By Malory Green
The team paper on the Steubenville rape case has been the cause of a good deal of controversy in our classroom and in my own mind. The questions we’ve been dealing with range from the actions of the girl, to the actions of the media, to whether or not it should even be termed rape. The question of rape vs. molestation has perhaps been the biggest source of questioning and I’ll paraphrase how Tonya put it so well in an effort to communicate my feelings on the matter.
Essentially, Tonya’s view is that these boys have a better understanding of rape than I did at their age, perhaps even as I do now. They called it rape on all sorts of social media and therefore had full and conscious knowledge of what they were doing.
Another idea that comes into my mind, particularly as I read the blogs that have been written on the matter, is whether or not the media did more harm than good in this situation. As someone who wants to one day join the ranks of mass media, to be a watchdog for the wrong and celebrate the right in the world, what is my role? Where do I need to stand on issues like this? NBC and CNN seemed to be making an attempt (albeit misguided) at unbiased journalism but the public was outraged. Where is the line between things that are absolutely wrongs against humanity and things that have more than one side?
The above pictures represent the different ideas people have. Granted, the one on the left is not victim blaming but it represents the idea that these boys are all around good boys. They’re dressed well, they look remorseful. The look like young boys who are simply terrified about what’s going to happen in their lives. It plays to everyone’s (including my) sympathy. The other picture represents the outrage surrounding such shots.
What makes this paradox so disturbing is the fact that it doesn’t only represent the media’s point of view. Everyone is baffled by this case as our sympathies are torn by the fact that we believe something was taken from that girl (whether you believe it’s rape or not, her dignity was certainly taken) but at the same time, compassion surfaces for the fact that those boys’ lives are ruined.
What they did was wrong. That’s it. Wrong. They should be punished, and I am so happy they are receiving sentences for their crime. So, while part of me is outraged at the act they committed for the sake of that girl and the principle of human kindness but a small part of me also wonders how much of that the boys realized they were doing, particularly in their inebriated state. It’s not an excuse for them, it’s not a request for a lighter sentence-it is simply a sadness all around for the situation.
As far as our research goes, I’ve found a good many blog articles on the topic. Over half seem to be regular bloggers whose opinions on legal matters are well respected, while about 30% are professionals. The theme and tone of these blogs tends to be outrage-outrage at the boys, outrage at the adults who should have been there, outrage at the adults who covered it up, outrage at the media for how they handled it. In my case, its outrage and heartbreak at the situation as a whole.
It’s baffling that the broadcast outlets don’t have anything regarding the case on their sites, it makes one wonder what they’re attempting to hide. The only thing I was able to uncover with broadcast was the fact that Serena Williams made a good many people angry. Of course, then there’s Maria Sharapova who had to chime in on the issue.
I’m sure I should have talked more about the actual research involved, but this case isn’t statistics. It isn’t hard data that I can just analyze and project my theories on to. It’s a human being, it’s three human beings. My research is going well, the blogs posted on the subject range in relevance but are so numerous that it hardly matters. The only difficulty in the project for me at this moment (other than the difficulty finding broadcast media outlets) is reconciling the case itself. That’s what I’m struggling with, and I know we’re all equally disturbed.
Struggle well, friends.
- Steubenville Rape Case-Justice (butheory.wordpress.com)
- Privacy, Rape and the Media (butheory.wordpress.com)
- School Official Arrested For Allegedly Helping Cover Up The Steubenville Rape Case (thinkprogress.org)
- Team Work: Studying the Steubenville High School Rape Case (butheory.wordpress.com)
- First Adult Charged In The Steubenville Rape Case (npr.org)
- More charges in Steubenville rape case (wane.com)
- It’s Not Over! School Employee Accused Of Obstruction In Steubenville Rape Case (DETAILS) (imarashed.com)