Women don’t matter in Steubenville, Ohio

Have you guys been following the Steubenville rape case? In case you haven’t, in a nutshell: a teenage girl in Steubenville, Ohio, accused several 16-year-old classmates, who happened to be on the high school football team, of sexually assaulting her, of taking pictures and videos of said assault, and of distributing them around her school. The girl was drunk, which of course brought all the victim-blamers out. The whole thing would have been shoved under the rug if not for one blogger, who was incredibly tenacious and smart enough to take screen shots of the horrifying videos and pictures that the boys shared. Months after the events transpired, the New York Times did a story on it, which finally drew the attention of enough people that the town decided to take it seriously.

After a very short trial, which required bringing in a judge from outside the town, and which was decided without a jury, the judge declared two boys guilty.

You would think that this, of all the cases in the world, would be a slam-dunk case. The girl was so drunk that she could stand up. She threw up several times. In one of the videos, she was being literally carried from house to house. When she woke up the next morning she didn’t remember any of it.

And yet! You can never underestimate the ability of people to treat a woman like absolute shit when it comes to this kind of thing. The blog Public Shaming has two — TWO! — posts documenting the slut shaming that apparently normal people feel is appropriate to toss on this girl. The one that particularly kills me is one @truthwatcher posted on Twitter. “If Steubenville victim was so innocent she wld hve been puking all over herself after drinking bottle of vodka — political correctness sucks.” So…I’m not even sure what this person is saying. She was drunk, but not drunk enough to throw up, so it’s ok that these boys raped her? 

I realize that I live in a bubble. I live in an incredibly liberal city, my friends are all well-educated feminists. But, seriously? People believe this?

Last week Zerlina Maxwell was enveloped in a cloud of controversy when she went on CNN and told men not to rape women.

All my life I’ve read those tip sheets about how not to get raped. Don’t have long hair, don’t have short hair, don’t go out alone, don’t drink, don’t wear short skirts, don’t don’t don’t don’t. We never, ever actually just tell men, “Hey, how about you don’t rape women?”

One thing I love to death about the kink community is the fact that, for the most part, communication is paramount. The idea of consent culture, of recognizing rape culture, of talking about problems in the community and ostracizing the assholes who don’t follow the rules, these are all things that I never read before I started researching kink. (Two blogs I can’t recommend highly enough for informing yourself about all this stuff, from kink to culture and everything in between, are Yes Means Yes andThe Pervocracy.)

I don’t really know what I meant to say here. I’m just horrified that we still have people who see the result of a trial where two boys took a girl who who was so drunk she couldn’t stand, couldn’t walk, couldn’t consent and raped her , then TOOK PICTURES and video of it and spread it around the school and instead of asking what kind of culture created these monsters, and what resources are available for the mental and physical injuries this girl has sustained…instead they mourn the ruined lives of the rapists.

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