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This is rape culture: Steubenville verdict

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, March 19th, 2013 - 60 comments
Categories: feminism, sexism, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

[Trigger warning: rape, rape culture, victim-blaming]

I was honestly surprised to learn that two of the boys heroes football players men charged in the Steubenville rape case had been convicted (albeit sentenced to paltry terms with the possibility of serving longer).

I was honestly completely unsurprised to read posts about the response to this.  Including CNN acting like the real problem was that two promising football careers had been destroyed, people tweeting that the men involved “did what most people in their situation would have done“, that one of the rapists felt the need to apologise for taking pictures and distributing them because “that never should have happened” … but not for actually assaulting her in the first place.  Doesn’t that sound a little “sorry I got caught” to you?

I was pleasantly surprised to see Serious Mainstream Media Sources acknowledge that this is rape culture, and that it’s linked to jock/bloke culture, and that it’s not an inherent, natural phenomenon.  (It’s not perfect but it’s a start.)

So there’s some hope there.

Rape culture taught these young men that because they were on the football team, they were faultless – and their coach would “fix” anything that happened.  Rape culture taught these young men that an unconscious woman’s body was theirs to penetrate.  Rape culture taught these young men that they had the right to bargain and plead with their victim because their football careers were more important than acknowledging they violated her.  Rape culture means they were tried as juveniles.  Rape culture means that even with public video evidence of what happened, their lawyers let them plead not guilty.

Rape culture means that even when it is unequivocally rape – because even a court of law has said so – people will defend these men on Twitter because “they did what most people in their situation would have done.”

Want more? Manboobz is covering the victim-blaming on Twitter.  Black Girl Dangerous has a thought-provoking post on why you can feel sorry for Mays and Richmond … but for different reasons.  Two more Steubenville teens (young women) have now been arrested for menacing the victim.  Mmmm, delicious culture.

Rape Culture 101.  I suggest you read it before commenting.

60 comments on “This is rape culture: Steubenville verdict ”

  1. ghostrider888 1

    the “circle jerk”

    pissing Queenie (that’s anthropology for ya)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropology
    sorry, but Much more RAPE TO COME. (at least it is “documented”)

    “I am the spirit of vengeance. Nothing will stop me from inflicting pain on all those who have inflicted on innocent beings.”
    -Ghost Rider

    (caution: contains scenes of Outlaws caring)

    • QoT 1.1

      Make a clear point or fuck off, ghostrider, future comments like this are getting binned.

      • ghostrider888 1.1.1

        touchy.not minimizing. just reality.

        • QoT 1.1.1.1

          If there’s “reality” in that vomit-puddle of a comment you are entirely welcome to explain it.

          • ghostrider888 1.1.1.1.1

            we may rail against “rape culture” until “the cows come home”, however, cross-culturally, imo, it is well-entrenched and here to stay.
            -American male chauvinism
            -British male chauvanism
            -sub-continent attitudes to women
            -the rise of Islam and Sharia
            -sexualization of the (young) female body in the MSM
            -proliferation of sedating psycho-actives
            -“fashion”

            in fact, Patriarchy if you will. (shall I go on) surely you have read “Backlash”
            while obviously One laments…there are greater issues at stake, surely (Ban me if you wish, got better things to do than tussle with an idealogue; you think you humour me…well…)
            🙂

            • karol 1.1.1.1.1.1

              So it’s widespread and well-entrenched, causing extensive injury, fatalities, and psychological damage, but there are greater issues at stake?

              • AsleepWhileWalking

                Other issues may well be important at different times.

                However, rape culture is so pervasive that we have learnt to live with it (possibly because the affects aren’t immediately apparent). Hell, we can’t even conceive what our reality could be like without rape culture – you know…victims with RIGHTS and shit like that! Crazy stuff!!

                In addition to this the attitude of others (ie the wider cultural attitude around rape) has a significant impact on how the victim recovers and the speed of that recovery. Seeing crap like the CNN report on the Steubenville verdict will distress the victim and trigger others who have gone through similar experiences.

                It is offensive to read and hear this crap, but for me it isn’t the most persuasive reason to end rape culture.

