Thoughts: Steubenville

If you have been paying attention to the news in the last few days, you know what has been happening in Steubenville, Ohio.

This post is my attempt to denounce the way the American media has reacted to the guilty (delinquent) verdict given by the court to the two young men who committed rape and were sentenced. Be warned that this post may come across as a rant, includes a lot of swearing, and may just not be all that comfortable of a read.

I normally do not swear heavily, especially not on this blog, so, just for this time, ignore that if you can.

There are some issues that I’ve wanted to blog about for quite a while, but have attempted to refrain from such since that is not the focus of this blog. However, there’s a lot that goes on in my head about things like this, and this time, I want to say something to get it off my chest.

So, if you go ahead and read this post, keep all this in mind, and don’t come back to complain about the tone or content. You have been warned.

The short form of the events is that, as I understand it, two high school footballers with a “promising life” ahead of them got drunk one night and took horrible advantage of a similarly drunk girl who they raped, took pictures of, and taped. This happened quite a while ago. Recently, when the judge presiding over their case gave them one year sentences each with a clause for further possible time, American news media started lamenting how the boys’ lives were ruined now that they had to wear the tag of a sex offender for the rest of their lives, how it was all unfair to their families and their careers and their education.

You know what, FUCK YOU, American news media.

People who have engaged in any and all forms of victim-blaming, FUCK YOU.

If you sided with the people above, FUCK YOU.

If you sent any kinds of threatening messages to the girl in question, and to her family, FUCK YOU.

To all the media outlets, who dared to go that extra mile and reveal information about the victim and her family, FUCK YOU.

You all deserve to be tossed out into space without a suit. Or abandoned in the middle of the Sahara, or the deepest trenches in the Pacific. None of you deserve to continue to live as you have been. You have all shown an utter disregard for laws, for common decency. You have shown that you do not care about the feelings of other people. You have shown yourself to be hypocrites of the highest order.

You are all far, far more guilty than the two boys. Why? Because you all give validation to rape culture. That getting raped is the fault of the girl/woman in question. That the responsibility was on HER to have prevented such a situation. That the perpetrators had no choice BUT to take advantage of the situation, since it was served up to them on a silver platter.

Rape culture makes me gag. Even as someone far, far removed from these proceedings, I feel guilt because these people are considered human. They are not humans. They are animals. Cockroaches. Parasites.

Rape culture is something that eats away at society and hollows it from within.

American news media is lambasting the fact that Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richardson will no longer have normal lives. Well no shit, you fucking idiots. These two “fine, upstanding gentlemen of Steubenville society” chose to ruin the life of an innocent girl for their own base pleasures. They wanted to get their kicks and they picked on someone who could not defend herself at all. Who could not say NO. Who had no idea what the fuck had even happened until pictures and videos of her humiliation surfaced on social media after the….. event.

To everyone who has in any way defended these scumbags, you should be ashamed of yourselves. How would you have felt if they had come after YOUR daughter or your sister or your niece or any female relation? Would you have blamed YOUR OWN flesh and blood for not preventing this? From not being able to say no?

You disgust me. You make me feel ashamed of myself because I am a part of the same species as you.

A lot of people know what happened in India last December, when a girl was gangraped in a bus in the middle of the night and her friend (her boyfriend IIRC) was horribly beaten up and threatened with death. Do you know what some of the enlightened people in Indian society said? Let me tell you.

A politician said that rape happens in India and not Bharat. Bharat is the Hindi name for our country. He was implying that because India has embraced several western values and practices, that rape happens only in the cities and not in the towns.

Fucking disgusting as hell. The backwaters of India are terrible about social injustices and this scumbag dares say that these towns and villages are, for the lack of a better word, pure?

Asaram Bapu, the most debased form of a god-man and a swindler and a cheat, said that the woman was to blame for the whole episode. That she should have said no to her attackers. That she should have told them “Brothers, please do not rape me, this is against God’s will”.

I don’t even bloody how the fuck to respond to something like that. I don’t even understand why people believe in this cheat when his lies and his corruption are exposed year after year. People are just too goddamn blind.

When I heard these statements on the news, I felt ashamed to be an Indian. Even the rampant corruption in the Indian government, with scams following on from month to month, does not inspire so much self-vitriol in me.

Where the bloody fuck have we all gone wrong?

There were no less than FIVE publicised cases of gangrapes in India after the December one. FIVE. I repeat, FIVE cases.

And nothing has changed.

Rape culture can be found in any country, in any society, in any part of the world. Victim blaming is an intellectual disease arising from the fact that we are all cowards to say anything against it, because we all fear the possible consequences.

