Steubenville Horror – Does Anybody Really Care?

*** Warning — There are some graphic terms in this post, as there were in a previous post — not because I approve of such language, but because I felt I needed to refute it. 

For the past few days, I’ve been writing about what I refer to as the Steubenville Horror. When I heard about this heartbreaking rape, my heart was flooded with a mixture of emotions, and there were seven questions that arose from those emotions that I was compelled to address.

  • What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
  • What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
  • Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
  • Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
  • When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined? 
  • How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
  • How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?

I’ve addressed the first four questions in previous posts, which are listed at the bottom under “Related Articles,” and tonight, I will address the fifth question on my list:

When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined?

Image Credit:
DefendWomensRights.org

I addressed the parents of all of the Steubenville teens who attended the now infamous parties on August 11, 2011, but now I want to extend my post to include all of the adults who reside in Steubenville, Ohio and beyond. I have to tell you that I am blown away by the number of adults from this town, as well as journalists express so much sympathy for these young men whose lives, which showed such promise, are supposedly ruined by the verdict.

Image Credit: http://d22r54gnmuhwmk.cloudfront.net/ photos/0/he/gt/flHeGtgYPJaTaXs-556×313-noPad.jpg

Excuse me — were they the victims of a crime? As far as I can see, these two young men received a merciful sentence for their unmerciful crime against “Jane Doe,” a sixteen year old girl with a real name, who was raped by these two “promising young men.” And I don’t mean to sound heartless, but I’m calling it as I see it… Those two “promising young men” apologized and cried only after they were found guilty by a court of law. Prior to their arrest, if you’ll recall, they were quite proud and cocky about their actions, judging from their own tweets and posts on social media.

As overwhelmed as I am by the outpouring of sympathy for the two “promising young men,” I am truly underwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy for a sixteen year old girl, who was not only physically raped by those two “promising young men,” but emotionally raped by them as well, as they posted nude pictures of her and called her all sorts of crude names — such as:

  • Whore — dictionary.com defines whore as a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet… 

    • According to this definition, a whore is a woman — this was a sixteen year old girl.
    • This girl did not engage in promiscuous sexual intercourse with these “promising young men” for money or any other reason — they raped her.
    • This  girl did not consent to have promiscuous sexual intercourse, therefore as I stated before, these “promising young men” raped her.
  • Bitch — dictionary.com defines bitch as a female dog…
    • As I have stated before, this girl is not a female dog — she is a human girl, one who has human feelings and emotions, one who should be treated with honor, dignity and respect, no matter how drunk she got that night.
  • Slut — dictionary.com defines slut as an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.
    • Although the defendants’ attorneys and the good townspeople of Steubenville have tried to label her as a slut, I will say it again — this was not an immoral or dissolute woman or prostitute. She was a girl.
    • This girl did not engage in consensual sex with the two “promising young men” — they raped her.

As I’ve read, and listened to the news, and watched numerous videos online about this case, I keep coming back to the adults in Steubenville and the adult reporters and journalists, and I wonder, “Does anybody really care?” Just look at some of the comments made by the adults from that town:

  • “The rape was just an excuse, I think. What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that? She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it.” ~ Nate Hubbard, Steubenville volunteer football coach
Image Credit: http://therealwithdarylanddevon.files.wordpress.com/ 2013/03/21655391_bg1.jpg

Do you know what’s really interesting about this? Nate Hubbard admits right here that the girl was drunk. Remember, Nate Hubbard’s home was the location of Party #1 that night, and it was he who told the drunken teens to leave his house on the night of the rape. He knew she was a drunk sixteen year old girl, and as a leader of the community’s youth, shouldn’t he have called her parents at the very least, instead of sending her and other drunken teenagers out to drive under the influence. As a coach of the city’s youth, didn’t he care that they might endanger themselves because they were clearly under the influence? Didn’t he care when he heard that the sixteen year old girl had been raped? It seems obvious that this leader and role model for the students didn’t care about them… His comments make it clear that he only cared about their football program.

In fact, the football program was so important to him, the other coaches and the parents, that the other teens who were at those infamous parties were not punished for their despicable behavior. Instead, knowing the garbage that had been plastered all over social media, the coaches, teachers, principals and other school officials allowed them to continue playing football. And let’s not forget the parents who could have punished their teens for their immoral behavior, but instead, allowed them to continue playing football. Meanwhile, across the river, in another town, a young girl’s life was tragically altered after she was raped. Does anybody really care?

