It was late August, and a bunch of teens were at a party. It sounds like your typical send off before everyone went to college.
Rumors started spreading that some of the things going on at the party weren’t so innocent. Apparently, a 16 year old girl from West Virginia was seen at the party being sexually assaulted by several partygoers, including members of the popular Big Red high school football team.
The most consistent allegation is that football players removed her clothes, encouraged others to urinate on her, and pushed their fingers into her vagina while she was unconscious. This may not fit all of the definitions of rape, but it DOES qualify as sexual assault, at least.
From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like Steubenville, Ohio is a small town that has little going for it but the football team. Plus, in such a small community, everyone knows everyone, which complicates things even more.
Police have begged people to come forward with information, but few have. In addition, kids who took pictures of the girl deleted them. Not all photos were deleted though – a lot of them ended up on Twitter and other social media sites, some of them tagged with the word “rape.”
Several officials have had to recuse themselves from participating in the case due to their ties to the football team, which now has many requesting that the upcoming trial of the accused football players be moved to a new location.
I don’t think we can fully compare what happened in Ohio to the brutal rape in India. However, I can’t help but notice the common themes – public officials reluctant to get involved (or who just don’t care), and especially sexism (internalized sexism in the case of women), which has led many to blame the young women for men “not being able to control themselves.”
Apathy and sexism – two forces that when combined, pose a terrible threat to women everywhere.