Daily Archives: January 4, 2013

Rape Culture

If a girl says no to sexual advances, it’s rape. If the girl can’t say no because she’s passed out, it’s still rape.

In case you missed it, on Jan. 1 Anonymous forced the hands of authorities who tried to minimize the crime that took place when a teenager was raped at a party this summer in Ohio.

New York Times reporters Juliet Macur and Nate Schweber had already posted  a solid story on the case that ran Dec. 17. Then after the Anonymous leaks the story broke nation-wide.

Spend some time looking at the comments following the initial CNN story, and you’ll know why I started my blog the way I did.

Today’s follow up concerns me more than anything else, I think.  From today’s story:

“On Thursday, the police chief who initially investigated the case before the Jefferson County prosecutor asked state officials to step in said he’s puzzled why no one intervened in the alleged assault.

“Why didn’t somebody stop it?” Steubenville police Chief William McCafferty said. “You simply don’t do that. … It’s not done.”

Someone might need to tell the police chief it IS done. ALL the time. And maybe it’s done all the time because most of the time the girls don’t go to the police. Maybe they don’t go to the police because instead of championing them, instead of saying we’re going to tell the truth about rape every day until people finally understand if they say no it’s rape, and if they’re drunk and can’t say no it’s still rape, we get this from the AG prosecuting:

“My heart goes out to the victim,” DeWine said. “The victim continues to be victimized every time something shows up on the Internet. There’s nothing I can do about that, but it is very, very sad.”

Newsflash: If something hadn’t shown up on the Internet, nothing would have happened. At least that’s the way it looks in the NYT story.

My heart goes out to the rape survivor, too. I hope she sees justice in a system that has a hard time dealing with acquaintance rape.

Here’s the deal. People go to parties. People drink. They shouldn’t have to worry that their “friends” are going to rape them because they’re drunk.

Here’s another deal: People, even teenagers, have the right to hook up…even if it’s casual. And that past sexual history should have no bearing on a case where they were raped.

I don’t know the facts about the Ohio case. I know I’ve seen this same thing play out over and over and over and every time people blame the girl and try to minimize the crime by saying she shouldn’t have…

When I was a freshman in college a police officer told us if a girl says no to sexual advances, it’s rape. If the girl can’t say no because she’s passed out, it’s still rape. At the time I wondered why on earth they had to tell us something so obvious. I wonder why we STILL have to say it.

***I’m not going to comment on Anonymous. That’s a whole different blog post.