Two teenaged female relatives of the convicted Steubenville rapists have been brought up on charges for going up on Twitter and threatening the life of the rape victim. One blamed the victim for ruining her cousin’s life.
You can ask a number of questions about the mentality this comes out of. Is this a culture of resistance to the authority of the courts because that authority has so often and so reliably been illegitimate and oppressive? Is this just a family culture of plain old human amoral familism? Is this just teenagers with a pack mentality?
Those are questions for later. Right now the issue is protecting victims who report rapes. A rape shield law cannot reasonably conceal the name of the accuser and victim after the trial begins – some very dark places lie down that road and we have been in all of them over the centuries – but in this case this ugly persecution almost certainly started earlier.
And it’s not just member so the families of the accused who are jumping in on this:
“In addition to the threatening tweets, other Twitter users posted messages harshly criticizing the rape victim’s character, according to screen shots captured by a website dedicated to fighting online bullying.”
I’m not sure a rape shield law would have prevented this; maybe just a rally public treatment of the thugs making the threat will send enough of a message.
Here’s another take on this, from Amanda Marcotte. I didn’t initially buy her reversion to rape culture in this case, but on second look I can see what’s she’s saying. She says that people just don’t want to acknowledge they someone they know is a rapist. I think there’s more to it and it is worse – I thnk these girls don’t just wnat to deny these guys did it, I think they want to downgrade it – yeah, well maybe they did do it, but it doesn’t really matter, look who they did it too. That explains a little better the vile treatment of the victim, explains a litle more fully why they are piling on. People just protect their own and sometimes this is what it looks like. I think that works with all serious crime, and so calling it “rape culture” is not really accurate.
But I really agree with this her analysis when it is applied to the way male rape victims are treated, espceially by other men. There we see a real rape culture – denialism, anomalization, minimization.
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