The Steubenville rape case has made a lot of people angry. For the acts committed against the victim? No, that the victim came forward in the first place. Steubenville residents are outraged that this girl accused a few good ol’ boys of sexual assault despite hard evidence in the form of tweets and video as well as verbal confessions and pictures. The day after the trial ended, two teenage girls were arrested for making threats against the victim and a slew of couches and other members of the community are under investigation for trying to cover up the situation.
I have a fire in my belly. Since hearing about this event a few months ago, I was disturbed beyond belief that a group of teenage boys could not only fathom committing the acts they did, but actually go through with them while simultaneously tweeting and photographing their actions. What could have been going through their minds when they were tweeting and snapping photos? I know if I commit a crime, I will certainly be wearing a full body glove and a hair net to prevent any sign I was ever there. But this is the important clue in this seemingly complex case: these boys did not understand the severity of their actions.
Football stars in their small dusty town, these boys have been put on a pedestal, probably sailed through classes despite any academic issues just because they had to be a part of the team. They thought themselves untouchable. They also probably did not see what they were doing was wrong. After all, all they had to do was turn on the television to see that women are just objects to be used and abused or read the newspaper to see how little jail time a sex offender gets compared to someone selling pot.
It is appalling to me that even though there is a video that shows a GROUP of boys talking about the events, only two of them were on trial. Furthermore, not one of them stood up for the victim. This could easily be dismissed as “group think”, going with the flow, but troublesome nonetheless.
Sunday saw the two boys found guilty of rape, one also guilty of distributing nude images of a minor. Yes, justice was served. But wait. They only received one year for the crime they committed and in juvenile court no less. Is this fair? No. Should people be angry? Yes. These boys should have been tried in adult court because they committed a very adult crime.
Their lawyers and supporters keep pushing the fact that they had been drinking and that somehow effected their judgement If they had been so drunk that their moral judgement was so clouded that they committed these terrible acts, they would not have been able to articulate themselves properly in the “after party” video.
To add fuel to this overwhelmingly huge fire, CNN‘s broadcast from the courtroom moments are the conviction has sparked outrage because the reporters were sympathizing with the rapists. Claiming that these promising young men’s lives would never be the same while never mentioning how the victim will never again trust men or the adults that were supposed to be protecting her.
To say that I am angry is an understatement. Anger usually gets people nowhere, and there are certainly plenty of raw emotionally charged rants out there regarding this case. But, anger motivates people and something needs to be done. There is still a group of boys who have yet to be held accountable for their actions along with a plethora of education officials and coaches who tried to cover the assault up to save their precious football team.
What does this say about our society? What are we teaching our children about what is right and wrong? This happened in 2013 when things are supposed to be better for women and yet boys who weren’t even born when things like marital rape was still legal or date rape was just something that happened, committed such a heinous crime. Where did they learn that it was OK to rape a girl, think her dead and not care?
Watching the footage of the two boys tearful apologies, I felt no other emotion except disgust. Not because boys were showing emotion ( I believe in men and boys crying instead of holding in their emotions) but because I do not believe they were crying for the right reasons. They were sad they got caught and sad that their future employers will take their convictions into consideration before hiring them.
Rape and culture do not belong in the same sentence. Things like this need to not happen. Teach your sons not to rape instead of teaching your daughters how not to get raped.