Published By Chubaca On Thu, January 10, 2013 - 9:27
Two high school football players from Steubenville, Ohio have drawn their little town into national and even an international spotlight. Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond have been accused of raping a 16 year-old girl last August. And although they have served some jail time in awaiting their trials, they are now under house arrest. The two are minors and thus will be tried as juveniles. Their next court date is set for February.
Two issues make this alleged crime relatively unusual, and thus far even unique. First, how it came to the public’s attention was via social media. Rape is a notoriously under-reported crime and although the no criminal activity was captured on video, the alleged perpetrators were filmed carrying the victim – lifted by her wrists and ankles in what looks too many - in an unstable, disrespectful and unconscious manner, although it is not completely clear if she was indeed unconscious. Also in the video, one of the accused in particular refers to a rape taking place with the girl being “dead”. He uses many hyperboles to describe just how “dead” she was. For most people, it’s a difficult and nauseating twelve and half minutes to watch.
It is also alleged that the victim was apparently carried unconsciously or nearly so, to at least three parties, had sexually assaulted her multiple times.
The cyber-group “Anonymous” has also gotten involved. Acting in an unsolicited manner and on behalf of the teenaged girl-victim, her family and the injustice they believe is transpiring, they have threatened to release incriminating and embarrassing information unless apologies are made and the perpetrators are prosecuted. Anonymous claims that the authorities of Steubenville and the administration at Steubenville High School are sweeping the alleged crime under the rug so as not to make trouble for the Football team. They also accuse the authorities of ignoring others who were also involved in assaulting the young girl.
We live in an age when there are often several cameras and videos within a few feet of us. Criminal events are captured which just a few short years ago would have gone unreported, disbelieved and unpunished. This fundamentally changes how justice systems all over the World, prosecute these crimes. Many applaud Anonymous’ actions, coming to the aid of a girl who at best was unable to give consent. They are cyber-vigilantes, working outside of the law, but coming to the rescue of this girl who had no one to come to her rescue when she needed it. This event has divided the city of Steubenville. Multiple protests have occurred and today the city posted a new website to give what they say is objective and impartial information.