mistreated and it shows how fearful some facets of our society (mainly the media) are of them.

    Thanks again for expressing your views.

  • Guy Noir

    Perhaps a “SATIRE ALERT!” is needed. Satire is poorly understood, so much so, that a recent article (a re-use of an earlier satire) about Alabama seeking to change the number Pi to simply “3.0″, was met with thousands of people who believed this REALLY was happening!

    You attracted my attention quite well, since, like you, I know of NO ONE in Center-Right Conservative circles who would describe this as anything OTHER than DATE RAPE! Most would also want to know why this individual was not arrested, and when was the hearing? Of course, the Conservative side is not accustomed to treating the Palin family like sub-humans. It is an odd fact of nature that the ones PROFESSING to be humanist, need the most skepticism, and will likely be unable to muster up the fairness and evenhandedness needed to be truly kind to their fellow humans. This is also born out when deciding to either “give a person a fish, or teach a person to fish”. Our supposed humanists simply throw up their hands and send out fish to everyone who asks. Now 40 million people are on SNAP (Foodstamps), and are dependent upon government.

  • Guy

    I think if that is the way it went it was very wrong But it is way to late to complane now after staying with the guy dateing for years and marrying him if I understand every thing correctly she should have never went to party in woods and she should have told her parents first thing I raised two daughters and if any body would have done that to them and they told thire mother or me the boy would have regreated his actions and now I have 6 granddaughters and the older ones know if any boy messes with them all they have to do is let me know and I will take care of it but not no 5 or 6 years later

  • WWII VET

    Right on Rasms. There is no such thing as equality of the sexes – each has it own wonderful and unique attributes. The fems are nuts.

  • http://www.ladybard.wordpress.com ladybard

    I’m moved by this, Dalrymple! Those lines of communication must be kept open. Glad Bristol can see this Levy fellow clearly now and can move forward to find a true, authentic and unselfish love.

  • Shirley Bloodworth

    I concur with Rasms and I’m not blaming the Palin’s for their daughter’s delimma, I raised three boys and know that, going back over 25 yrs. ago, it was not just the boys. The girls then, as well as now, mostly due to the change in our culture, are more than eager to give themselves to a boy, multiple boys, etc., and they don’t have to be drunk to do it. And today it seems that almost every day there is a young, good looking, college female missing, murdered, etc., and many times these girls are drunk and think they can just take off in the early morning hours on foot, or leave with someone they just met, and they will be safe. We not only need to teach the males how they should behave we need to somehow get across to the females thay while they are now liberated and can do whatever they might want, sober or drunk, there’s always someone out there lurking around the corner to pounce on the unsuspecting female and females need to learn that they and their bodies should be held in high esteem by themselves, as well as by the males they meet. One other point I want to make is, if I remember right, Bristol is now doing a reality show & had to move to Hollywood, I guess, and she is sharing a house, along with her young son, with 2 or 3 males who are also in the show. To me this sounds very naive and immature and would only leave one to believe that she might be engaging in sex with these guys. Do you think? And the culture promotes this behavior because it expects nothing from the females or males as to responsibility, accountability, etc. and welfare is there if they need it to raise a child. Just try and find a program on TV that most young people watch that shares good values, Christian values. I don’t blame Levi any more than I do Bristol, who started with a lie to her parents, which was compounded by spending a night in a tent with a male. Surely she wasn’t all that naive about what the evening was to be about. And probably the rest of the kids there had the same thinking. It’s really a shame how this culture is teaching females that it’s all about partying and having a good time. And most TV programs, along with advertising encourage the same. I don’t know if you’re following the case of Casey Anthony & her young daughter. If you are, maybe you will agree with me that Casey could be the poster girl for young girls who have a baby to take care of while all their friends are doing the Club scene, which Casey apparently was fulling engaged in too, and her daughter came second. If you don’t know about Casey Anthony you can see it on most any TV station.

    • http://www.redsoprano.blogspot.com RJ

      Shirley, Are you serious? You don’t blame Levi any more than you blame Bristol? If Bristol had reported the incident, it would have been punishable by law. Lying to parents leads to bad consequences (as evidenced in this situation), but it is not punishable by law, and therefore not the same thing. I was married to a man who was “Mommy’s Little Prince.” He believed himself entitled and superior to others. I hope you have not done your sons that same disservice.

  • Paul

    An impressive article with equally impressive remarks by readers.

  • russ

    Personally, I blame “That 70′s Show” and all the similar media trash that consciously indoctrinates young people for precocious and promiscuous sex with the specific intent of destroying young lives.

  • thomas

    I believe it all too. The thing is; I don’t buy their statistics on how common it is. Which gets converted into not believing it happens…

  • http://www.twitter.com/rae4palin rae4palin

    Just finished reading the book. Bristol tells everything. Yes, it was sexual assault. Levi is a real piece of crap. And, yes, Bristol was very, very stupid. But we know that’s not an uncommon condition among teenagers. The book gives context to the family dynamics during taping of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Those episodes with Sarah & Bristol shooting shotguns & fishing halibut were filmed just weeks after Bristol finally came home like The Prodigal Son and threw herself at her family’s mercy. Sarah & Bristol were in reality re-bonding during those episodes.

