Our society has a tendency of blaming victims after acts of assault. But, is it really their fault?
Steubenville High School students Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were convicted Sunday of raping a fellow student. The prosecutors’ case was supported by text messages, video evidence and a photo of the two boys holding the intoxicated and unconscious victim by her arms and legs.
But, these boys were such good students and star football players with a promising future. How is it that their lives are falling apart? The outcome of this trial will be a burden to the future of these two fine boys!
CNN reporter Poppy Harlow said “It was incredibly difficult … to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believe their lives fell apart.”
These boys had a choice that night. They chose to take advantage of a situation and rape a fellow student. Period. As far as I am concerned, there is no excuse for what they did. It was wrong. They knew it, but did it anyways.
It is a tragedy that they chose to do what they did – and alsotragic that they will be branded with this the rest of their lives. But, they made a mistake and committed a reprehensible act! They had a choice and they chose very poorly. They are to blame for what happened and they have to face the consequences.
What About the Bystanders?
Did no one think that what was happening was wrong? We need to teach our children the difference between right and wrong and how to stand up for what is right! I cannot believe some watched, took pictures, and recorded video. What would have come out of this if instead of standing by, someone had spoken up and put a stop to this before it went as far as it did? Maybe there wouldn’t have even been need for a trial as no crime would have occurred.
What About the Future of the Young Woman Who Was Raped?
Some say, “But she was drunk,” or “She shouldn’t drink so much.” While that may be true, it doesn’t give anyone the right to abuse her. If these young men were such upstanding citizens, then perhaps they could have done something to help her, not hurt her. She is the victim of a crime and is in no way to blame. She had no choice in the matter.
This reminds me of the attitudes some expressed about the suicide of Amanda Todd – that it was her fault she was bullied. When will our society stop blaming the victim?
So, to answer the question "When is rape the victims fault?" My answer is NEVER.
When is rape the perpetrators fault? ALWAYS.
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