Steubenville

Unfriendly reminder that in America it’s reasonable to say an unarmed, poor black kid deserved to be shot six times because he might have robbed a convenience store, but a high school athlete shouldn’t be kicked off the high school football team just because he violently raped a girl.

In response to the Steubenville, Ohio teen rape case, West Virginia U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld is launching a program to teach high school athletes not to post evidence of rape online.

It’s called “Project Future,” and his goal is to teach teens how to avoid getting in trouble with the law by using cell phones, cameras, and social media “responsibly.” Instead of teaching teens not to rape, the U.S. Attorney wants to teach them not to get caught.

This is rape culture at work: The very people who are in charge of enforcing our laws look at a cruel, brutal attack on a young girl and think, “If only the teens hadn’t posted photographic evidence online.”

Meet Deric Lostutter, a 26-year-old cybersecurity consultant who also goes by the moniker “KYAnonymous.” Lostutter obtained and published tweets and Instagram photos in which members of the Steubenville High School football team joked about an incident in which a 16-year-old girl was raped.

Lostutter’s actions inspired a group of people to take justice into their own hands. A hacker called “Bobcat” vandalized the Facebook page of the Steubenville football team. Other hackers took similar action.

It’s unclear if Lostutter participated in any hacking shenanigans, but if he’s indicted and found guilty of any, he faces 10 years in jail. By comparison, the Steubenville rapists received one- and two-year sentences each.

Standing in front of my classroom and stating that a woman’s clothing choice is never permission to rape her should not be a radical act. But only a few heads nodded in agreement. Most were stunned, like this was a completely new thought. The follow up questions were terrifying in their earnestness. “Ms. Norman, you mean a woman walking down the street naked is not her inviting sex? How will I know she wants to have sex?” A surprisingly bold voice came out of a girl in the back “You’ll know when she says, you want to have sex?!”

I haven’t seen anything on tumblr yet so I thought I’d let everyone know that Steubenville let a rapist back on the football team. remember the case last year? the one where CNN felt oh so bad for these “promising young men’s” futures? the kids who raped and video taped and peed on a high school girl when she blacked out at a party. rape culture is so alive and it’s unbelievable to me that things like this are considered acceptable. if you are in the ohio area (I live about two hours always from there) feel free to come to the games and protest, I believe the teams schedule is online and you can bet I’ll be there. this is bigger than football and this young girl along with every other victim of rape and rape culture deserves justice.

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Terisa Siagatonu & Rudy Francisco - “Sons”

“Rape culture is the worst kind of teacher our kids are learning the most from.”

Performing for DPL at the 2013 National Poetry Slam.

A small town sides with alleged rapists, driving out a teen victim and her family.

It sounds like a nightmare too over-the-top to be anything but fiction.

After a tragic accident, a mother starts over in a new town, only to find that far worse horrors await her family when her 14-year-old daughter is filmed while being brutally raped, then left to freeze on her own lawn on a cold night in January. And when the local town political machine kicks in to protect the alleged rapists, the community the family hoped would embrace them subjects them to months of harassment—starting with job loss and culminating in suspected arson. 

But it’s real.

[READ MORE]

Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.
—  Serena Williams is in a bit of hot water for her comments to a Rolling Stone writer about Steubenville. 
Worldwide, women between fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be injured or die from male violence than from traffic accidents, cancer, malaria, and the effects of war combined. This sustained brutality would be impossible without a culture that enables it: a value system in which women are currency, and sex is something that men get—or take—from them.
Healing from rape is a long journey. One of the most painful parts for survivors is having to deal with how much we blame ourselves for being assaulted. For years we tend to believe we caused it, that we are bad, that we are dirty, that we somehow deserved the abuse, that we caused it. Sometimes we just need someone we love and admire and trust to tell us over and over again, “It is not your fault.” We can’t hear those words enough, because those are the words that replace the things the rapist said to us. Those are the words that give us back the power and the willingness to go on and to heal. Your life and accomplishments have been a light of inspiration for so many. Please don’t use your words to push some of us back into the darkness of shame.
—  MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry • Criticizing tennis superstar Serena Williams, over remarks the latter made to Rolling Stone’s Stephen Rodrick, on the Steubenville high school rape case that captured national attention over the last few months. Williams was quoted as follows: “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.” Harris-Perry, herself a survivor of sexual assault, and clearly distressed by such remarks from a woman whose achievements she respects and lauds so profoundly, delivered the commentary on her eponymous MSNBC weekend show this morning. source

Bad things happen to whistleblowers right now. Last year, two high-school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, raped an unconscious sixteen-year-old girl over several hours. They took photo footage of themselves doing it, and shared it among their friends. When the pair were finally convicted and sentenced to between one and two years in jail earlier this year, mainstream news outlets wailed that two promising athletes had had their futures ruined, the implication being that the victim really should have shut up and kept quiet and understood that her future and her trauma are far less important than the ambitions of young men.

What was truly shocking, however, was that the case was only prosecuted after a sustained campaign by internet activists, including the protest group Anonymous, which released video and photographic evidence of the crime and drew the world’s attention to how little local law enforcement cares about rape victims. Now one of the hackers who helped bring the Steubenville rapists to justice, 26-year-old Deric Lostutter — otherwise known as “KYAnonymous” - is being prosecuted by the FBI.

If convicted of computer-related crimes, Lostutter could spend ten years in jail. That’s at least five times as long as the rapists. Even if he isn’t convicted, his defence could cost hundreds of thousands - he is collecting donations online. Lostutter is entirely unapologetic, and told Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones that he believes that the FBI and Steubenville officials are pursuing him to send a message: “They want to make an example of me, saying, ‘You don’t fucking come after us. Don’t question us.’"

