The Take-Home Message from the Steubenville Trial

18 Mar

by Kat Kelley

I have felt nauseous all day, reading countless new sites fail to appropriately cover the Steubenville rape trial. Fox News outed the victim, using her real name and CNN lamented that the perpetrators’ lives would be ruined, highlighting their talent in the classroom and on the field. 

I feel nauseous and yet wholly unsurprised, for this is a tale as old as time. This is our rape culture. This is not Steubenville, this is America. This case may be a hyperbole, but it is not isolated.

This exemplifies all the classic rape myths- from “she was asking for it” to “he didn’t mean to.” This is supposed to be what society demands out of rape, what they’ll classify as “legitimate” or “forcible” rape: multiple perpetrators, base humiliation and dehumanization of the victim, heteronormative, and undeniable EVIDENCE. Yet today, we failed, not CNN or Fox, but us, as a society, failed. As we fail everyday, today we failed in a disgustingly brutal and public way by victim blaming and slut shaming, pitying the perpetrators who truly never believed they’d get caught or be held accountable, and excusing the bystanders who tweeted and taped the incident, laughed and encouraged, or who walked away just murmuring that he’d see his teammates on Monday.

I feel nauseous and exhausted and heartbroken. There is no need for me to tell you what hundreds of articles and blogs have already written. I merely ask you to watch and learn, and to realize that this happens here, that this is endemic, that we are not exempt.


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