Feeling for a victim

(Trigger warning for discussion of a legal case involving sexual assault)

I think I’ve mentioned before that I live in Ohio.

if not, well, now you know.

Ohio’s been watched closely recently due to a case in Steubenville.  You may have heard of it.  A sexual assault case involving a 16 year old girl and two high school boys (16 & 17). 

I tried my best not to follow it.  I’m not dumb.  I knew it would be triggery.  But I have friends who discussed it frequently on Facebook and my paralegal mind couldn’t just scroll past without kicking in a couple thoughts.

It went safely, relatively undisturbed until last night.

The verdict came in over the weekend.  Guilty.  I was…I don’t want to use the word “happy” but closer to a satisfied relief.  And the media has been flipping out for the most part.  Talking about how these boy’s lives are “ruined”.

Excuse me???

No.  They CHOSE to ruin their own lives the moment they DRAGGED a girl around and violated her.  They encouraged other students to not only watch, but PHOTOGRAPH this vile act.

The many articles I’ve scrolled through disturb me by how little they talk of how the victim has been brutalized.  There are even articles that are annoyed at her desire to remain anonymous (the defense attorneys started that bitch-fest). 
A girl who doesn’t want the world breathing down her neck after such an act? 

Wow, gee, yes, that is just selfish of her.

The reason the girl desperately had to shield herself, in my opinion, was incited by the media frenzy that happened over the past 6 months.  I don’t consider myself a particular sect, politically (i.e. conservative or liberal), but it was just disturbing to see the media (yes, mostly liberal) just go crazy with accusations and ideas that were not true.

I’m not a crazy fan of Breibart, but they wrote a decent article regarding the media frenzy.

No, there was no gang rape.

No, nobody urinated on her or dumped her unconscious body on her parent’s lawn.

No, the entire football-centered town was not under a fog of conspiracy.

But a girl was sexually violated, she was photographed being carried like a sack of potatoes by her rapists, and they were hundreds of nasty, graphic texts being sent all over the student body regarding what was done to her.

Yes, she was drunk.  And it was argued how much of that liquor was of her own desire.  There were even two female classmates who said something to the effect of “well, she liked drinking frequently” as a cause for being violated.

Apparently an interest in liquor now means a woman should deserve sexual assault.

I know my brief but angry stab at the media on Facebook last night upset some of my friends but I find it very interesting that they were all
-(straight) male friends
-very into sports (especially football)
-popular in high school
-tend to use alcohol as an excuse for dumb behavior (not assault, but other stupid shit)

I don’t want to say there’s a conspiracy or anything as paranoid as that.  But there is a pattern.  I wanted to message them privately and say “Have you ever been raped or sexually violated against your will?  Then STFU”.

But I am a private person about that side of me. 

So I poor my anger out on here.

And hope that it can cool my heart and heal the fracturing that’s been done.

11 thoughts on “Feeling for a victim

  1. sortaginger

    The “slut-shaming” that goes on, and continues to go on, in this country is disgusting. No other crime puts as much blame on the victim’s supposed circumstances as sexual assualts, for female and male victims. And don’t even get me started on the “apologies” that were issued. Just reading mainstream news outlets makes me sad and scared for victims. And people wonder why these crimes aren’t reported every time?

    1. Pen Post author

      It is absolutely disgusting to me. I don’t know if I could have the strength of will do go through such a case. I only hope the victim is able keep going. I know it will never be the same for her, but I do wish that she can get the support and healing she needs.

  2. mintythings

    I’m almost scared to read/watch any of the actual media coverage. So far I’ve just heard secondhand how awful it’s been. It’s stunning just how unwilling some people are to believe that rapists actually deserve to be punished. Even when there’s no doubt at all about what they did, people still act like it’s a “tragic” false accusation ruining an innocent person’s life.
    Though I have to say, the people who are going “I hope they get raped in prison” are really not much better. I was pretty disappointed to hear one of my friends say that. Not that I have much sympathy for them, but our prison system is fucked up and that’s not a good thing.

    1. Pen Post author

      That is a very harsh statement, even for a convicted sex offender.

      What bothers me are the people who are upset about the boys having to register as sex offenders. They stuff such as “Omg, they have to register as a sex offender???”

      Yes. They do. They committed A CRIME. In this country, you get punished for that (if things go the right way). In Ohio, yes the sex offender’s laws are harsher than some, but they didn’t get put on it underage consumption of alcohol.
      They’re on it because they brutally violated a girl against her will.

      And yet, they’re still only going to jail for 2 years or less and won’t even be registered on the semi-permanent sex offender list.

      That victim will live with this event for the rest of her life.

  3. vwoopvwoop

    i have been trying to avoid this story too, but it has been everywhere. it’s completely disgusting that the media have been focusing on the perpetrators like they are poor misguided little children who didn’t mean any harm and are now going to be punished because a vindictive young girl overreacted. yeah, NO, that isn’t what happened. she was assaulted and mocked and they clearly thought that they would get away with their actions despite posting evidence of it to many social network avenues. these boys have been raised in a world that let them believe that they could do whatever they wanted and that a drunk girl is the equivalent of “asking for it.” and the media frenzy seems to be in the same mindset. basically, pen, i am with you on this and it disgusts me how the world is reacting by talking about the poor boys crying in the courtroom as though that should absolve them of any “accidental” wrongs. their wrongs were purposeful, and yes, they SHOULD cry, but for her, not for themselves.

    i am so glad they were found guilty. but i am so disappointed in the way so many are turning them into martyrs to the cause of inexplicable feminism. as though young women only have rights when they dress a certain way and are sober. as though the entire country agrees with these little buttheads that an inebriated girl is no longer a person with rights and deserves whatever happens. ugh, it’s just maddening. the mindset is almost more disgusting than the act.

    they did a bad thing and they are getting the consequences. that’s all there is to it.

    1. Pen Post author

      I wish I could avoid it. Unfortunately, it’s all small-town Ohio talks about lately -_-

      I think we need to stop teaching the stupid mantra of “no means no” and teach instead “ONLY yes means yes”. Stop saying “oh she was drunk, she was dressed slutty, she walked into a bedroom with him, she kissed him earlier, she held his hand, she joked about it, she’s not a virgin, she’s done it before, etc, etc.”

      None of those are “yes”.

      And yes, the rapists are boys/young men with good grades, promising futures, good sons, etc.

      But they are also *rapists*. And there SHOULD be consequences. Just like they chose to play football, they also chose to pin a barely conscious girl down and violate her.
      That should result in punishment. End of story.

  4. kate1975

    It all is deeply disturbing and I have avoided a lot about it. I find it all unfathomable that males feel free, this day and age, to speak so hatefully about females. And for our male centered culture to tolerate, allow, and perpetuate this kind of misogyny in our world.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    1. Pen Post author

      It really it disturbing the amount of rape media and culture that is still at a level of utter dismissal and judgment on the victim. It just discourages anyone stepping forward and taking a stand at all.

      1. kate1975

        Hi Pen,

        You are right, that is what it does, and that sure makes it seem to be something society and our culture does/conspires on purpose.

        Good and healing thoughts to you.


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