                I spoke to someone who works in Rape Crisis a couple of months ago and she quoted some NZ study that showed sexual violence costs this country millions a year AND if treatment isn’t received then it can cost even more over the lifetime of the victim. The costs include lost productivity, prosecution and investigation costs, mental health costs, family dysfunction leading to more costs….. Anyone know what study this is?

                To conclude, rape culture costs our economy and can render an otherwise functional human being economical useless for years and in the worst cases permanently. It goes well beyond hurt feelings and psychological harm. Our country deserves to be free of suffering that rape culture creates both financially and socially which makes this the most important issue of our time

            • QoT 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Greater issues at stake than violent sex crime affecting around 1 in 4 women, being supported by a socially-constructed set of behaviours? Gosh, you must move in extremely high-minded circles.

              • ghostrider888

                it may well be 1 in 3 in times to come;
                is / ought fallacy and all that

                • Pascal's bookie

                  What a load of shit. By the same reasoning nothing could have been, or could be done about slavery, torture, actual (non-symbolic) monarchy, feudalism, labour rights, poverty, or any other damn thing you care to name.

                  Why the fuck would you throw your hands in the air about this? Thinking about, and talking about how society talks about rape, and how it responds to rape can change the incidence of rape. That can only be not rue if you think that rapists are not a part of our society.

                  Will it eliminate rape? Probably not. But there is every reason to believe that it will make a difference at the margin. And do you know what that means? Fewer people getting raped. And that’s a good thing worth doing right? So why get in the way of it?

                  • QoT

                    I read in ghostrider’s comments a kind of snobby, sneering attitude: “god, your silly corporeal lives are so passe, I’m focusing on the real issues just like Ayn Rand”.

                    Kinda like the Vulcans in Star Trek: Enterprise, abomination that it was.

                    It probably helps that ghostrider is likely from a demographic which doesn’t get explicitly targeted by patriarchy.

                  • Colonial Weka

                    “What a load of shit”

                    I agree. Stating that nothing can be done about rape culture, so why bother, or that there are more important things to focus on, is part of rape culture.

                  • Rogue Trooper

                    what exactly, on a global basis has been done about “slavery, torture, feudalism labour rights and poverty”?

                    • McFlock

                      Well, comparing it now with 200 years ago seems to suggest quite an improvement, albeit with a long way to go. Courts of Human Rights, slavery made illegal in most nations, advent (and yes, subsequent erosion but still not complete elimination) of the welfare state, and growth of unions, I’d say quite a bit’s been done to address those issues.

                      And there’s even been some improvement on reducing the number of rapists in our community, again albeit with a massive way to go. Making it illegal for husbands to rape their wives, for example. Not sufficient, but progress all the same.

              • Populuxe1

                It’s a pity we don’t have statistics for how many men in New Zealand are affected by violent sex crime, but for some reason no one seems to be collecting that. You’d almost think it was being disregarded as a distraction or something.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  No, I wouldn’t.

                  Are you sure the statistics are unavailable?

                  I checked at statistics NZ. Look in their crime stats under sexual assault.

                  The statistics are available.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Perhaps I’m not looking in the right place, but I can’t see a discrete category for male-male or female-male rape

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      You said: “we don’t have statistics for how many men in New Zealand are affected by violent sex crime, ”

                      You’re wrong: we do.

                      In the period 1994 – 2012, out of the 2427 sexual assaults recorded, 24 of them involved adult male victims. Twenty-four! No wonder you’re so concerned 🙄

            • AsleepWhileWalking 1.1.1.1.1.3

              @ghostrider Just because YOU refuse to change your attitude, doesn’t mean you speak for the rest of society or future generations.

              Point of fact, gay marriage was once a pipe dream, but now hardly anyone under 30 opposes it.

              Everything we do and say impacts the collective conciousness and we will change this, the only options are either 1) now or 2) later.

              • Polish Pride

                Just because YOU refuse to change your attitude, doesn’t mean you speak for the rest of society or future generations.

                I did not see Ghost rider as having an attitude about it. More stating his observation regarding the state of the world and perhaps trends in this area.

