[Trigger warning: rape, rape culture, victim-blaming]
I was honestly surprised to learn that two of the boys heroes football players men charged in the Steubenville rape case had been convicted (albeit sentenced to paltry terms with the possibility of serving longer).
I was honestly completely unsurprised to read posts about the response to this. Including CNN acting like the real problem was that two promising football careers had been destroyed, people tweeting that the men involved “did what most people in their situation would have done“, that one of the rapists felt the need to apologise for taking pictures and distributing them because “that never should have happened” … but not for actually assaulting her in the first place. Doesn’t that sound a little “sorry I got caught” to you?
I was pleasantly surprised to see Serious Mainstream Media Sources acknowledge that this is rape culture, and that it’s linked to jock/bloke culture, and that it’s not an inherent, natural phenomenon. (It’s not perfect but it’s a start.)
So there’s some hope there.
Rape culture taught these young men that because they were on the football team, they were faultless – and their coach would “fix” anything that happened. Rape culture taught these young men that an unconscious woman’s body was theirs to penetrate. Rape culture taught these young men that they had the right to bargain and plead with their victim because their football careers were more important than acknowledging they violated her. Rape culture means they were tried as juveniles. Rape culture means that even with public video evidence of what happened, their lawyers let them plead not guilty.
Rape culture means that even when it is unequivocally rape – because even a court of law has said so – people will defend these men on Twitter because “they did what most people in their situation would have done.”
Want more? Manboobz is covering the victim-blaming on Twitter. Black Girl Dangerous has a thought-provoking post on why you can feel sorry for Mays and Richmond … but for different reasons. Two more Steubenville teens (young women) have now been arrested for menacing the victim. Mmmm, delicious culture.
Rape Culture 101. I suggest you read it before commenting.