    The book also has a hilarious story about Meghan McCain.

  • DICK ROBEY

    IT all started with a lie. It is so amazing to me this story is repeated over and over and over. TEEN Boys have one desire SCORE. it was called that in the ’60 and it is still called that. Any girl who would go on an overnight camping trip with a BOY; has one desire to be accepted. A lie to parents showed this girl had some concern of this situation. OK OK I HEAR YA. Didnot say it was right. Do not condon the BOY’S action; but neither do I condon the girls actions. Many of us guys have done the same thing as BOYS; more than once; the BOY’S thinking SHE IS COMING ON THE TRIP; THEREFOR SHE WANTS WHAT I WANT. A boy build up that thinking and reinforces that thought for a couple of days and then the girl follows the path of drinking; getting undress; climbing in a tent with a HORNY NUDE BOY, thinking was not in play by the BOY either. Again I am not saying this to justify; I am trying to show that neither party acted in a mature way but acted out of desires and feelings. BOTH not just the girl. IT ALL BEGAN WITH A LIE KNOWING PARENTIAL CONSIDERATION WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GIVEN. BOY & GIRL ACTIONS CLEARLY STATED I want. . . . I assume the other boy & girl played checkers all night?? you can not educate emotions or feelings at this point. OF COURSE THE BOYS ARE GOING TO BE TALKING & LAUGHING TOGETHER; THEY SCORED. which will be REPEATED IN THE LOCKER ROOM NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. the majority of the school will know THAT GIRL IS NOW HIS GIRL. It would be very difficult to convince me of a date rape.

  • Pam

    Wonderful post.
    Funny though, when my boys were growing up (and my daughter for that matter), I instructed them from a very early age that, ” “No” means NO – it doesn’t matter whether you’re playing keep away with someone’s hat, or are- in later years – alone with a girl. If someone says, “stop”, “quit it”, “cut it out”, “no” – whatever – you are to cease and desist immediately. Not only that, you are to apologize on the spot and in no way say anything in an effort to make them feel badly for not wanting to continue with whatever was going on.”
    As a result, my now-grown, educated sons of 23 and 27 are young men I can be proud of. They are both thoughtful, considerate of others, and are also in meaningful relationships with lovely young ladies (the older is married, the younger one is proposing next week!).
    All 3 of my children are very close, protective of each other and watched out for each other when their parents weren’t around. My 25 year-old (graduate student) daughter doesn’t take much flack from anybody, and also finds herself in a meaningful, mature 4-year relationship with a fabulous, industrious young man (and they don’t live together!). I am a blessed and proud mother obviously.
    We need to teach our children important values of respect and consideration for others from very early on.
    Use the same theories of human decency in lessons that apply to the appropriate age and development, and they will transfer to the new situations that arise as the children grow into adolescence and adulthood.

  • S Rubicon

    I admit, as a young man, I was no angel. OK, so I may have been closer to the devil. However, never, ever, ever, w/o her consent. And, never, ever, ever, with a minor!
    My Dad taught me that. I suppose I was lucky to have a Dad who cared enough about me to make points like that clear & why they matter to the girl, and to me. (Or is it my soul??)
    Anyway, the real fact is no matter what any of the Palin’s say, the establishment media, owned & operated for the good of the left & its uber wealthy controllers, would have destroyed what she said under any circumstances. Its pathetic.
    I hope she makes a lot of money. With it, she may be able to buy herself & her child a level of privacy. The exposure was bound to come out anyway, so this way, she gets to have her say, and have people pay to read it!

  • http://Microsoft Rosabel Baldwin

    Interesting comments, but I see nothing about Levi and his upbringing, family relationship that formed him and his thought process…..
    Anyone care to comment on him? Glad he’s out of the picture for the Palins…hope he stays out.

  • fuster

    Timothy Dalrymple—
    15 year olds who lie to their parents about where they’re going to be spending the night in order to get in a tent with a teenaged boy and drink wine coolers are likely to be expecting to engage in sexual behavior.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I actually don’t agree. I sometimes eluded my parents’ control and did similar things with the intention of kissing my girlfriend, but I did not remotely expect to have sex. I was committed to waiting until marriage, and I meant it. Those expectations were communicated between my girlfriends and I. I also believe that the intention was for the girls to share one tent and the guys to share the other. In any case, no young man should say, “Hey, she lied to her mom and came camping and drinking with me, so I just assumed she was okay with sex — even though she’d told me beforehand that she wanted to wait until marriage, even though we agreed to wait until marriage…” etc
      -Tim

  • Kathteach

    If we could only get our civil society to stop accusing women as being the “bait” we would do well. It does not help at all when a so called prestigious blogger like the Anchoress infers in her comments that Sarah Palin was rape bait or purposefully tempting the press to somehow trigger into assault during her recent bus tour. These things are so embedded in our language and the words we use…..even with Elizabeth Scalia the Anchoress. Until we change our metaphors, nothing will change and young girls and women will continually be unexpected victims who need to be protected against the predator males.

