Steubenville, Ohio is a town that was put on the map because of very publicized rape case. On August 11, 2012 a high school girl was repeatedly raped by her peers while incapacitated by alcohol; the whole ordeal was documented by other students via video cameras on phones and twitter. She was raped by two of her classmates, Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond. (Valenti) She was seen leaving the party she was at with four football player. During the car ride to one of the football player’s house the victim’s shirt was removed, revealing her breasts, and Mays’ used his fingers to penetrate her vagina, also called digital penetration. (Oppel, Jr.) She was photographed during this. Once at ...view middle of the document...
In a text to a friend, he said "I shoulda [sic] raped her now that everybody thinks I did.” Mays had even texted the victim that she should thank him for staying with her the whole night. (Valenti)
The most disturbing part of this whole case was the public’s reaction of the self-proclaimed, “rape crew”. (Nodianos) The fact that nobody involved saw anything wrong with what was going on. They treated this girl’s rape as a joke. The phrase “boys will be boys” comes into mind during times like this. A student who was seen earlier taking away another student’s car keys because they were drunk, stated that he didn’t even think what was happening was even rape because she was unconscious and it wasn’t violent. (Valenti) This shows the definite lack of education around consent and what constitutes as consensual sex. With more educational campaigns, students who are responsible, good people would know what was right and wrong when it comes to sex.
Unfortunately this train of thought wasn’t limited to just the students. The boy’s football coach texted Mays and made the whole thing seem like a joke and that it wasn’t a big deal. (Oppel, Jr.) The New York Times quoted the coach talking about how the victim had made it all up because she had stayed out too late, got drunk, and regretted it. (Valenti) A lot of locals blamed her for being raped and for casting their football team in a negative life. Two females were charged for threatening the victim over twitter after the incident was brought to light. (Reese)
It was CNN’s coverage of the case that was the most appalling though. Poppy Harlow stated on air:
Incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart...when that sentence came down, [Ma'lik] collapsed in the arms of his attorney...He said to him, 'My life is over. No one is going to want me now.’ (Harlow)
The coverage of this case verged on becoming a parody. (Edwards)
It doesn’t matter that they were only teenagers. It doesn’t matter that their “bright futures” were ruined. It doesn’t matter that they cried in court. What matter is that they raped a girl and what they did to her life. There are no excuses for this.
Unfortunately, the Steubenville case is not untypical and illustrates what is wrong with how sexual assault is handled. It is estimated that someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the United States. (Planty, and Truman) According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2003, nine of every ten rape victims were female. Those are frightening statistics and that is just one form of violence against women practiced today. Violence against women is a violation of a woman’s basic human rights. The U.N. states in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women that:
Recognizing that violence against women is a...