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Media Rundown on Steubenville from ThinkProgress.org: It’s Her Fault

Left-leaning Think Progress posted an excellent and highly instructive series of paragraphs today (with clear documentation) on how various national media outlets chose to report on the verdict handed down yesterday in the Steubenville sexual assault case.

CNN, ABC and NBC all focused primarily on the promising careers and positive aspects of the convicted teenagers. USA Today and the Associated Press focused on the fact that the victim was drunk, as if she were frankly complicit in bringing on what happened to her.

Yahoo, though, went the furthest in blaming her, suggesting that her choice to report being repeatedly sexually violated, filmed and humiliated, was to blame for tearing the town apart.

So it’s her fault for “ruining the lives” of such promising young athletes. Her fault for being drunk. Her fault for coming forward and “tearing a town apart.”

And we wonder why so few victims report.




  1. ksf says:

    Roger, this is from the Yahoo sports article: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/highschool–steubenville-high-school-football-players-found-guilty-of-raping-16-year-old-girl-164129528.html

    “Rape, experts say, is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying all of that is arrogance, and in Steubenville it was taken to the extreme.

    Throughout this trial, the two defendants and a parade of friends who wound up mostly testifying against the defendants, expressed little understanding of rape – let alone common decency or respect for women. Despite the conviction, the defendants likely don’t view themselves as rapists, at least not the classic sense of a man hiding in the shadows.

    “It wasn’t violent,” explained teammate Evan Westlake when asked why he didn’t stop the two defendants as they abused a non-moving girl that Westlake knew to be highly intoxicated. “I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.”

    That was part of the arrogance.

    Arrogance from the defendants. Arrogance from the friends. Arrogance within the culture.

    Arrogance based on the fact that this night, witnesses testified over and over, wasn’t strikingly different than any other night in the life of a Big Red football player.”

    How is that blaming the victim? What I took from the Yahoo article was that these two football players displayed the same arrogance and lack of respect for women that the Stuebenville culture does. The reason all these media outlets mention that she was drunk was because that was the prosecutor’s theory of the case. She was too drunk to consent. Without mentioning that fact, then idiots would ask, “Well, did she ever say “No?””

    With regards to listing all the good characteristics about these convicted rapists, I think it sends a powerful message to parents, high school students, and college students. This can happen to you no matter how rich, promising, young, or athletically talented you are. If you sexually touch any woman who you witness puking no less than two times, then you will be a registered sex offender.

    While you and I may disagree on the amount of alcohol a woman may ingest and still be able to consent, I think we would agree that if you witness a person throw up because of drinking, then that person is incapable of consenting until the next morning, a few cups of coffee, and a long shower.

    As a prosecutor in the Army, I tried a male Captain who had sex with a male Specialist. Captain said it was consensual and that the Specialist was into it. Captain also admitted that he saw the Specialist throw up three times prior to the sodomy, which was corroborated by a witness. I could never understand the urgent attraction to a drunk person who reeks of vomit, except that the accused is trying to satisfy himself before the victim sobers up and is able to express a lack of consent. That’s argument that resulted in the Captain getting convicted a dismissal, and 4 years confinement.

    I’d like to say that justice was done in the Steubenville case, but unfortunately, these boys were tried as juveniles. That’s the real story. Why didn’t the independent prosecutor try them as adults?

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