Thoughts on Preliminary Findings

Thoughts on Preliminary Findings

Kids in Steubenville are in some serious need of social technology education. First, the boys film and post the video to all realm of social media. Second, kids comment and tweet about it, some even threatening the victim. Third, the victim allegedly sends a text message to the perpetrator and says that she knows he didn’t rape her.

What are they thinking?

You would think that they would get the message (due to the thousands of cases in which this type of technological ignorance has landed teens like themselves in tons of trouble) by now to keep it off the internet and off their phones. If the United States possesses the ability to detonate a bomb 7,000 miles away with the push of a button, do we not think they have the ability to read our text messages? Come on, our parents have the ability to do that.

This is what has been on my mind since Tuesday, and it’s something that came up over and over again in the blogs I was coding. There’s a growing movement in schools to impose some sort of technological education program and I am all for it. Kids need to know that they are digging their own graves (so to speak) when they post this type of thing. If we can just get them to think before they post, this type of thing wouldn’t happen.


But I digress. After all, this case isn’t about technological ignorance. The victim would still be a victim regardless of whether or not one word had ever been posted online. They are two different issues but one cannot separate. We wouldn’t know about this case if it were not for the indiscretions of a few teenagers. The boys probably wouldn’t be in jail. The victim would be just that, a victim, not a household idea (I say idea because we do not know her name, no thanks to FOX). In fact, she wouldn’t even know what exactly happened if it had not been posted.

After discussing our findings, I am grateful for a few things. One, it doesn’t seem as though the victim was framed too harshly or even at all. In all the blogs I coded, she was addressed as a 16 year old girl, a victim, etc. None every made her out to be anything but what she is, despite the mistakes she made that night that put her in the situation from the beginning. The boys carried it out and they are the ones who should and are being punished but this is another education issue that can and should be addressed. Have a plan, girls. Don’t rely on boys to be gentlemen because if Steubenville is any indication, they won’t be.

I’m also grateful that they named it rape, though her text message certainly poses some question to that effect. When I was coding, one of the scenes that continued to be described over and over again was the verdict coming down and Richmond collapsing into the arms of his attorney. He understood, in that moment, that he was going to be held responsible for his actions.

steubenville 3This picture is clear justice and heartbreaking at the same time. This 17 year old kid has been informed that his crime is recognized for what it is and he is going to be punished. He will be forever placed on the National Sex Offender Registry. He will be ostracized, placed in juvenile detention, and forever defined by his actions. The technology in this case is something to be thankful for, as the verdict could be delivered with little question. However, in the days before all of the technology, I do wonder how this case would have gone differently given all the same facts and evidence.

After receiving the information for our coding, reading the blogs and trying to piece together what actually happened, one thing is clear. There is much that we don’t know about this case; and I believe we will continue to learn things that will surprise us. The boys are on the National Sex Offender Registry for life, the victim is trying to heal from a traumatic event that she doesn’t remember (probably making it even worse), adults are being charged for acting like children and “not telling,” and the poor investigators on this case are trying to get through it all.

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