Last month in Steubenville, Ohio, two boys were found guilty of raping an unconscious 16 year old girl at a party. There is uploaded internet video footage of over 50 people at parties watching and aware of what was happening, yet not one of her classmates spoke up. She was dragged to multiple different parties and sexually abused by more than one person.
This type of behavior needs to stop. So often in our culture and society it is said that rape is a woman’s fault because of how she is acting or what she is wearing. This idea is not only completely false, it is horrible.
When a person is under the influence and “as dead as a doorknob” according to the video of one of the boys, there is no consent. When a person cannot even say “yes” or “no” sexual acts should not happen.
Even more disturbing was the media’s response to the verdict. “It was incredibly emotional and difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men, who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their life fell apart…these men are labeled as registered sex offenders…that will haunt them for the rest of their lives,” reporters of CNN said.
This is wrong. The media, including prominent news reporters, victimized the rapists. They did not acknowledge the tragedy of the girl who got raped, only the hardships the rapists will face for the rest of their lives. What message is this sending youth?
There is no excuse for rape, but men too, are also victims of the media portrayal of women. How can they not have these ideas when everywhere violence against women is glorified: in music, movies, video games.
For example, in Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie,” one of his many verses with similar themes is “If she ever tries to f— leave again, I’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.” This lyric on paper seems shocking, yet this song reached #1 on Billboard Charts when released.
In the popular videogame, “Grand Theft Auto,” one can have sex with a prostitute, then beat the prostitute up and take their money back. This is not the only videogame that has violence glorified. The virtual reward of violence on women, or people in general, is directly conveyed to players every time they play the game.
This does not excuse the actions of the young men in the Steubenville rape case. However society needs to learn to teach everyone about respect and consent and stop glorifying violence against women.