STEUBENVILLE - "I made it as a joke,"...

STEUBENVILLE – “I made it as a joke,” Pizzoferrato testified. ” (MARCH 17, 2013) …item 2.. Steubenville rape case: — victim had been urinated upon (SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2013, 5:29 PM) … (Photo credit: marsmet523)

I have been debating if I should write about this.  So many talented writers and great minds have weighed in so I thought everything that could have been said, has been said.  Then I found out that one of the convicted Steubenville rapists was appealing his sentence based on the grounds that his mind is not yet fully formed.   It could be argued that because the convicted rapist is a juvenile and therefore does not have a fully formed brain, that is exactly why he is getting such a light sentence.  Had his mind been “fully formed” then he might be facing 10-15 years in maximum security prison.  As it stands he might serve a year or more in a juvenile institution.

What would be terrifying is the unlikely scenario of a judge buying this nonsense.  That would set up a precedent that rape is perfectly acceptable as long as the attacker is underage.  The brain of a child is not responsible for committing such a heinous act and the violent predator shouldn’t have to pay for his or her crimes.

Can we please remember the victim in this case is also a child?  What about her brain?  What kind of damage did this one act of violence do to her developing mind?  What did the subsequent harassment, bullying and death threats do to her psyche and self-esteem?  How will she be tormented, humiliated and scorned in her small community for years to come after this trial is over?  Will she have to relocate and change her name thanks to Fox news releasing her identity?  Her brain is also still not completely formed and the damage that has already been done to it is tantamount.

But what really makes me insane with anger is the fact that anyone would feel it necessary to lament the lives destroyed of these two young men and not of this young woman.  These boys not only violated this young woman, but then they bragged about it afterward.  They urinated on her and thought it was hysterical.  She was an object and a plaything – ridiculed and tossed away once finished.  Rape is a crime of violence.  Would another violent crime be treated the same?  What if they had beaten her?  What if they put her into a coma?  What if they had accidentally killed her?  Would the media lament their lost football careers?  How is it any different.

What if the situation were reversed?  What if the boys had been anally raped with found objects, urinated on and then dumped naked in a cold basement only to be photographed and humiliated on the internet afterward?  Would the issue of consent even be brought up?  Why is it that a woman or in this case a girl is somehow always available for sex?   What the hell is going on here?

According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network

  • 44% of all rape victims are under the age of 18
  • 80% are under the age of 30
  • Every 2 minutes someone in the US is raped
  • 207,754 are victims of sexual assault every year

I don’t need statistics to know the truth.  I know from my own experiences and from those of my friends – rape happens, attempted rape happens, molestation happens as does sexual intimidation and harassment.  In any group of adult women it is usually more difficult to find someone who doesn’t have a story to tell.  We are not all victims of course, but we have all had to deal with sexual intimidation or violence on some level.  If nothing else, harassment or intimidation is meant to put  us in our rightful place – sexual object and nothing else.

Those boys are responsible for their actions and if they have ruined their football careers they only have themselves to blame.  They may have only been 16, but so was their victim.  My heart goes out to her as this is only the beginning.  She will likely face more grief, ridicule and hatred in the months and years to come.  All because she had the nerve and strength to stand up to her attackers.

If nothing else this case has at least awoken our consciousness to the rape culture that is still so pervasive in this country.  A sixteen year girl was raped – that is the real tragedy.

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8 comments on “Steubenville: Poor Little Rapists

  1. Cherry Cheesecake

    I really feel like this young woman deserves a fundraiser or.. something. She is brave, honest, and a hero. Although she probably doesn’t feel this way, she is an incredible person. Although we need to keep talking about the rapists and their crimes, we also need to focus on the young woman as well. She didn’t deserve this. She deserves much better. Hopefully we can help her in some way.

  2. Aaron Freeman

    What if there is real science that demonstrates the parts of the brain that resist primal seeking urges IS less than fully developed in 18 year olds? What if we have data suggesting that had the opportunity to rape arisen two years from now the same young man would have had no difficulty resisting the urge? Not to say his danger to society should not be realistically assessed, not even to say he should not be punished. But if there is reason to believe his actions were influenced by biological factors beyond his control, would not justice require those factors be taken into account when deciding his sentence?

    1. julietjeske

      I see your point, and I agree that children don’t really understand what they are doing or the consequences of their actions. In this case, I think their age has been taken into consideration. He will serve a year in juvenile detention. He could serve up until the age of 21, which is unlikely. Some have argued that they should have been tried as adults, I think that would have been going too far as they are children themselves.

      Also had these two boys not bragged about it and further humiliated their victim on the internet after the fact, I might have more understanding for them. Teenagers do incredibly stupid things all the time, but these two went so far with it. It is really hard to feel sorry for them. They ruined their potential football careers…so what? They will get out and probably lead a much less tormented life than their victim. She has already received death threats, it is tragic that all of the individuals in this case are children. They aren’t going to do hard time in a super max prison. If they didn’t have the football careers, they would just be like any other juvenile criminal.

    2. Cherry Cheesecake

      If that is true, then I am scared for the world. If not one but TWO 15 year old boys have the same mental disorder that makes them unable to resist the urge to rape, piss on, and post videos on the internet of it, then how can anyone feel safe? Not sure about you but I’ve never had to resist the urge to rape and piss on someone but maybe that’s just me. Maybe it’s just because I’m a woman that I’ve never thought that forcing someone to pleasure me against their will would be a fun time.

      1. julietjeske

        I don’t think that is what he is saying. But I also see your point of view as well. The boys have to suffer consequences, even if their impulse control is lacking – as it is in all teenagers. And even if their hormones were raging – again as it is in all teenagers. Aaron and his attorney are correct in that a child’s brain isn’t fully formed, apparently our brain isn’t really “set” until around age 23. They have to serves some time, letting them go scott free would be a disaster, and would basically give permission for any boy under the age of 18 to rape at will. And I think we all know some fairly intimidating teenagers. If they could then in court say “my brain wasn’t formed yet” and get off…I can’t even imagine. Plus what this damage does to victims is just astonishing. Even child abuse can cause a person’s brain to malform. I would assume the trauma and later humiliation of a sexual assault will also negatively affect this girl’s still forming brain. It is tragic that both victim and predator in this case were children…I wonder what went wrong in the boys development to think that their actions were acceptable behavior. I did plenty of stupid things when I was 16, but I didn’t inflict violence on anyone. It is just so sad.

  3. julietjeske

    I wanted to thank you both by the way for your comments! I was kind of surprised how this article immediately got two…I just figured there were so many others out there…that is why I didn’t bother, but as I always say…when I get mad…I blog!

  4. Anders

    In the case of under age perpetrators of a crime. It would be reasonable to have the punishment for the crime to have the same duration as the anguish caused to the victim. The problem is to know what that duration is. The reasoning around the brain not being fully formed, has the flaw that, such blatant acts of violence and humiliation are easily understood even by the underage. The ability to understand the consequences of ones actions is plenty well developed in a 15 year old to understand that what these boys did is wrong. It’s the more subtle ability to understand causality that takes more time to develop. That anyone can even think about the football careers of the perpetrators is beyond me.

  5. Pingback: Rape Jokes: The Freedom of Expression goes both ways | julietjeske

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