The Steubenville trial is quickly approaching and once all is said and done – lives will be changed forever. Lives have been changed regardless of the outcome. The lives of every person who tweeted or retweeted the events of that night will forever have those bad decisions to follow them anytime someone Googles their name. Michael Nodianos’ life changed when he and his friends laughed maniacally over the sexual assault of a young girl. Many lives have changed, including my own.
I was sued for defamation of character for allowing the exchange of ideas and opinions on this blog. My anonymous commenters lives were changed as well. I am sure many of them are hesitant about ever voicing an opinion online for fear of becoming a legal target again because in their town you aren’t supposed to talk about it. I was hospitalized for a week while trying to defend myself from accusations of defamation and trying to make sure that my John Does weren’t hung out to dry. I’m okay with that. It was worth every second of it to stand tall and fight for what I believed in.
And then my life changed when people who I thought were my friends jumped on the “Alex is attacking our town” bandwagon and used our friendship as a weapon in their attempts to wipe their own slate clean. My writing about Steubenville has never been an attack on the town as a whole. There are some wonderful people there, and I still have friends and supporters there. I wrote about this case because I was providing information that the media was not. ANYONE looking for the information could have found it. I lived in Steubenville and think I have insight into what it is like there. I have no grudge against an entire town. I have no grudge against individuals – even the mother of my former best friend who wished AIDS on me and hoped that I died a slow death. I feel sorry for her that a woman her age has is capable of this much hate and I am embarrassed that Connie’s mother has brought her own family shame because of her behavior.
Indeed, lives have changed and will continue to change. Life is change. Embrace it.