When I first started writing about the Steubenville case, there was one thing that bothered me the absolute most. It was not that law enforcement did a shoddy job — I never claimed that, and will never make that claim. I know many of the officers at Steubenville PD and they are very fine and upstanding men. What bothered me greatly was the number of bystanders (as evidenced by social media) who stood by and did nothing. The complete and utter lack of empathy of anyone that night bothered me greatly.
To be quite clear, RAPE was mentioned on August 11th as it pertains to the events that unfolded that night. No one but those using social media to discuss what happened that night put those words on their keyboards. They tweeted about “rape“. It was they who initially identified what happened that night as rape, and later the prosecutor’s office defined the happenings that night as “rape” when charges were filed against the two juveniles now awaiting trial.
Since then there has also been a lot of blaming. There is blame laid at the defense attorneys who represent the accused. They are simply doing their jobs. I had occasion to meet Mr. Madison – I thought he was very polite and cordial. I met mothers of some Big Red students and have nothing but nice things to say about them and their children. Not all kids at Steubenville High School are bad because of an irresponsible, uncaring few.
Rather than lay blame at those who discuss the case or wish to shoot the messenger…perhaps it is time for the blame to be laid where it belongs — to those individuals that broadcast and publicized the events of that night to the world. Perhaps it is time for parents to take an active role in parenting and monitor what their children are doing online. Perhaps it is time for educators to uphold their duty to protect children and engage in mandatory reporting. Perhaps it is time for the community to hold individuals accountable for their bad deeds or dismissing their actions as “boys will be boys”. Perhaps it is time to look in the mirror and acknowledge where the blame should fall.