To anyone who may be sensitive to anything dealing with sexual assault, you may not want to read this post due to triggers.
After the guilty verdict came down on the Steubenville rapists a lot has been said about the dangers of social media, ruining of lives, justice, girls partying and bad parenting. But what good does this do any of us? This isn’t about the dangers of social media, if people didn’t intentionally hurt others there wouldn’t be a danger of social media conversation taking place. Those rapists’ lives weren’t ruined because of a verdict, their lives hit a temporary roadblock because they made the choice to rape someone and traumatize her. Their actions were deliberate, they knew exactly what they were doing; athleticism doesn’t absolve them of that and the fact that anyone would sympathize with these young men sickens me.
Just because this rape happened at a party doesn’t change the fact that most rapes occur inside the victim’s home. I don’t want to hear about why didn’t Jane Doe’s parents protect their daughter, I want to hear about the parents of the rapists and why didn’t they teach their sons that rape was wrong.
Saying that we want these young men to suffer and be raped in jail only contributes to rape culture, though I understand where that anger and sense of revenge comes from. However justice won’t be done until these young men are reformed and become symbols that can be used to combat rape culture. Justice won’t be done until all survivors like Jane Doe have the full support of our society and don’t need to fear for their lives just because they get drunk; it won’t be done until she’s able to look at the world without seeing a threat around every corner.
So once you’re done reading I ask you for just a few things, reader:
1. Do not wish these young men any harm, hope for their reformation and work to promote a better tomorrow. Don’t teach the young women in your life to not be raped, teach the young men in your life to not rape.
2. Just because you don’t wish these young men any harm, do not sympathize with them. They only cried and begged for mercy after the verdict came down, that counts for nothing. They knew what they were doing and continued with their actions, just because they’re good at sports doesn’t mean they didn’t commit a crime. Sign this petition and share it, show the world that there is no sympathy for rapists.
3. Work on redefining masculinity. There is nothing wrong with it when it doesn’t hurt anyone but hegemonic masculinity hurts everyone. It encourages violence and abusive control of women, it forces men to fit into a gender norm that molds young males into abusive, controlling, entitled, unfeeling predators. This calls for change.
Often we ask ourselves, when is enough going to be enough. We can’t ignore the answer that stares us in the face, enough is enough when we say it is.