Cybersilk, pt. 5 – Steubenville

Trigger warning: rape, rape culture.

Steubenville, OH. Two teenagers, football stars, one white, one black, have been sentenced as juveniles in the rape of a teenage girl in Steubenville, a town now torn by the national spotlight.

CNN lamented the damage done to the boys promising careers as athletes, without barely a mention of the victim.

Henry Rollins observed that “this is a failure on many levels. Parents, teachers, coaches, peers all come into play here.” In terms of the light sentencing he said: “I understand the anger but don’t know if adding a decade onto their sentences would be of any benefit. To me, the problem that needs to be addressed is where in the information chain were the two offenders made to understand that what they did was not wrong on every possible level?”

Mia McKenzie addressed rape culture directly. “Rape culture has us always blaming women for rape, whether it’s because of how we’re dressed or how much we drink or whatever. […] It’s sickening. Really, it is.” She also address our terrifying failure as a society to rehabilitate convicted criminals: “They will not likely emerge from prison as two well-adjusted men who respect women and understand that sexual assault against them is not okay. That’s not what prison does for people.”

And it’s not just CNN:


Tragicomically this all sounds a lot like an Onion story from two years ago: “his greatest achievement came off the court in his freshman year when he overcame the trauma of committing a terrible rape.”

What are the effects of rape culture? Among other things, two more arrests have been made in Steubenville: two teenage girls who threatened the rape victim after her assailants were sentenced.

CNN isn’t directly to blame for any of this, but the egregiously contributed to the culture in which there is sympathy for the rapists and the victim of rape is punished. As Rollins said “It is ironic and sad that the person who is going to do a life sentence is her.”

Petitions calling on CNN to apologize can be found HERE and HERE. Sign both. That’s not sufficient, but it is a start.

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