The Times West Virginian


March 20, 2013

Rape is rape: Message that must be made clear to everyone

It happens once every two minutes in the United States.

That means there are an average of 207,754 victims of rape and sexual assault each year.

Maybe it’s happened to someone you know.

Maybe it’s happened to you.

It happened one day last summer, and now two members of a celebrated high school football team in Steubenville, Ohio, have been found guilty of committing the horrendous crime.

We’re sure you’re familiar with the case by now. As The Associated Press has reported, two of Steubenville High School’s football players were charged with raping a drunken 16-year-old girl, first in the back seat of a moving car after a mostly underage drinking party last summer, and then in the basement of a house.

Prosecutors argued that the victim was so intoxicated she couldn’t consent to sex that night, while the defense contended the girl realized what she was doing and was known to lie.

The victim, a resident of West Virginia, testified that she couldn’t recall what happened but woke up naked in a strange house after drinking at a party.

“It was really scary,” she said. “I honestly did not know what to think because I could not remember anything.”

The case brought national attention to the city of 18,000 and led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the Steubenville football team, and the crime shocked many in Steubenville because of the seeming callousness with which other students took out their cellphones to record the attack and gossiped about it online.

Rape itself is ugly. It’s disgusting. Anyone who commits it should be punished to the full extent of the law.

But young people witnessing it happening and, instead of trying to stop it or report it to the police, capturing the images on their cellphones? There are no words to adequately describe that heinous behavior.

We understand that cellphones and the ability to be instantly connected to their friends is a way of life for most teenagers. We realize they love documenting their every waking moment online.

But we also sincerely hope that those same teens know the difference between right and wrong.

So make sure this message is made clear to your kids and grandkids: Rape is rape.

It doesn’t matter what the victim is wearing.

It doesn’t matter if the victim is drunk or under the influence of drugs.

It doesn’t matter if the person committing the rape is well-known in the community or has a promising future.

Rape is rape.

It isn’t something that should go unreported.

It isn’t something that should be joked or gossiped about via social media websites.

It isn’t something that should be ignored.

Rape is rape.

Although the two young men in Steubenville were found guilty, the case might not be over.

The Ohio attorney general has said he will be continuing his investigation and might consider charges against anyone who failed to speak up after the attack last August. That could include other teens, parents, school officials and coaches for the high school football team.

The victim in the Steubenville case described waking up naked in a strange house as “really scary.” She probably faced a range of emotions unlike any that a person who hasn’t been the victim of rape can understand.

We hope Sunday’s verdict gives her some form of closure, especially if the case continues to play out over the coming weeks and months.

We hope it will cause other victims to report similar crimes that were committed against them.

Ultimately, we hope their unified voices help decrease the number of rapes and sexual assaults committed in this country.

Rape is rape, and one victim is one too many.

Text Only
  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads