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For Jane Doe, Steubenville

Posted by purplemary54 on March 20, 2013

This is a little outside this week’s theme of sickness.  Except that this is something like an institutional sickness.  I don’t like the term “rape culture,” but I also can’t think of any other way to describe living in a world where it’s the woman’s fault if she gets raped.  It’s not.  Period.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the coverage of the verdicts in the Steubenville rape case.  I’m sure you’ve all seen how so much of the media is focusing on the reaction to those creeps getting far, far less than they actually deserved for their crimes.  It makes me sick with fury to see reporters discuss how those boys’ lives are ruined.  I’m sorry, but I don’t think a couple of years in juvie is going to ruin their lives.  Certainly, they’re going to be better off than the girl they violated, passed around, and photographed as though she were a piece of meat.  This young lady’s strength and courage astound me.  And my admiration grew when I read about this on Meizac’s blog.  Here’s a link to the original post on Tumblr

Jane Doe, Steubenville has requested that anyone who wants to help pay her legal costs instead donate the money to Madden House in Wheeling.  Madden House is there to protect women from violence.  The fact that these places are necessary is a huge black stain on the culture.  The fact that the only reason those creeps in Steubenville ever got charged with anything was because of the evidence on social media is another black stain.  There are so many stains on our culture right now, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to make it clean.  We are a society that still doubts a woman when she brings charges of rape or domestic violence against a man.  We are a society that still thinks women should be held responsible for each and every single moment of their lives and safety, but that men can do whatever they damn well please.  We as a society should be ashamed.  I know I am.

Tori Amos recounted her own rape in a song.  It’s a powerful document.  I’m proud of her for refusing to be silent.  I’m proud of any woman who stands up and demands to be counted, who makes it clear that she will not cower in shame.  Because of rape shield laws, the identity of Jane Doe, Steubenville is protected.  But she is not silent, and she is taking action.  So here’s to her, and the hope that someday this institutional sickness of rape culture will be cured.

 

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4 Responses to “For Jane Doe, Steubenville”

  1. alundeberg said

    There are so many ailments in our society– those you listed and more. I don’t even know where to begin. There is really a breakdown in our culture about the sanctity of the human body and of respect. The perpetrators in this case will experience a blip on their life screen. Jane Doe, however, has to live with this for the rest of her life and it will color everything. My first serious boyfriend, while he didn’t rape me, had issues with narcissism, sex, and power that it really altered how I felt about myself, my body, and sex. It took me a long time to get over that, and there are still some things I struggle with.

    • So many men use sex as a weapon against women, whether through violence or manipulation. I hope you continue to remember that his twisted sense of self ultimately had nothing to do with you. ((Hugs))

  2. This is a really powerful and important post, Mary. Thank you.

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