Trigger warning - I'll be talking about the Steubenville case and rape culture quite a bit today.
The Steubenville gang rape case was finalised today, with two perpetrators being found guilty on all charges. In case you somehow missed the whole thing, the basic back story is this; a girl gets drunk at a party, and passes out. Some members of the local football team them proceeded to digitally rape her, while taking video and pictures of their boyish larks.
I'll just pause for a moment while we all throw up in our mouths.
The upside of this whole disgusting situation is that the two defendant were found guilty, and almost certainly face time in juvenile detention. Hurrah! Justice for their victim! Punishment for the guilty! All good things, right? Apparently some commentators don't think this is such a great outcome. If you've spent any time on the internet, you'll probably be unsurprised there have been some viciously awful things said about the victim on various social media. This round up of the worst Twitter responses is particularly stomach turning. But the part of the public reaction that really makes my blood boil is that the major news networks are joining in the pity party for the convicted rapists - CNN is particularly guilty of this. Poor boys, lives ruined, mean bloggers (who aren't even REAL journalists) keep talking about how bad they are, BOO fucking HOO, cry me a godammned river! I watched the video that's floating around of one of the convicted rapists crying, and all I could think was, "Good. CRY MOAR, you little shit." Sometimes it can be difficult for victims to prove beyond a doubt that a rape occurred, because there isn't always a lot of evidence that can be pulled out and waved around in court - but this was not a case like that. These boys did it. They admitted they did it. There is video of them doing it. There are text messages talking about how they did it. THEY ARE GUILTY. And yet, there are still people attempting to defend them. "She was drunk," "They were drunk," "They didn't know it wasn't okay," "Girls are liars" etc etc on and on until I want to punch faces. This case really illustrates to me that some people will say ANYTHING to defend these boys. ANYTHING, no matter how little sense it makes, or how appallingly inconsiderate it is to the victim. I mean, really, how could this case have been more clear cut? Are people so unwilling to believe that sometimes people do bad fucking things that they refuse to accept the poor girl was raped unless they actually do it in the courtroom, in front of them? Even then the defenders would probably find an excuse.
What's even more depressing is thinking about how different this case would have been if the victim had been anything other than young, cisgendered, and from a relatively well off background. The only thing she did "wrong" was teenage drinking, and she still gets torn apart. If this is the kind of defensiveness that occurs when someone with almost every privilege a woman can have is attacked, can you imagine if she had been fat, or poor, or an addict, or trans, or a sex worker? Or, heaven forbid, a trans sex worker?! You don't have to have seen Boys Don't Cry to know this whole thing would have gone down very, very differently. The way this girl is being treated? This is an example of how women are treated when they have all the privilege. This is how women are treated when we do everything "right", when we are everything we are told women are supposed to be. This is as good as we can hope for it to be for us. And that just makes me so sad, and so angry, that I have no more words.