Sunday morning, two teenagers from Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old classmate. Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were sentenced to serve in the state juvenile system for at least two years and one year, respectively. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, the public reaction to the verdict only reinforces the culture of victim-blaming and rape apology that most of us know all too well.
[Trigger warnings for discussion of rape and victim blaming]
We’ve curated some of the public’s responses to the verdict to illustrate how rape culture is alive and well and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Although these are far from the worst examples of what’s being said, be warned that most of them are horrible. All quotes and screencaps were from publicly accessible websites and none were taken using any means to thwart privacy settings.
Meanwhile, CNN itself is awfully concerned about what the guilty verdict means for the “promising futures” of Mays and Richmond. (Raw Story)
Victim blaming is alive and well, folks, and it’s pretty gross. Fortunately, for every victim-blaming, rape culture-perpetuating comment, there seems to be at least ten comments on the other side, condemning the guilty parties, the “football culture,” the rape apologists, and the atmosphere of victim blaming. So there may be some hope after all.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more glad that “never read the comments” has never applied to P-Mag. If you’ll excuse me, I need to cuddle some puppies and forget about humanity for a little while.