                “Everything we do and say impacts the collective conciousness”…. great to see others that understand this.
                I am guessing that you might also understand that cases like Stubenville and India (and unfortunately probably others to come) are being brought forward on a grander scale into the collective consciousness so that we can feel and voice outrage and as result (as you have said) things can be changed.

                • karol

                  gr was hiding behind obscurity, pontificating from intellectual heights, and displaying a superior, dismissive attitude – conveying the message that it’s not worth doing anything about rape culture, and, anyway, there’s more important issues to deal with.

                  • ghostrider888

                    lots of assumptions there.
                    a post on the prevalence of female genital mutilation and forced under-aged marriage within current NZ society might be timely.
                    gr does NOT approve of rape, just sees it as increasingly inevitable, like “slavery, torture, feudalism, the erosion of labour rights, poverty,” hunger and human trafficking. What the rider sees is a decidely euro-centric focus upon issues in the leading sites within the NZ blogosphere; mirrors the National parochialism at times.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      War and peace.

                      Well over a million European women raped during WWII.

                      It offends our sensibilities to think what humanity and inhumanity we are still very clearly capable of.

                      The other thing: time to get alcohol abuse sorted out.

                  • ghostrider888

                    furthermore, both of the riders mothers were raped; his biological mother degraded scatalogically in front of her children, his biological brothers raped by their father. Sorry Lynn, sometimes people just gotta get out of their own way and get over themselves; Ever watched documentaries on child sex-slave workers in India?

                    • karol

                      Now you are communicating clearly, gr, even though using 3rd person distancing, and stating where you stand. Hiding behind obscurity opens the way to varying/mis-interpretation.

                      I’m sorry to read about your awful family history.

                      Yes, I’ve watched docos and read about sex slavery and it’s workers elsewhere. But even dealing with such non-European issues can be done from a Euro-centric perspective.

                      I have known black women (when I was in the UK) who were unhappy with the way white women focused on female genital mutilation and arranged marriages in other cultures, while not dealing so intensively with the misogynist and racist practices in their own cultures.

                      It’s not necessary to be opposed to one or the other: i.e. to things there or here. All need to be visible, discussed, and where necessary, opposed.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      gr, is your story about your family real or just the backstory of the fictional character who’s name you use?

                    • ghostrider888

                      as some of you may know
                      SH=JC=fnjckg=Jokerman=RT=gr
                      everything autobigraphical / anecdotal comment made by these pseuds has been factual; since his revelation the rider endeavours very hard not to deceive, and furthermore receives periodic affirmations of his abilities.
                      let me repeat that : EVERYTHING THE RIDER SHARES OF HIS EXPERIENCE IS BASED IN FACT.
                      (sorry to take up space in the thread Queen, yet there you have it; I descend from a couple or three of your typical run-of-the-mill dysfunctional “modern” NZ families.
                      next?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Thanks for clarifying, gr. Speaking in the 3rd person makes it sound as if you are referring to someone else, which can have the effect of blurring the truths you are sharing.

                      That’s a truly awful upbringing, I’m glad you feel able to share it with us, however you choose to write or whatever name you use. All the best.

    • Huginn 1.2

      While we’re talking about ‘rape culture’ – I’ve noticed that responses to QoT’s posts and comments are often very personal.
      It’s like where Mike Smith, R0b, lprent and even Trevor Mallard have got impassioned opponents, QoT’s got stalkers.
      It’s creepy and it belongs in the same bucket of online violence that R0b, rightly, refuses to tolerate.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        I have noticed it myself, and Karol has the same issue at a lower level. I think I will have to find something specially humiliating to do to the males with issues with women in my usual subtle sysop role…. What is a good image for a very pathetic dick?

        • Polish Pride 1.2.1.1

          perhaps just directly call them out on it when it occurs. This way others will see it also and the person will very quickly see that their attitude towards woman is deemed unacceptable.

  2. SouthDeezViper 2

    Yeah, I’d be keen to know what you’re getting at also.

  3. karol 3

    It seems like the most high profile gang rape cases involve professional male sports people. Maybe that’s part of celebrity culture as well as rape culture. And part of the way the MSM likes to incorporate both in a sensationalised story.

