As the director of an agency focused on the treatment and prevention of sexual violence in Allegheny County, I would like to bring to light another troubling aspect of Ben Roethlisberger's birthday celebration in Milledgeville, Ga. Believe me, I am not letting Mr. Roethlisberger off the hook with regard to his responsibility. His behavior certainly speaks for itself and has been addressed by the Steelers and the NFL.
However, every person in close contact with Mr. Roethlisberger and the alleged victim failed to do the right thing that night - Mr. Roethlisberger's friends, alleged victim's friends, bar employees. There is no doubt the alleged victim increased her vulnerability by consuming large amounts of alcohol. Yes, there are numerous accounts of what actually occurred that night; however, what has been consistently stated by all is the alleged victim was highly intoxicated. If someone had intervened for that reason alone, the evening may have turned out differently.
The alleged victim's friends, who claim they tried to intervene only to be stopped by Mr. Roethlisberger's bodyguards, did not take their concerns to the bar manager. The bar manager, bartender and waitress completely ignored they had an already intoxicated patron, in a VIP area where shots of tequila continued to flow freely. Mr. Roethlisberger's entourage included two off-duty police officers who, given the nature of their jobs, should have known someone so intoxicated most likely couldn't give consent for anything that evening.
It is our hope at PAAR that individuals will recognize potentially dangerous situations and will intervene. If any of the above individuals had stepped in that night, we may have had an entirely different ending to this birthday celebration.
Interim Executive Director, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape