For anyone who has lived in the Ohio Valley area, they know that high school football is a very important part of the culture of that area. High school football Friday nights are a source of entertainment for young and old. The local television stations even curtail regular programming to run the games live. To an outsider, it seems a bit over the top. I mean, it’s HIGH SCHOOL football for crying out loud. Not the NFL or college, but high school. Big Red football stadium looks like it could be a college stadium complete with press box and big lights. Football IS the Ohio Valley and the student players are treated like sports royalty.
Two 16-year old football players from the Steubenville Big Red football program were charged with rape and kidnapping charges this morning in Jefferson County, Ohio and are being detained in the juvenile detention facility on those charges. On August 11 a female student from a neighboring school was brutally raped by members of the football team she met at a party. Not only did they rape her, but videos were made of the rape and posted on Youtube, and from what I have been able to determine by some of the tweets that I have read, they were also being posted on Twitter. On August 14, she and her family made a police report to the Steubenville Police Department.
Prosecutor Jane Hanlin had said she will step aside in prosecuting the case because she personally knows some of the juveniles named in the investigation. An official determination is pending as to whether she will ask the Ohio Attorney General’s office to take over the prosecution. In my opinion, if she knows the juveniles, then she should do the right thing and step aside so there are no claims of impropriety based on her relationship with the boys or their families.
I have been following the twitter accounts of many of the football players and students about the attack, and quite frankly am a bit shocked that some of them are supporting the boys. This was tweeted about the victim. “You supposevly [sic] get “raped and tweet happy shit #idontgetit #dumbbitch and was retweeted by one of the football players. What is a rape victim SUPPOSED to do after a brutal attack?
The boys have not been publicly named and the local news WTOV Channel 9 has turned off comments for any of the news items they post about the incident. Odd, huh? In the state of Ohio, the law says that the names of people charged with crimes, even juveniles, are public information, however, the names of the players have not been released by the media. There is no reason why their names should not be released to the public. They videotaped and photographed their crime – in my opinion, that’s a slam dunk case. They have the smoking gun. They brutalized their victim further by posting images and video of the attack for others to view. The video has since been pulled, but WHO does this? What normal person would even consider that posting the brutal rape of a young girl is something that should be shared with their peers? Do they think because they are Big Red players that the rules don’t apply to them?
It amazes me how society places a higher value on athletes than it does for the people who protect and give their lives for our country. [author redact – thank you to those posting factual links to base my opinion on. I do recognize that I am not always right, and would never want to be. I appreciate the dialogue and the opportunity to educate myself. Learning is part of growing as a responsible adult. -p]
I’ll be following the Big Red rape story to see how this one plays out.