Friday, March 22, 2013

The final word on the Steubenville rape case: I'm sick of treating the perpetrators as the victims, and the victims as responsible for their harm

I've had enough.

I'm sick of hearing about the perpetrators' personal story. The only story is the victims' story, yet the news media devours every morsel of information about the perpetrators.

I'm sick of being told the perpetrators should be treated with "compassion."

I'm sick of the perpetrators being portrayed as "stupid," "vulnerable," and "troubled" instead of what they are -- evil -- and of hearing that a vile act that might have destroyed the life of an innocent victim should be blamed on the perpetrators' "backgrounds" and their "personal issues." I even heard someone describe the crime as "a very human story and in a way understandable."

I'm sick of hearing how the perpetrators need "therapeutic intervention" more than they need a custodial sentence.

I'm sick of the victim blaming, and of hearing how there are "lessons to be learned all around" -- including on the part of the "sleezy" victim. I'm sick of hearing how this would not have occurred if the victim's conduct hadn't allowed it. One commentator said this was the "good scare" the victim "well deserved." Someone even said that the perpetrators might be guilty, but that doesn't mean the victim was "innocent."

I'm sick of the news media treating the perpetrators' vile acts as "unusual" and "rare."

And, finally, I'm sick of hearing how "we really don't know what happened" here, and that the perpetrators might actually not be guilty, even after the verdict.

You think I'm talking about Steubenville, right?  Guess again.

Regular readers of this blog and our predecessor blog have seen every one of the things that I'm sick of, some of them many times, in news stories about a false accusation of a vile sex act. Some of those cases had disastrous results for the wrongly accused.

The people who dominate the public discourse about sexual assault have flooded the Internet with vituperative rants over stupid comments made in connection with the Steubenville rape case. I, too, am thoroughly appalled by much of what I've seen in connection with the Steubenville case.

Then it dawned on me, we are accustomed to seeing such things in the community of the wrongly accused. When the Hofstra falsely accused were booed on a national television show, who bothered to stick up for them? When newspapers quote supposed "experts" who say that false accusers should never get custodial sentences, when a columnist in a major U.S. daily writes that men falsely accused of rape got "the good scare they deserved," when news report after news report after news report talks about false accusers as "troubled," when a judge says a rape lie was "understandable," who besides us complains about it? Certainly very few of the folks complaining about the comments in connection with the Steubenville case.

In fact, some of the people upset about comments made in connection with the Steubenville case are the same ones who say the things I'm sick of when it comes to the wrongly accused.