For those of you who don't know, today the Steubenville rape case was decided. If you don't know what that is, google it so you can get as pissed off with the reporting of it as I have. The news has ALWAYS done a pretty piss poor job of reporting rape cases. The media thrives on having a victim in front of the camera, and since this is not possible in rape and sexual assault cases they often choose to instead paint the rapists as victims. However, since I want to sleep in the next month, I'm not going to write up a totality of the issues the media faces with reporting these cases overall, I'm going to point out what pissed me off today.
NBC News: I'm pretty liberal, no sense in pretending I'm not, so I get some news from NBC from time to time. This is where I first saw the decision had been handed down, and wouldn't you fucking know it? The anchor is talking about how much the football careers of these boys was cut short. Yes, NBC, let's talk about these poor boys who, instead of sticking to playing football, choose to rape a girl. I do not want to hear about how a rapist's life was ruined, they started that fire and as far as I'm concerned they can burn in it. How about how the survivor's life was ruined? For that matter, when rapists are found not guilty, I don't think I've ever seen you talk about how the survivor's life was affected, either. Just a note, you might want to look the fuck into it.
ABC News: Ah, ABC, left leaning but not quite as insane as NBC. Again, I hear a lack of anything about the survivor's side. Instead, I heard a lot about why the rapists raped her. Not in a, psychological and sociological insight into why rapists exist, but in a way that sounded a hell of a lot like excusing the behavior. It sounded like ABC was a few steps shy of saying "boys will be boys", and as a guy, I fucking hate that statement. My default is not a rapist, raping someone is not excusable for any reason, and don't use gender as an excuse, it's shameful, insulting, and disgusting.
CNN: Well CNN wasn't exactly full of surprises, they used the old "they had such promising futures" bit. We get it, a rape can be tragic for everyone in the community, but let's pretend for a moment that you're a respectable news agency. I think it might be prudent to focus on how it was tragic to...I don't know...the person who was raped. That seems like a good place to start, and finish, and really all the stuff in the middle. What about the survivor's promising future? I think it stands to reason that maybe the person who didn't choose to ruin their own life by being a rapist is maybe, just maybe, where you should focus your attention.
FOX News: You know what FOX? Fuck you. Reporting the news is simple, you have free reign to do basically everything you want. You can tell your viewers that poverty is a choice, you can make up an imaginary war on the most popular holiday in the country, and you can continuously misunderstand the concept of socialism. The one thing you cannot ever do, for any reason, is release the name of a 16 year old survivor of sexual assault. Your job is specifically protected by the constitution which means there is not a whole lot you're not supposed to do, but that makes the short fucking list. It's not illegal, it's just wrong. Everyone else, for all their shortcomings, at least got that much right.
This entire case is sickening, but people need to be informed. The rape culture that exists in this country is allowed to run rampant, the community demands it, the media reinforces it, and the community demands it again. What kind of culture do we live in where rapists are given more sympathy than the survivor? Where it's more acceptable to be a rapist than an immigrant, gay, or poor? That should not be a world any of us are okay living in. For survivors in this country, just getting to this point, if that is even an option, is an uphill battle that I cannot even begin to explain. Instead of realizing that, the media chooses to focus on what the rapists lose. They chose that path for themselves, the survivor did not choose to give up their life, so instead of trying to bring the rapists back into our society, how about we welcome survivors without stigma or judgement? Better yet, how about we all work to end this disgusting culture that facilitates these tragic, daily stories.