Since last week when I first discovered the disturbing rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, the Atlantic Wire has been very busy indeed. At this time, they have a whole series of articles on the situation available here.
While on the surface, the rape itself is horrendous and we must assume these particular young men are innocent until they are either proven, or plead guilty. Sometimes, it is difficult for us not to make assumptions about guilt and the media (including bloggers) can blow things out of proportion. However we do know that 2 young men have been charged and a preliminary hearing is set for February 13.
The police have claimed that very few people will come forward as witnesses, and this is impeding the case. It is almost sure that people were in a position to stop the crime, or at least report it, and no one did.
It is upsetting enough that two men felt raping an unconscious woman was appropriate action. What makes this case worse, is the acceptance of the crime by people because the perpetrators are football players. Privilege comes in many forms; in this instance, the privilege comes from a misplaced sense of community pride based upon the prowess of the high school football team.
Slut shaming victims and excusing rapists is a worldwide problem. It’s not just in Steubenville or India, it’s here, and it needs to stop.