This is how the surveillance state works, and it’s also how patriarchy works. The message is: don’t tell. Don’t ever tell. The people who have power, whether that’s the state or the boys on the football team, are allowed to know what you’re up to, constantly, intimately, and they can and will punish you for it, but if you turn the tables and show the world how power is abused, you can expect to be fucked with, and fast.

—  What Do Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and the Stebenville Hacker Have in Common?–  Laurie Penny in NewStatesmen
Anonymous hacktivist who exposed the Steubenville rapists faces more prison time than the actual rapists

January 12, 2014

Deric Lostutter, the 26-year-old “hacktivist” who leaked the evidence that led to the conviction of two of the Steubenville, Ohio rapists is now facing more time behind bars than the rapists he exposed. The Steubenville Rape Case made national headlines when a video made by the rapists themselves, and their friends, proved that their victim was unconscious and unable to consent.

Instead of giving Lostutter thanks for exposing these criminals, however, the FBI raided his house last April. At first, Lostutter had denied that he was the man in the video, but he decided to come forward after the appalling reaction of the rapists after they were exposed.

Lostutter is now facing ten years behind bars for obtaining tweets and social media posts which revealed the details of the rape as well as for threatening action against the Steubenville rapists and school officials who helped to cover up the crime. Lostutter posted the video to the Steubenville High School football team website, bringing national attention to the case and the cover-up.

Word of Lostutter’s 10-years comes just as one of the rapists themselves, Ma’Lik Richomond, 16, was just released from prison for “good behavior.”

The Richomond family released a statement, following the release, which focused on how hard the past 16 months have been for Ma’Lik. The attorney for Ma’Lik’s rape victim noted there was no apology made to her in that statement.

“Although everyone hopes convicted criminals are rehabilitated, it is disheartening that this convicted rapist’s press release does not make a single reference to the victim and her family — whom he and his co-defendant scarred for life. One would expect to see the defendant publicly apologize for all the pain he caused rather than make statements about himself. Rape is about victims, not defendants. Obviously, the people writing his press release have yet to learn this important lesson,” attorney Robert Fitzsimmons said.

Source

No, it’s not even remotely that time, and it never, ever, ever will be. They shouldn’t even have been let out of their cages, much less allowed to have one second of peace in their life. Fuck them forever.

What kind of world do we live in when young men are so proud of violating unconscious girls that they pass proof around to their friends? It’s the same kind of world in which being labeled a slut comes with such torturous social repercussions that suicide is preferable to enduring them. As a woman named Sara Erdmann so aptly tweeted to me, “I will never understand why it is more shameful to be raped than to be a rapist.”

And yet it is: so much so that young men seem to think there’s nothing wrong with—and maybe something hilarious about—sharing pictures of themselves raping young women. And why not? Their friends will defend them, as they did in Steubenville, tweeting that the young woman was “asking for it” and that the boys were being unfairly targeted.

Women and girls are the ones expected to carry the shame of the sexual crimes perpetrated against them. And that shame is a tremendous load to bear, because once you’re labeled a slut, empathy and compassion go out the window. The word is more than a slur—it’s a designation.

On Rehtaeh Parsons, Jane Doe, and rape.

On Sunday, Rehtaeh Parsons’ family took her off life support.

Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself in her bathroom four days before that, because Rehtaeah Parsons was gang-raped by four boys a year ago.

They took pictures.

It took weeks for the police to even talk to them.

The atrocity they committed was dismissed – lack of evidence, they couldn’t prove who’d taken the picture.

The people in Rehtaeh’s school called her a slut. They passed her phone number around. They asked her if she’d have sex with them. They bullied, shunned, and browbeat her to death.

Her mother has a memorial page for her on Facebook and I can’t stop looking at the pictures and pictures of her as a child. Rehtaeh with a little dog. Rehtaeh’s school portrait. Rehtaeh and her family. Rehtaeh and her friends. Selfies she took. Pages and pages and pages of them, and I can’t stop looking, and I can’t shake it.

I didn’t know her. I don’t know her. But I know girls like her. I know boys like the ones that did this to her. We all do. 

People were so horrified at Steubenville like it was some isolated incident, like it was on a different level than all the other rapes that happen every day, every hour, every minute. Like Steubenville was the limit of human atrocity, an outlier, something everyone shook their heads at and wondered “How?” and thought “That could never happen to my daughter.” Not me. Not here.

It happens here. It happens wherever you are, right now. It happens every two minutes in the US. One out of five. One out of four. One out of six. One out of three. One billion, worldwide, every year.

Steubenville is not an isolated incident. What happened to Jane Doe and Rehtaeh Parsons is not an isolated incident. It doesn’t happen just to pretty white girls with long hair; it doesn’t just happen to the people we are most comfortable feeling compassion for. 

I’m sorry, Rehtaeh. I’m sorry that so many people failed you. I’m sorry that we are all complicit in a culture that shames and silences and browbeats victims literally to death. We created this. We built it.

I want to tear it apart with my teeth.

And hold up a second.

If the hacker who brought to light the Steubenville rapist evidence is facing 10 years in prison for hacking, where are the charges for the hacker who hacked into all of Trayvon’s stuff?

You know, the self-avowed white supremacist who sent out all the pictures of Trayvon with fake gold teeth but ignored his college applications and honors classes?

Ya’ll just gonna ignore that?