Monday, March 18, 2013

Rape Culture

People are often confused by the term "rape culture." The coverage of the Steubenville Rape Trial exemplifies America's rape culture.

The rape trial in Steubenville was pretty straightforward: high school football stars rape a drunk classmate, post about it to social media, text their friends, and try to deny it all later. The evidence shows their guilt- they are rapists. The courts have deemed them guilty. Their statements show their misogyny and their completely flippant attitude towards the horrific act of violence that they committed. Their language was graphic, their photos lewd. They only apologized once they realized that the victim intended to press charges, and their only true lament was that they photographed and documented their actions. They are predators. They deserve to be in prison for far longer than they will be. They deserve no sympathy for the punishment that they received for the sexual assault that will haunt their victim for so many years. They are rapists.

The sick thing is how our rape culture tries to twist the scenario- she shouldn't have had so much to drink, they shouldn't have posted their exploits to social media, they are all young and didn't know what they were doing. This is all b.s. Sure, she shouldn't have been drunk, but this is no excuse to rape. Blaming the victim is a sign of a rape culture- one where rapists are excused and the victims are made out to be the problem. The victims intoxication harmed no one but herself. She would face the consequences of a hangover, of poor health, of social embarassment. Their rape was a direct assault. The only thing it did was to harm an innocent victim. One of the Kansas City news stations called the trial a "lesson in posting to social media." This is just as twisted as blaming the victim- blaming the evidence. How about this is a lesson in not being a rapist?!? Yes, their posts and texts made for easy evidence of guilt, but the wrongdoing was in the original act, not in the evidence that they created. Yes, part of Ohio's rape laws include digital rape- the non-consentual photos- but they also physically raped their victim. And their remorse should be for the action, not for the fact that digital media and social media was what caught them.

We as a society need to stop rape culture. We need to stop blaming victims. We need to stop caring about the fate of the football players who violently assaulted a young woman. We need to start caring about the future of that young woman- the victim.

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