“don’t feel bad bc we r talking about a girl also known as stubenvills “train whore” going to parties there every weekend and foul s- – – going down…” Deidre Myers, Steubenville resident

Nice. I just have to make this clear once again — this is a sixteen year old girl we are talking about, not a woman, not an adult, not a dog. However, even if this case was about an adult prostitute, the acts committed against her would still be rape. This girl did not give those boys permission to touch her, remove her clothes, insert anything into her body, or take pictures of her naked body. She was rapedDoes anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://www.handsintothelight.com/ steubenville-city-residentsgood-people-of/ 2012-10-26-rape-victims-accused/

I am appalled at the people who have tried to paint the rape victim in the worst possible light, while referring to the two perpetrators of the crime as “two promising young men.” Not only does my heart break for the victim, but it breaks for other teens who are being raised with that same mentality. My heart breaks for the people of Steubenville and other communities, who do not care how their boys behave, as long as they do a good job on the football field. I added other communities to that statement, because this attitude is not limited to one geographic location — it can be found all across the United States, even in my own community. It seems that sports “heroes” (and I use that term loosely) are deemed by many to be above the law. As long as they play well on game day, they can rape and pillage to their heart’s content, and their fans will gladly blame their victims. Does anybody really care?

As I’ve listened and read how people have justified the actions of those “promising young men,” and how they have vilified the victim, I’m reminded of the passage of scripture where the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, and I look at His response to her, a woman who was not raped, but had consensual sex with a man who was not her husband, and I think of many things that we can learn from this.

1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them. 3 As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 

6 They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, “All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!” 

8 Then He stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said,“Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

~ John 8:1-11 NLT ~

Isn’t it interesting that the Pharisees brought only the woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery to Jesus? The law about adultery also applied to men, so why didn’t they demand that the adulterous man be stoned? Think about this — the Pharisees wanted to condemn only the woman involved in adultery, although justice demanded that both the man and the woman be condemned. Do you see a parallel? Steubenville wants to condemn the victim for being drunk, which a whole lot of others at the party were as well. It seems they believe that only she should be accountable. Does anyone see the injustice here? Does anybody really care?

While the girl was guilty of underage drinking, her two violators were as well, but Steubenville adults want to condemn the girl. While the girl’s only crime was underage drinking, a misdemeanor, and please don’t think that I minimize that, because it is a big deal that I’ll tackle at another time, the boys, those “promising young men,” committed the same misdemeanor, and a felony as well… They raped her, but the adults in Steubenville choose to condemn the girl’s actions. Is this their idea of justice? Does anybody really care?

Image Credit: http://images.acswebnetworks.com/1/325/c_lent_5.jpg

When Jesus was confronted with the adulterous woman, He who is perfect and never sinned, did not condemn her. Instead, He set her free, telling her to go and sin no more. Jesus refused to condemn a woman who was engaged in consensual sex, choosing to forgive her and set her free instead, but many of the adults in Steubenville would choose to forgive the rapists, while condemning the victim! Do you see the irony? Does anybody really care?

There has been talk by the news media about how the lives of these “promising young men” have been ruined by their guilty verdict. I say that if their lives have been ruined by anything, it was ruined by their criminal actions. They chose to rape a girl, and the consequences of their crime is really lenient, in my opinion. They committed an adult crime and could have been tried as adults and been sentenced to several years in prison, as well as being listed on the sex registry. Instead, they were tried as children (although children younger than they have been tried as adults for the crime of rape), and received the minimum sentence for their convicted crimes, possibly having to remain in juvenile detention until they are twenty-one years old. Richmond was given a minimum sentence of one year, while Mays, who was found guilty of disseminating pornographic pictures of the girl, who is a minor, in addition to the rape, was sentenced to the minimum of two years. They may not even be added to the sexual offenders registry when their behavior is evaluated after they are twenty-one years old.

Think about this, juvenile records are often closed once the person reaches adulthood with no further charges. Therefore, in just a few short years, this could all be behind those two “promising young men.”

Image Credit: http://wmc.3cdn.net/2e14d66f22ebcf87da_vvm6bnk26.jpg

However, the scars that “Jane Doe” received on August 11, 2012, against her will, will last her a lifetime. Rape is a crime that haunts a woman for many years, and the emotional scars that it leaves are devastating. When those boys are set free in a year or two, enjoying life and putting their past behind them, “Jane Doe” will most likely feel the pain of those scars, as the wounds are ripped open once again. Does anybody really care?

Father, I cry out to you for the adults who have failed so miserably in supporting and caring for this hurt and broken little girl. Have mercy on them, Lord, and change their hearts. Lord, fill them with Your compassion for the victim, and give them the wisdom to teach their children to love and respect all humans.

Lord, give them wisdom to teach their young men to respect girls and women, just as You do. Give them the wisdom to teach their young girls to respect other young girls, and to watch out for one another and protect one another. Lord, give the adults the wisdom and the hearts to watch out and protect those who are weaker. Teach them to care, in Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

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