It’s been a hard few days for my creative mind. I’ve wanted to write about so many things and explore so many opinions but I have been unable to choose a topic. There is a reason for that: I am angry and disappointed.
The subject that has been constantly on my mind is the Steubenville rape trial, an event that has been so callously covered by the media. And that made me so enraged, disillusioned and depressed that I am struggling to write about anything else.
In this tiny corner of the internet, I expose injustice and write about people who are simply wrong. But at this point there is nothing else I can say about the Steubenville rape trial and the convicted rapists (note I said rapists, not convicted football stars, or teenagers who had their futures ruined, or young men that had such a bright life ahead of them). It has all been said, because people who stand against about rape culture have raw throats (or finger that have typed to the bone) from talking or writing about it.
It’s an obvious issue to thousands of people that Mays and Richmond behaved appallingly and that they deserved to be punished for their actions. This wasn’t some unfair punishment to people who were too young to know what they were doing was wrong. As Mallory Ortberg wrote in Gawker, “their dreams and hopes were not crushed by an impersonal, inexorable legal system; Mays and Richmond raped a girl and have been sentenced accordingly.”
Thinking otherwise is wrong, thinking some responsibility should befall the brave girl who has reported these sex offenders (yes, sex offenders, not unjustified young men) is simply wrong. It’s not an opinion, it’s just the plain fact. They didn’t do what ‘most people would have done in their situation’, as this charming man on Twitter remarked. They did what RAPISTS would do in that situation – they RAPED A WOMAN.
So I’m furious. Sexual politics can be complicated, but not here, not in this case. I am so angry that I’ve had a strong case of writer’s block for a few days now. But I must contribute to this debate.
First of all, the coverage of the trial in CNN, ABC, NBC and countless other news sources around America wasn’t just rape culture. It was woman-hating, and it has exposed that these media dinosaurs – however experienced they may be – are sexist.
Even the women are sexist, even anchor Fredricka Whitfield who might have seemed like a nice lady, sympathizing with young men who just had their futures ruined. You’re not nice, Fredericka, you are an awful woman who is overlooking the crime these men committed and the subsequent despicable texts ridiculing the victim. You are minimalizing the scars this girl will have to live with for the rest of her life. What are you suggesting? That the victim has to suffer, carry this hurt with her, probably get counseling for a large portion of her life simply for being attacked – and that these men who attacked her shouldn’t be on the sex offender’s registry because they are football players?
In the media, even when reporting news we must find an angle. And this angle is offensive.
I am not sorry for bringing up these issues every time that I do, but I do think that I am preaching to the choir sometimes. But today, I could not stop myself, and if I didn’t put fingertips to keyboard I would not be able to write about anything else. I urge you to sign this petition to force CNN to make amends for its apologist, rape culture-filled, sexist, man-hating report and this one to remove the coach who tried to cover it all up with – surprise, surprise – victim-blaming and rape culture.
Photo by marsmet523 / Flickr Creative Commons License.