    The two cultures intertwine when physical masculine aggression is glamorised, and sportsmen are treated as as role models in all spheres of life, merely for their ability to play a competitive game well.

    CNN… so much for it’s claims to being a world leader in news delivery – like it’s extensive professional team would not be anything objective.

    • Rogue Trooper 3.1

      yes; I have many personal anecdotes from my time as a confidante of sex-workers of the “games” nationally recognized sportsmen play in the rented hotel rooms

  4. joe90 4

    http://www.thenation.com/article/172643/ten-things-end-rape-culture

    Tell your story.

    Several years ago my younger sister told me how more than thirty years previously she was rendered incapable with alcohol and raped by her sports coach, a man 25 years her senior. My sister was 14 years old and the crime was dismissed as a false complaint by a naive infatuated teen who after being rejected by him concocted a fanciful story about a family man of impeccable character and an upstanding member of the small isolated expat community.

    I’m shaking now so I’ll submit before I back out.

    • karol 4.1

      Thank-you, joe. One of those many stories most people don’t know about. A very cruel experience for a 14 year old, and one that must always be with her.

    • rosy 4.2

      I know a couple of stories like that, Joe90, but from people who never confronted the abuser. And I’d be shaking if I wrote them down too.

      It’s a big thing to write about something so appalling, so damaging and so… supressed… within the small group that has had to suffer because of it. Rape culture exists because we don’t believe it does Excellent link.

    • QoT 4.3

      Thanks for sharing your story, joe. It is a really important part of fighting rape culture.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 4.4

      Hiya Joe,

      Thanks for posting your experience as part of combating rape culture and most of all listening to your sister. You did good, bless ya!

      I’d love to post what happened to me but can’t mainly because OP’s here may use it as a personal attack at any time in the future. What I will say from my experience is that rape culture also exists inside our treatment system, with the very people who are funded by the government to help rape victims recover.

  5. rosy 5

    I’m liking Black Girl Dangerous’ take on this. Especially her last paragraph.., it’s an absolute tragedy that we have a culture that doesn’t just believe it’s ok to rape drunk girls rather than look out for them, but asserts the right to do so (or vulnerable boys – check out the Taradale violation a few years back – although a bit more sympathy for the victem there). Then, instead of addressing the problem young men get chucked in prison, and probably have those beliefs reinforced, while not a lot is done to change the culture that doesn’t just support, but also encourages, their actions.

    And the girl? re-labelled from the ‘victim’ to the ‘accuser’ as the story goes on in the last of those links about the text messages. What’s up with that? The rape was done (guilty verdicts) and the txt messaging campaign was done, there’s no dispute about it.

    • QoT 5.1

      It’s one of the quirks of rape culture: before the court decides anything (if the case even goes to court) just keep asserting that you can’t call it “rape” unless the accused is found guilty of rape; after the court decides something, just keep asserting that it still isn’t rape and never explain why.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 5.1.1

        Meanwhile it is somehow acceptable to imply the victim, sorry alleged victim(!) of a rape is to blame in some way (drunk, hemline too high, or just being there at the time..).

        Our media are a contributor to the culture. Pity we can’t do more to hold them accountable for the way they write about sexual violence.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Meanwhile it is somehow acceptable to imply the victim, sorry alleged victim(!) of a rape is to blame in some way (drunk, hemline too high, or just being there at the time..).

          Alcohol abuse is a common factor in a lot of violent crime. There’s no getting around it.

  6. Descendant Of Sssmith 6

    These older men predating and taking advantage of young women just piss me off as well.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/01/the-miss-delaware-teen-usa-scandal/

    It’s an oddity that both my young adult sons have had serious attempts by older men to take advantage of them – one via drink spiking – but my daughter at this point has not.

    I would hope that they all remain free from such approaches in the future as should all people young and not so young.

    There’s some pretty horrible damage done by these people.

  7. beatie 7

    I’ve been raped, and more than once. The worst was at knifepoint aged 17. It’s utterly humiliating and as a young woman in the early ’70’s my response was ‘you bastards aren’t going to “get” me’. So I carried on as normal and pretended nothing had happened. Talking about it just invited embarrassment and denial. Reporting it was unthinkable, it would only add to the ridicule and trauma.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 7.1

      It should never have happened once let alone more than once.

