I hate to interrupt the Super Bowl week merriment with a serious subject, but I’m going to do just that. Apologies in advance.

Today, Jason Whitlock of FOX SPORTS penned an article in support of Ben Roethlisberger, basically painting Big Ben as a victim in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s PR battle with the fans and critics. Big Ben. A victim. Huh. Go figure.

(Holy crap…I just caught myself spelling “Roger” with a “D,” as in “Rodger.” I wonder why that is? )

Now, I have linked Mr. Whitlock’s column, even though I don’t always agree with him, I occasionally find his point of view interesting. You can read his article and see what you think. I’ll bet if you’re wearing Steeler swag, or have a penis, you might agree with him. Obviously, I do not.  Michael Vick did abhorrent things to dogs, but at least he served his time.  Ben basically got away with abusing women and received nothing more than a time out with a reduced sentence.  So, to the NFL,  dogs are more valuable than women?  Certainly seems like it.

Disclaimer: I love dogs. I have two Black Labs. I volunteer with a local no-kill animal shelter. I’ve seen Pit Bulls with scars on their bodies. I think Michael Vick is a shitweasel.

I really don’t want to rehash Ben’s sexual assault allegations (in Lake Tahoe in 2008, and in Milledgeville, Georgia, in 2010). You can Google and find out the details for yourself. Neither allegation resulted in charges being filed; however, the latter act resulted in Roethlisberger being suspended for six games (reduced to four) under the NFL’s personal conduct policy for the start of the 2010 season. Roethlisberger’s legions of enablers ( mostly dressed in yellow and black ) are quick to point out the fact that “no charges were filed.” Yeah, as I recall, Kobe wasn’t convicted either, was he? Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  Something did happen to that 20 year old woman in the bathroom in Milledgeville, and because she was underage, and under the influence of alcohol ( and he was in possession of a lot of money ), she was brushed aside as a bad witness and charges were not filed. If this was a one time occurrence, maybe I’d chalk it up to “he said, she said,” but this behavior was a pattern. It wasn’t his first go at the sexual predator rodeo. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive on the subject. Back in college, I almost was that girl.  I don’t know what it is about men and bathrooms…..

In college, I worked part time at a bar on the weekends, bartending and cocktail waitressing.  It was good money for minimal hours. The only downside was dealing with drunks, especially on the nights that bands played.  The band playing on the night I remember most was a rock band that played at this bar quite frequently. Lots of Doors and Zeppelin and the same bad tipping chicks who followed them around the area, trying to hook up with the band members during set breaks and at the end of the evening. Even their roadie/manager who worked the board got laid regularly. We didn’t make many tips off them, but the bar sold a lot of alcohol whenever they came around, so they were hired back frequently. The guys in the band knew the bar staff on a first name basis and also knew their way around the place.

One night, as the band was finishing their set, I walked down the long dark hallway toward the kitchen (which was closed). There was an employee restroom back there, which the staff used rather than the public restroom with stalls. It was a small, dingy room. One toilet, one sink, dark brown walls. Light bulb hanging from the ceiling. I pushed open the door and turned on the light, not realizing that the lead guitarist from the band had followed me down the hall, followed by the roadie. The guitarist followed me into the room and before I realized what was happening, shut the door and locked it behind him, with a word to his toadie roadie to keep watch outside the door. I was a  little surprised, and asked him what he was doing. He didn’t answer me, he just grabbed me by the sides of my head and began kissing me. When I tried to get away, he slammed my head against the wall and pressed me up against it. The room began to spin slightly. He wasn’t the biggest guy in the band, but he was taller and stronger than I was. He was also drunk, and possibly on something besides alcohol.  My head was foggy, but I tired to push him away. He ripped my shirt, popping all the buttons down the front and ripping the material, all the time mumbling to “stop fighting it, baby.”  He forcibly grabbed my breast. HARD. That’s when I snapped out of my foggy state. I suddenly realized what was about to happen and began to really fight him off.

