- Original Content
- Party TIme
- Environmental Disaster
- Life Styles
- MBN LIVE
- Our Projects
- Thunder Dome
- Other News
- Site RSS Map
Steubenville Born: My Life in the Ohio Valley
I was born on November 29th, 1980 in the small town of Steubenville, Ohio. I can’t call my own experiences “normal,” as my parents have always been the types of true Christians who would gladly give the shirts off their backs, yet whose good-Samaritan acts often made them targets by less stable people.
I was seven-years-old when my family lived on Moore’s Lane, located just off of 213. I remember my parents befriended the new neighbors, who were going through some difficult times financially; these were the Reagan years. They moved into the tiny house right next door to our tiny house. My parents bought them groceries, and they became fast friends. However, it didn’t take long for their personal struggles with mental illness and addiction to become the quiet talk of our little town. My parents, alarmed by the abusive arguments that happened nightly, told me to never ever go into their house, but the neighbor boy could come over to our house if he wanted to play. For a while he did. We were very good friends. Then his parents told him he wasn’t allowed to talk to me anymore.
One night we awoke to the smell of smoke. Someone had set my dad’s truck on fire. Ten days later, as we were in our car headed to church, we saw smoke billowing out of the chimney. Our house was engulfed in flames. We made it out with only the clothes on our backs. The fire was found to be arson, and the fire marshal at the time “lost” the evidence, which included jugs of gasoline covered with oily fingerprints.
We moved so many times since, I’ve lost track. We unlisted our phone number for years out of fear someone would track us down. Paranoia and fear became the “norm” for our disillusioned little family, so we moved away from Steubenville to a town Called East Springfield, where we lived for nearly ten years. We’ve since relocated to a slightly more convenient town closer to our friends and family and closer to Steubenville, Ohio. We’ve lived in this small town ever since.
I was never into sports. My parents were outsiders in most ways, and their fear of people made it difficult for my sister and me to make friends or attend local games. But I remember dating a senior from Big Red during my junior year in high school. He used to be on the Football team. However, he had decided to go into computer-aided drafting and design, so he wanted to focus more on that. He liked playing for Big Red and had many friends from all different social circles within the same school district. Everyone turned out in droves for the high school games at Harding Stadium, and their athletic teams were nothing short of impressive. There was local media coverage and so much excitement. Kids jokingly wrote “Wu Tang Clan” all over everything and giggled about it. I made many friends there for a brief period of time and have to say they were all very nice people, very accepting of others. I liked them.
We used to “party” on the hilltop, as high school kids do. One of his friends had his own apartment then, and it became kind of a party/crash pad for a lot of the kids. This was at about the time a few of the local gangs were becoming more prolific. There were occasional shootings, but everyone usually felt safe there. For a short time it was a dangerous place to be, when there were shootings in retaliation of the slaying of Wisegod Allah, who was rumored to have been executed by Steubenville Crips. I emphasize “rumored,” because as in many of these style shootings, most of the facts will never be known, and I refuse to take sides or automatically believe everything I hear. But my then-boyfriend told me Steubenville was not safe for a little while, and he could hear gunshots every night. That was all he told me, so I have no clue who was doing the shooting. At that time, I attended Jefferson County JVS, and the Steubenville boys I spoke to said things about a retaliation shooting orchestrated by the Bloods against the Crips. I stayed away when it was rumored to be bad, so I honestly don’t know.
We used to pitch in and buy alcohol when we could get away with it. Yes, there was underage drinking, and occasional pot smoking, but everyone trusted each other. No one in that group would have ever considered raping a sick, unconscious drunk girl and carrying her from party to party. The kids I knew would have held her hair back when she was vomiting and found her a place to safely lay and “sleep it off.” They were such a diverse and loyal group of friends, and I genuinely adored all of them.
My own memories of being young and stupid are what lead me to believe this is not something everyone on the football team would have participated in. Also, after I watched the Nodianos video, I noticed a heated argument in the background, and a couple of boys in Big Red clothing left in disgust to go check on her. There were kids present who wanted to do the right thing but were unsure of how to handle it. I think the small town mentality may be a factor in this as well; everyone knows everyone, and nobody wants to believe their own children would do something so vile. It is my belief that this case was poorly handled in that many witnesses were present and so few were called in. I think some witnesses are afraid to come forward, not because of Anonymous, but because of threats made by impassioned locals who aren’t used to his type of public scrutiny and do not know any better.
I don’t blame my home town or the school or the whole football team. I really don’t. But it saddens me that there are so many afraid to come forward due to the bullying nature of a few local petty thugs. “Stand up for Steubenville” by locking up dangerous people and keeping our town and our children safe from rapists and bullies--not by questioning the integrity of an “alleged” rape victim. Come on people, I’ve known many of you for years. You know better than this, and you were raised better than this. “Stand up for Steubenville” by standing up for what is right and standing up for a young, scared girl who needs our love and support.