CNN and the rest of our media are taking a lot of well-deserved flack for their report on the Stubenville, OH, rape verdict handed down Sunday.
There is also this report: http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/17/justice/ohio-steubenville-case/index.html
I recognize that reporters are far less objective than they once were, but CNN (and the rest of our media sources) should take the public backlash as a clue to re-evaluate their reporters’ investigative standards. They need to understand that they promote this reprehensible custom: Sympathizing with criminals while leaving victims out to hang. Jezebel says Here’s What CNN Should’ve Said About the Steubenville Rape Case
CNN isn’t alone in letting this unadulterated crap slip through. Too many members of our society encourage this sort of thinking.
NBC News and Fox fared just about as well, though neither source came out and said it was a shame what happened to those boys. Yahoo (of all places) gets much closer to the truth of the situation Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel for calling it what it is.
Throughout this trial, the two defendants and a parade of friends who wound up mostly testifying against the defendants, expressed little understanding of rape – let alone common decency or respect for women. Despite the conviction, the defendants likely don’t view themselves as rapists, at least not the classic sense of a man hiding in the shadows.
We live in a culture of rape, patronizing subordination and violence. We glorify gun ownership and alcohol and we look for ways to excuse bad behavior because they’re young and don’t know better. But who taught them about behaving this way in the first place?
We encourage our kids to dress in ways that enhance their attractiveness to each other, but too often we fail to teach them anything about what should happen when they are together, about taking responsibility for one another, or what abuse means. The emphasis on the victim’s level of intoxication should lead us to wonder how she had access to so much alcohol, how she came to be in that condition when they abused her.
This “they’re OUR kids, hands OFF” approach to sex education leaves kids with a basic understanding of biology and no understanding of ethics. Add alcohol into the mix, reduce remaining inhibitions, and you have a mess on your hands. Assuming the family or church will handle it absolves our society of dealing with the real problem: Education our kids with empathy, understanding consequences and recognizing right from wrong.
But that’s not what CNN reported.
Is it social media that’s to blame? No. In fact, without access to the electronic connection, the victim’s abuse would have gone unreported and she would have had no recourse. Nobody would have believed her because “she lied” and must have “asked for it” by being at the party and drinking. At least, that’s the gist of the reports coming out of this trial.
So when her rapists are found guilty and punished, we hear sympathy for them and what they’ll go through now that they’ve been found guilty.
The only way we’re going to change our society is to acknowledge that these crimes deserve punishment and that victims are NOT to blame for being in the wrong place at the wrong time or for provoking the actions of their abusers.
In fact, there should BE NO WRONG PLACE.
The real story here is how hard it was for victim to seek and receive justice, not how the verdict destroyed the lives of two boys because the victim sought justice.
How we address these issues speaks volumes about who we are as a society. For all the good we can do, there’s this, also from CNN:
Contrast? You bet. Sadly, it happens here, like this, all the time.
Nobody told those boys they were doing anything wrong until they got caught and punished.
Seems to me they regret getting caught as much or more than the acts they committed, as horrific as those acts were.
That is the biggest crime of all.