CNN, Steubenville Verdict and Rape Culture

The verdict on the Steubenville Rape Trial is in- guilty as charged. There are many ways to frame the news and this is how CNN decided to do it.

Both reporters and the legal expert divided their time between discussing the emotional state of the convicted rapists, the promising futures they had and the lasting effect that the guilty verdict would have on their lives. Complete with visuals of the boys breaking down in court.

The boys’ are referred to as ” …two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart…”

Hmmm…what about the 16-year-old girl that they violated in more ways than one? What about her promising future? What about her life? What the rapists did to her was vile and it will have a lasting effect on her life.

If these boys were such “good students” and “stars” then they would not have raped her. It doesn’t matter what state she was in- drunk, tipsy, sober – there is no excuse for rape…E.V.E.R.

CNN has sunk to new lows with the way they reported the outcome of the trail. Why is it that the reporters are so sympathetic and worried about people who knew exactly what they were doing when they were doing it? Unlike the victim, these boys were not forced to participate. When videos and pictures of the rape were circulated, the boys were seen as victors by some their peers. This is a grave that they dug for themselves in which will be buried the promises of the future, the potential academic success and all the stardom that comes with their talents. They did this to themselves.

You know that rape culture is prevalent in our society when you see media coverage of rape framed in a manner that victimizes the oppressor. It’s even worse on social media. It is heartbreaking to read the derogatory comments that people are making about the 16-year-old girl and see the praises being heaped upon the rapists. That there are some people who seem to be more distraught about the fate of the boys rather than that of the victim is saddening.  In such a situation, how can a human being vilify the victim?

We, as a society, need to dismantle rape culture. We need to shift focus from teaching women how not to get raped to teaching men how to respect women and honor their wishes and know that rape is not an option…E.V.E.R.


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