    It is a very serious matter – I teach college students. Young girls and boys both must be aware of this societal prejudice against them and they need to be very wary that they may be drunk at a party and “things will happen” but that the courts will always favor the young (drunken) girl and the young (drunken) boy may have his life ruined.

    Lesson: Teach our kids that they may NEVER drink and party alone and must ALWAYS stick with a group.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Absolutely right. Thanks for the comment.
      -Tim

  • Kathteach

    It is a very serious matter – I teach college students. Young girls and boys both must be aware of this societal prejudice against them and they need to be very wary that they may be drunk at a party and “things will happen” but that the courts will always favor the young (drunken) girl and the young (drunken) boy may have his life ruined.

    Lesson: Teach our kids that they may NEVER drink and party alone and must ALWAYS stick with a group.

  • Erik G

    While I tend to accept the veracity of Bristol’s story, it’s impossible to know for sure. The proof will come when we view the lives of each of the players in five or ten years. I pray that they both gain richly in wisdom and integrity. Time will tell.

  • Colleen M.

    I agree it is important to speak out but Bristol Palin is not speaking out about date rape or sexual assault. She wrote a scathing expose about an ex-boyfriend in which she refers to him as the “gnat” the entire time. This “gnat” is also the father of her child. Did anyone in the Palin family realize that Bristol’s son will grow up to read about this gnat rapist father someday? I’m sure he will discover meth at about that same time which he can purchase from his paternal grandmother. Oh how silent the Conservatives are. I wonder what the battle cry would be if one of Obama’s black daughters were teenagers and wrote a book about losing her virginity drunk to her baby-daddy whose mom is a meth dealer. “Look what they are teaching our children!! Look at Obama family values!! This is how they raised their daughter!! See what liberals believe!! Look at how black people act!!” But with Bristol, it’s “bravo on speaking out honey.” It’s disgusting. And if anyone thinks Bristol ghost-wrote this book for women they are crazy. The entire Palin family are money-whores and this is just one more reality show bid.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Have you actually read the book, Colleen? Actually, you reveal that you haven’t, but I’m not going to tell you why.

      You make a fair point about her portrayal of the father of her son. A few points, though:

      1. She’s not nearly as hard on him as the tabloids (which pretty much means the entire press these days, when it comes to the Palins) made it out. And she’s been clear that she’s not accusing him of date rape or sexual assault (even though I think she should).
      2. Your suggestion about her little boy discovering Meth and getting it from Sarah Palin is risible. The bile that overflows does not reflect well on the heart.
      3. Conservative Christians have not condemned the Palins because they’re actually a much more forgiving and grace-oriented lot than you apparently believe. And no, at least for 90%, the response would not be different if it were the Obamas. Conservative Christians have been outspoken in praising the Obama family, Obama’s affirmations of fatherhood, etc.
      4. Conservative Christians generally understand that you cannot control the behavior of your children. If you have a child who goes out and gets pregnant, well, that’s not so rare these days, and a lot of folks know what that’s like. The question is how they respond to it. Bristol opted to keep the baby, and they went through it all as a family.
      5. Again, your suggestion of racism (“Look at how black people act!”) is risible.
      6. Money-whores? Lovely. So tell me. If you were a high school graduate with essentially no professional skills, working a secretarial job in the middle of nowhere, and you had the opportunity to go on a show that would net you hundreds of thousands of dollars (and you’d be dancing on a fairly reputable show), and then to make hundreds of thousands more (at least) by telling your story…you would turn it down? Please.
      -Tim

      • Colleen M.

        Actually Tim, some high school girls believe it or not with no skills and a mother making 100,000 a speaking engagement decided on college instead of a life of reality TV shows and expose books but clearly you feel that is not an option for the Palins.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Colleen, you and I both know that very few recent high school graduates would pass up an opportunity to be a “star” on Dancing with the Stars, and then to write a guaranteed bestseller. With the money she’s made, she’s been able to buy her own home. If she wants to go to college, she can do that anytime, but I don’t begrudge her for making the choices she’s made with regard to television or books. Why didn’t people call Shawn Johnson or the various young Disney stars money-and-fame-whores in the way that they’ve done with Bristol? Again, we both know the answer: simple partisanship.
          -Tim

    • http://TDS Nancy Dalrymple

      Colleen,WOW, I am so sorry you have such a degrading attitude about a innocent baby and a young girl who didn’t come out and admit what you would have liked to hear.And of course if this was your child you would not have tried to protect her and be a loving family and not reveal family secrets that i am sure most people have? Money-whores what a slanderous mouth.Rape is a very hard subject to talk about or explain for there are different reasons this happens and if you are a whore or not no one has the right to do this to anyone.Go with God!

  • Alyne

    Rape is about hate.
    The rapist is (consciously or unconsciously) trying to shatter the victim.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      It’s often about hate, but that’s not always the case. Think of those who rape friends or loved ones, even their own wives. Sometimes it’s about simple lust, or frustration, or a desire to punish, or a sick determination to live out a sick fantasy.
      -Tim