On August 11, students from Steubenville High School or “Big Red” as it is known locally, attended various end of the summer parties in the Ohio Valley. That night while in attendance at a party that was allegedly held at a COACH’s home, underage students were drinking to celebrate the end of the summer. For many in attendance, it was the end of their high school journey and they were moving on to attend various colleges. I do not have all the facts, and have read many accounts of what transpired, but the end result was a young girl was brutally raped and attacked by members of the Steubenville High football team and it was videotaped and posted on the internet. I am not solely pointing the finger at the football team because there were boys who took part in this attack who were also on the wrestling team, baseball team and track teams. The point is these boys represented the school and their respective teams. Playing high school sports is not a right. It is a privilege and with that privilege comes a higher responsibility to represent yourself and your school in a manner that will not taint the reputation of your school. Athletes should be role models for other students, and in this case – they were not.
The student athletes who participated are not the only ones guilty of disseminating the attack of a defenseless girl, but the students who saved the video to their cellphones or who retweeted and reposted the video attack and talked inappropriately about the victim are just as guilty of smearing the reputation of their school, as well as guilty of disseminating criminal material. So, in a nutshell YES this behavior represents their school and will have long running implications on every student who has ever attended Big Red. Big Red will now forever be known as that high school where the kids who raped that girl attended.
I have been reading tweets and posts online for the past few days and I can tell you that I am DISGUSTED. TRULY and UTTERLY DISGUSTED at the things being posted by those who were in attendance of this brutal attack or the posts by their girlfriends who are disparaging the victim’s reputation. I am disgusted with the students who are protecting their friends and tweeting “Oh, ______ better not get in trouble for this.” Tweet after tweet has been filled with support for the boys who were arrested, as well as vowing their support and willingness to stick together because they are “#StuebenvilleStarsForever”. No, you are not stars. You are criminals who are walking around right now on borrowed time.
The other students and former students of Big Red have yet to be charged with anything as of yet — even though they were present and they participated in the dissemination of the videotaped attack. The coach who had a party with alcohol in which minors were in attendance has neither been named or charged as of yet. I know the names and for now will not post them, but will provide screenshots of the tweets that were deleted from their accounts. I also have the name of the football player who posted the video online. The video and the Youtube channel were deleted by its owner – more than likely in attempt to save his butt and cover up his part in the crime. He also deleted his Twitter account. I have screenshots of that, too. Not only was it being sent via phone, but it has been downloaded and saved by others. ALL of these individuals who have in their possession or who have sent this video have participated in disseminating material involving the sexual assault of a minor.
I have seen much victim blaming from these kids as well as adults. Every time someone posts a comment about why was she at this party or didn’t her parents teach her any better – is revictimizing the victim. Many seem not to care that she was victimized by these kids only that the ones who took part are still suiting up each week to play football. I have seen posts where adults are stating this may be a “false accusation” and comparing it to the Duke Lacrosse team rape allegations. She was PASSED OUT! How in the world did she have a say in what was going on? I can ASSURE you that these boys KNEW what they did was rape. One of them tweeted the Nirvana video “Rape Me” after the other said the song of the night should be “rape me”.
There are screenshots of the video that was posted with tags “rape” and “drunk girl” . Tagging the video with the word “rape” clearly shows their knowledge of the crime. Did they think because they are star athletes that no one was going to do anything to them? Is their status as star athletes permission to do whatever they want without repercussion?
These boys have brought shame not only upon their own families, but on the community that supports them. They have also blighted the name of their school and anyone who attends it from this day forward. The parents who once beamed with pride while reading their sons’ names in the local paper will now read their names again but this time that pride will now be replaced with tears and shame.
To the other boys that were involved who are still free to go to class tomorrow morning, I can only hope that their time walking around as free men is limited. Tick tock.