When a woman is raped, it is the ultimate violation. In the Steubenville case, it was particularly heinous. Not only was it by people she knew and trusted, Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, it was then posted to social media sites as though it was a comic joke. When did the moral fiber of the United States deteriorate to such a remarkably low level? When did rape become something that was so casual that anyone would feel sympathetic or even empathic to the criminals? The victim, referred to in the media as Jane Doe, will never be the same. She has suffered the ultimate betrayal by male friends, who RAPED her, as well as her peers and 'friends' who stood by and watched or worse, videoed it and posted it the social media sites, as they all laughed about it. How does this girl begin to recover? How does she ever heal when she is being blamed for the conviction of two football stars? She has been humiliated by her community, the fellow students at her school. At sixteen, this is her world.
The simple fact that two local football players could choose to rape a fellow student, publically no less, then garner the sympathy of their community, is beyond unfathomable. These boys and all the bystanders knew this was wrong. They knew it was a crime. They knew it was morally defunct. They chose to do it. THEY CHOSE TO RAPE THIS GIRL! They chose to video it. The fact that no one came to her aid, is cowardly, frightening, and unacceptable! It is criminal. The fact that the children involved in the incident laughed about it afterwards is beyond comprehension. They laughed until they were caught, that is. Remorse because you were caught, is not remorse at all. It deserves no sympathy. It is selfish. Tears because they were caught is not about what they did to Jane Doe or the fact that she will carry this with her for the rest of her life. It is about how it affects them and their future. They are NOT the victims. They are paying for their crime, an adult crime with a juvenile punishment, one and two years in juvenile detention. After what they did, they should consider themselves lucky.
Now, children in the community are publically tweeting threats to Jane Doe and arrests have been made. These misguided children must have consequences. What possibly could be their justification? Where are the parents? Why don't these children understand that it's not okay to rape, no matter who you are? It's disgusting!
With all Jane Doe has been through, as the verdict became public across the nation, she was once again forgotten, this time in the media. The tag line on news programs was the loss of a future for two boys who had so much promise, not that two criminals were paying for their crimes. One must not forget that these two boys committed a crime, a crime that will change Jane Doe's life forever. How could educated national news WOMEN, Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow, report the verdict with such empathetic voices? Justice was served! There was a guilty verdict. With all she has to deal with in the coming days, months, and years, the victim finally got a tiny bit of closure, until she was once again victimized by the media.
It should be obvious and without question that it is never okay to rape. It is not something you stand by and watch. It is not something you video tape. It is not something at which you laugh. All of those actions are simply vile. The fact that it has been viewed this way by so many is a call to action that we as a country have to raise our moral and ethical standards and basic view of right and wrong. We must, as parents, teachers, and communities, enforce consequences. We have to think about one another and practice kindness. We have to teach our children that life is not all about them; it is about communities, the country, and the world as well. It is about every individual meeting their potential with the purpose of making this world a better place in their own way and having the best opportunities to do so...and if you violate someone else's rights, you will face the consequences. The sense of entitlement that children and many adults feel, never excuses their immoral and criminal acts.