Someday little girls will grow up

The other day after all the students were off my school bus I found a photo of a little girl. I pinned it on the dashboard and the next day a third grader said  “Hey, that’s me when I was two years old.” She is one of my favorites, which probably started Halloween before last when another kid,  referring to my costume, said of her “She is afraid of clowns”. That afternoon,  having taken off my rainbow wig to look a little less threatening, I chatted with her about it. Her conclusion: “I don’t think school bus drivers should be clowns.” So there, ‘…out of the mouths of…’

As cute and sweet as she is, she is not the only lovable child on my bus route but her photo from over five years ago was made achingly poignant by a fresh not-guilty verdict in a rape trial involving Dartmouth students. My little friend should grow up to be a young woman full of life and love and she should have all the protection we can give her so that she can thrive with strength. Agreed? Then how is it that in 2014 America on an Ivy League campus, a young woman,  asleep in her own dorm room be awaked to an unwelcome invader having sex with her and then find her accusations ignored by a jury?

I am sure some of you will try to justify the man being acquitted. You will talk about legal issues or substance abuse or maybe even use archaic male-superior arguments but imagine the female student is my beautiful third grader a few years in the future or is your daughter or niece or granddaughter. Then, if you can see through your tears of anger and sadness, try to come up with something, anything, rational about such a conclusion to this trial. I defy you.

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