Mays and Richardson are not some kind of goddamn heroes. Read this article to see how their friends and family members displayed their arrogance, their lack of decency, and their lack of respect. It fucking makes me weep to think that there are people out there, fucking KIDS no less, who think like this.

Is this the kind of thinking that we want to promote in our societies. If you think yes, then just…. drop dead or something. You have no right to live.

Has anybody even considered what the future holds for the girl in question re: Steubenville? How SHE has been mentally scarred for the rest of her life? She was violated. Her violation was made public. The public laughed, delighted and rejoiced in her violation.

It is sick.

In India and other parts of the Indian subcontinent, many backward townships hold to the “law” that if a girl or woman is raped, then she should marry her attacker to save face. To give the rest of her life some kind of legitimacy.

It makes me want to throw up.

India has been a free country since 1947. We have progressed by leaps and bounds in a lot of areas. But we are no better off culturally or intellectually than we were in, say, 1800. Our views are still as backward as ever. Our politicians are still as corrupt as ever. All they care about are the thousands of crores in their personal accounts, their villas, and their Swiss accounts and their cars and other shit. They don’t give a damn about this country. When the above politician made his extremely insulting comment, do you know what happened? Various political parties engaged in name-calling and no one took a step forward to focus on the ACTUAL bloody issue.

Last year, Republicans in America made several insulting comments about women, sex, procreation, and rape. It was beyond disgusting. America, the shining Promised Land. Rape culture thrives there. Victim blaming is like an everyday occurrence.

I cannot believe that the people “we” trust to run our countries, to stand up for our rights, can have such disgusting and uninformed opinions. What the fuck is wrong with these people? Just what is it that gives them the power to says such bullshit and get away with it with nothing but a slap on the wrist?

Jim C. Hines and John Scalzi, authors whose opinions I value greatly and respect (though I admit I have not read their books as yet) have talked about this on their blogs here and here. I suggest that you give them a read. In particular, read the comments section of Scalzi’s blog. The opinions of some of those people will make you want to weep.

Laurie Penny of the New Statesman got it down perfectly right when she said that the actions of Mays and Richardson is the “Al Ghraib” moment for Steubenville. I highly suggest reading her article. Be prepared for an extremely disturbing image.

In some cases, I’ve seen people who hold the belief that “feminists got it wrong, women rape too, where’s the support for men?” My honest response to that: “You are a goddamn prick”. Do you honestly think that men really need more attention than women do? When was the last time that men were told to stop dressing provocatively, to not drink, to be mindful of their surroundings, and so on? Honestly, I would love to know your answer.

As a society, all the blame and responsibility is always on the women who are victimised, not on the men who commit such a crime. Are young boys sexually molested year in, year out? Yes. The Catholic Church is an excellent example of that. No one is denying that boys and men are NOT raped. However, honestly speaking, are THEY ever blamed for being raped as women are? Are they?

This is an incredibly frustrating issue for me. I have a friend, a close friend of mine from my time in US, who told me about her traumatic experience sometime back. I was horrified to learn the circumstances under which it happened. It was as innocent as you possibly can get: a night out at a restaurant with her significant other. Should she be blamed?

Fuck no. And I dare say that I will personally pull out the teeth of anyone who suggests otherwise.

We have to CHANGE our perception, our beliefs, and our views abut rape culture. We need to do this NOW. The more we let this issue walk past us, the more we continue to engage in victim-shaming, the more we let rapists get away, the more we degrade our own moralities, the more we hurt our societies and our cultures.

If kids are raised with the notion that women shoulder blame, and that they are to be treated as nothing more than a tool for personal pleasure, then I fear for our future as a species.

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Posted on March 20, 2013, in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. It is difficult for we fish to realize we are swimming in this stuff, in this culture. But recognize and realize it we must, or we will perpetually swim in it.

    Laura Anne Gilman, long time football fan has decided to stop watching football until this chances. Sports, High School and Collegiate, is part of this problem. You would not see this with the chess club. Sports oriented students are lauded and lionized.

    Violence against women is wrong, and a lack of yes means no. Period.

    Like

  2. They only got one year???!!!

    Like

  3. Yes, a billion million times. I am really proud to be around people like you and others who have expressed their shock and outrage. Things change on the “face” of it, but it’s a cultural thing, and the only way to change this is at grassroots level and the only way in turn to do that, is to make people understand that it is wrong and to teach their kids that it’s wrong.

    I have sworn far worse than this these past few days – you’ve done good here. Much hugs!

    Like

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