      My heart goes out to you. I have a friend who was raped a knifepoint by multiple gang members and she and her husband have suffered terribly over the years.

      Sadly there’s plenty of examples where women self-harm, suicide, turn to drug abuse, blame themselves, and so on.

      All that needs to happen to prevent this damage is for men to take responsibility for their own actions.

      There’s no imperative that requires any male to have sex at any given point in time and clearly if the man is so drunk he doesn’t ‘know what he’s doing” it can’t even remotely be called sex. There’s no enjoyment present – it’s doing it cause I can and it’s about power and control.

      It’s rape in those situations pure and simple.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        All that needs to happen to prevent this damage is for men to take responsibility for their own actions.

        And for the community to hold the rapists accountable, stop making excuses for them and stop blaming the victims.

        • Ennui 7.1.1.1

          DTB see mine below: I am more interested in how rapists hold themselves accountable for their actions than how the community holds them accountable. I want violent offenders to know circumspect, to have the ability to show empathy and project the consequence of their actions upon their own psyche. I am struggling to explain BUT I think rapists would not commit the act if they had sufficient self awareness and empathy. I suspect bugger all of them are psychopaths (I will leave that to the psychologists to work out) but as this column points out they are “culturally damaged”. As are we all.

        • Colonial Weka 7.1.1.2

          And for everyone to take actions to change rape culture (including looking at their own attitudes and behaviours).

    • AsleepWhileWalking 7.2

      I’m sorry that happened to you. Thanks for revealing part of your story and doing your part in combating rape culture.

      I know what you mean by inviting embarrassment and denial, the culture has changed slightly but still difficult. No statute of limitations on rape…

  8. Ennui 9

    Joe90 / Beattie, thanks for the courage to share the harrowing memories. Reading the whole column including watching the trailer to the Lawless movie just confirms that we have a culture of endemic violence. We violate people with state sanctioned violence, we violate people with the economic unfairness, we push the violence to all sectors of society. And we glorify it in the media, and the movies. We wonder it gets pushed down, bashing the partner, assaulting strangers, hitting children, raping. No one is spared. Like most males I have been beaten with cops batons, taken a few hidings in “fights”, lashed out and inflicted pain.

    I too wont set rape aside in isolation, but that in no way diminishes the harm: it is another violent scar on us all, and truly desolating for the victims. What concerns me is how we can break the cycle. I am not convinced that judicial punishment of the offenders of violent crimes works in the slightest, prison merely brutalises and reinforces that might is right. In the case of the Steubenville rapists we are now left with individuals who have not been made to recognise or accept the personal damage they have done to another person, and a society that has failed in it duty to protect all from harm. Just appalling. With nobody s facing up to it, we are all guilty.

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 10

    Locals who perpetuate rape culture off the top of my head include John Tamaheri, Sir Robert Jones, and Lindsay Mitchell. Google any one of these folks + rape and rape culture will come up and smack you in the face.

    Perhaps the way to tackle rape culture is to approach the leaders of the group (it’s a group mentality at work) and gently influence them to change their opinion.

  10. Treetop 11

    About two months ago I gave the cutting of funding to Rape Crisis a bit of thought because of how vital it is for a person who has been sexually assaulted to be able to disclose or discuss with someone who understands how sexual assault impacts in many areas, (trust, relationships, the health system, employment, the justice system, being disconnected from society or your family, and the attitude mainly from those who think it is something that you can switch off, when it is something which you learn to manage on many levels the best way you can and this can be lonely.

    I made an inquiry to Rape Crisis about:
    1. Do they have a ribbon?
    Yes they do it is coloured red and stands for the wounded heart.

    2. Have they ever held a ribbon day?
    No they have not, but they have supported a white ribbon day.

    3. Would I like to see a red ribbon day?
    Yes I would.

    I would wear two ribbons, one for the wounded embryo and one for the wounded child. A person could pin the ribbon on the inside of clothing, as I would not want anyone to feel threatened due to how ignorant people are over the distress which sexual assault can cause.

  11. tracey 12

    Reported rape versus conviction ratios should make all hang our heads in shame.

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