The Blame Game: Bristol Palin Claims Ex Raped Her In New Memoir
Is this story only a ploy for more attention?
The views expressed here are those of the author and not of The Loop 21.
In her new memoir, Bristol Palin describes her first sexual encounter with her then boyfriend and future baby’s father Levi Johnston. By her account, the relationship that was first presented on a national stage with the promise of marriage had some dark secrets.
The Daily Beast got their hands on an early copy of Palin’s "Not Afraid of Life," providing us with a cliff notes version of the night Palin unknowingly lost her virginity:
Levi keeps replacing her finished wine coolers with new ones, and soon Bristol hits “that awful wall” that takes her from a “happy buzz” into “the dark abyss of drunkenness.” (Pg. 3) The last thing she remembers is sitting by the fire and laughing with friends, and doesn’t remember waking up in her tent the next morning “with something obviously askew.”
Bristol awakens in her tent, with no recollection of the night before. She looks over and sees Levi’s empty sleeping bag right beside hers, and hears Levi and his friends “outside the tent laughing.” (Pg. 3)
Bristol quickly texts her friend to get over to the tent, and she immediately pops over and tells her, “You definitely had sex with Levi.” (Pg. 4) Despite being brought up in a Christian household determined to save herself until marriage, Bristol laments the fact that her virginity had been “stolen.”
Under Alaska law rape is defined as, sexual intercourse with someone who is “mentally incapable, incapacitated, or unaware that sexual act is being committed.” Based on Palin’s account, Johnston supplied the underage teen with alcohol until she was drunk, taking advantage of her. After the incident, Bristol recalls being told by a friend that she has indeed lost her virginity although she was “determined to save herself until marriage.”
Do you sympathize with Bristol? Is this a ploy for attention? Why tell this story now? It’s sad but true that most won’t bat an eye at the news of this “rape” because most Americans are dealing with Palin fatigue. Between the tours across America, Dancing with the Stars, tea party rallies and anything the "Palin" name is associated with loses credibility.
Bristol Palin is alleging that Levi Johnston sexual violated her and yet she agreed to marry him not once but twice.
What message does that send to young women in romantic relationships where they have been sexually abused? What about those young women who are uncertain about their own unwanted sexual encounters while under the influence of alcohol? Should they continue to associate with the perpetrators with Bristol as their role model? If Bristol Palin seeks to promote herself as a role model for young girls, then the question needs to be asked whether her actions after an alleged rape should also be modeled.
Does Bristol now see herself as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault? Should these survivors follow her lead? Does Bristol believe sexual assault should be reported to the authorities right away or should survivors keep serious allegations a secret as she did for the past four years?
Sadly, there is another way to look at this revelation; it goes with the narrative that the Palin media machine has created about Bristol Palin. Namely that she is a lily white virgin who just made a mistake and got pregnant accidentally at 17. To continue with this narrative the Palins must now allege that Bristol was violated against her will and that she had intended all along to stay a virgin until her wedding night. A claim sure to assist her career as spokesperson for The Candies Foundation, an abstinence organization paying Bristol Palin up to $100,000 per speaking engagement. It pays big bucks to uphold the narrative. Viewed from the most cynical lens this claim was made simply to get more media attention for Bristol’s memoir in order to sell more copies. Everything that is Six Degrees of Sarah Palin is tainted.
If Palin was in fact violated by her teenage boyfriend on a drunken night in a tent, she deserves our sympathy and support as yet another survivor of sexual assault. If she is falsely claiming that Johnston supplied her with alcohol only to take advantage of her, then she and anyone complicit in this assertion are among the most vile money hungry opportunists.
Rape is a serious offense and one that happens far too often in our society. It should never be alleged unless it is true because doing so cheapens the real burden of recovery survivors face every day.
Zerlina L. Maxwell is a law student, a former full time campaign staff member for the 2008 Obama campaign, and a political commentator. You can find her on twitter @ZerlinaMaxwell.