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We Can’t Let ‘Steubenville Heal’ If Their Teens Are Threatening A Rape Victim And The Media Is Blaming Her

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BFs8PVmCQAA80gV.png-largeThe Steubenville rape victim death threats are probably not a serious threat, but they are an ugly reminder of victim blaming by Steubenville residents and the media, At the conclusion of the trial the other day, attorney general Mike DeWine and others said that Steubenville needs time to heal. I understand that, I get that. Especially if the grand jury investigation leads to more arrests for adults who hosted parties where the teens drank illegally or charges are brought up against the beloved Big Red Football Coach Reno Saccoccia. The city needs to heal, but how can they heal if after the verdict was announced charging Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond some of the town’s teens took to social media, yet again, and made threats against a 16-year-old girl who just had her rapists committed to a juvenile facility? I’ve seen some of the Tweets posted where people, young and old alike, are unhappy with the verdict. People need to vent, they need to be able to do this in any way they wish, but what they don’t need to be doing is posting messages like:

“I’ll celebrate by beating the shit out of Jane Doe.”

 

“You ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry, so when I see you bitch it’s going to be a homicide.”

 

The two girls, age 16 and 15, have been arrested and are being held in the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center, and Sheriff Fred Abdalla appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss the treats. Also on AC360, the mother of the Jane Doe rape victim made a heart-wrenching plea on behalf of her daughter:

“My family and I are hopeful that we can put this whole ordeal behind us. We need and deserve to focus on our daughter’s future. We hope that from this something good can arise. I feel I have an opportunity to bring an awareness to others, possibly change the mentality of a youth or help a parent to have more of an awareness to where their children are and what they are doing. The adults need to take responsibility and guide these children. I ask every person listening, what if this was your daughter, your sister or your friend?  We need to stress the importance of helping those in need and to stand up for what is right. We all have that option to choose. This is the start of a new beginning for my daughter. I ask that you all continue to pray for her and all victims and please respect our privacy as we help our family to heal. Thank you.”

I know some residents from Steubenville and they are appalled at how the  young victim continues to be treated on social media and in the press. Every day it seems like I’m made aware of a website where someone posts that :

Two young men now have their lives forever ruined by a felony record because a 16-year-old girl went to a party and, according to testimony, didn’t loudly and clearly say “no” to sexual activity.  Yet a judge elected to forever tarnish the lives of two young men who saw a seemingly willing participant.

And this:

Why don’t we have a dumb fucking whore registry? Now that would be justice.

The law in Ohio states that ANY penetration, however slight, constitutes rape.  Let’s start there.  Comparing a stupid, drunk, helmet-chasing whore who gets fingered while passed out to an actual rape victim is completely and utterly absurd.

And no, I’m not going to link to either website where these two doozies were posted because I refuse to give these psychopaths traffic.

The case in Steubenville is just a reminder that this is a problem all over, that in the crimes of rape, victims are continuously victimized by either being called an outright “whore” or by the gentle inquisitions made “Well, are you sure you didn’t want to have sex with your rapist?”

And it’s not just teens or bloggers on the internet who have the attitude that somehow the victim is to blame for her rape. We have seen this same attitude from “serious” news outlets who have been reporting the case from Steubenville. How can anyone anywhere be expected to teach our kids about rape and victim blaming when some of the most “respected names in news” are doing the same exact thing?

I’m 100% for “letting Steubenville heal.” I think we need people willing to stand up and help the decent residents there talk to their kids about rape and underage drinking and social media and how to treat each other if they suspect one of them is in danger. We need to do this all over the world! But when confronted with the ugly truth that if people are so consumed with blaming the victim and even threatening her life, it’s hard to find a starting point to bring healing to a community that so desperately needs it.

(Image: Ms. Foundation)