Did I mention that I played soccer for years? Uh-huh. I can kick fairly hard. In grade school, I was always the first girl picked for kickball because I could slam that red ball over everyone’s heads. Let’s just say that I connected with a different type of ball that night.

I left him lying on the sticky floor of the restroom, holding his junk, and ran out of the bathroom. I didn’t even say anything to the toadie roadie. He must have thought we were “finished” having fun, and went into the bathroom to retrieve his boy.  I walked back into the bar area, holding my shirt closed with my hand and went straight to the bar manager and told her that I was leaving. As I stood there with a ripped shirt, disheveled hair, and all she could say was,  “We’re too busy. You can’t leave.” Enter the lead singer and toadie roadie who evidently put two and two together and came up to smooth things over with me.  Basically, what happened was a full court press from the bar manager, band manager and lead singer, telling me that the guitarist didn’t mean it and he was sorry, and to please not make a scene about it. Also, please don’t leave, and continue to work the rest of the night (even though my attacker was going to be playing two more sets right in front of me). Oh, and the best part was that the bartender who spoke up and interjected that I had had a couple drinks that night ( it was allowed ), thus throwing my credibility out the window. Two drinks does not qualify as drunk in my opinion, but I saw the cop working the door exchange looks with the band manager and wink.

I was 22 years old and easily swayed. The coward that did this wouldn’t say a word to me, but there was no shortage of enablers making excuses for him. I wasn’t actually raped, after all. He just ripped my shirt, right? The band will pay for a new shirt, and am I sure that I didn’t flirt with him prior to the end of the set and what exactly had I drank that night? I was beat down. I did nothing. I ended up with a concussion, hand print shaped bruises on my breasts, and a missing ripped shirt (the bar manager gave  me a t-shirt to wear to replace the torn shirt. She put the torn shirt in the cabinet behind the bar. At the end of the night, when I went to retrieve it, it was gone ).  Even my boyfriend failed to support me when I called him in tears, asking what to do. He yelled at me, asking if I had flirted with the guitarist, and that I probably had it coming. No support.

I didn’t tell the cops. I didn’t go to the hospital and get checked. I didn’t tell my parents. I never brought it up to anyone ever again. But I remember it like it was yesterday. I began looking for another job the next day.

Yeah. I think Ben Roethlisberger got off easy. I think there are at least two or three young ladies who were violated and he got away with it because he is rich and he is famous and people lined up to make excuses for him, and because the ladies were painted as bad witnesses, mainly because alcohol was involved. The NFL let him off punishment early, and and now the media is hanging off his dick at the Super Bowl. Lovely. If he hoists that trophy on Sunday, I may throw up. Actually, I’ll probably change the channel to something else so I don’t have to watch it.

Go Packers and go Aaron Rodgers. The anti-Roethlisberger.

 

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  • S Craft

    +1

  • foundinidaho

    Wow. I’m speechless. Amazing writing.

  • http://www.pocketdoppler.com BigSnakeMan

    Inexcusable. No one should be subjected to that kind of situation. Thanks for making it personal.

  • Fladriss

    Damn that Whitlock article really flies all over the place; from defending Wee Ben to promoting a Vick vs. Ben Super Bowl (they could play it in Alcatraz) to bringing up racial issues. Perhaps he should just pick a topic and try to actually make a valid point.

    On your experience, it sounds terrible. I’m sorry you had to go through it.

    I was almost being swayed to believe that Wee Ben was just stupid and made bad decisions, putting him in the wrong place at the wrong time. However after reading your experience I realize that’s exactly what people want me to believe. Now since I don’t have all the fact of the two (!) cases against Ben, I have to presume he’s innocent. However that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do my best to keep any woman I know far far away from him.

  • Fladriss

    I should add that by “presume he’s innocent” I mean in the “innocent until proven guilty” way that our justice system works. I don’t really believe that he is. Just wanted to make that clear.

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