I’ve seen a lot of people asking today what’s wrong with Steubenville. Why, it is asked, are people so anxious to protect rapists, and so hostile towards the victim of a rape?
For the exact same reason that Jerry Sandusky was overlooked, and even tolerated, at Penn State. And for more reasons than that, even.
Steubenville is an old industrial town that has seen the life sucked out of it by the “free” trade economic policies of the last 30 years. The largest export out of Steubenville these days are people aged 18-44, who get out as soon as they are legally old enough to escape. The city doesn’t have a whole lot going for it, so the prestige of a competitive high school football team is a big deal there. A much bigger deal, in fact, than it is in a lot of other places. The desire to shield that prestige will drive people to some pretty sad extremes, just like it drove them to extremes at Penn State.
It is a pity that the value of a human being gets lost in the desire to not lose anything else in Steubenville. It’s an even bigger shame that our culture seems to place its values where it often does. My thoughts are for that poor kid, who has now been repeatedly victimized by the good people of Steubenville. I assume that she, too, will flee the place the first chance she gets. As well she should.
Two teenage girls were arrested late Monday afternoon on menacing charges for threatening the victim in the recent Steubenville rape trial, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office detectives alerted the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the online threats soon after Sunday’s sentencing hearing concluded.
“Let me be clear,” DeWine said. “Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you , and we will arrest you.”
The two Steubenville girls, ages 15 and 16, were taken to the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center following their arrests.
The 16-year-old is charged with one misdemeanor count of aggravated menacing for threatening the life of the victim on Twitter. The 15-year-old is charged with one misdemeanor count of menacing for threatening bodily harm to the victim on Facebook.
The teenage girls are, in my opinion, more a reflection of their environment than they are anything else. After all, Steubenville seemed almost anxious to lay the blame for this monstrous crime on the victim. Did anyone really think that the desire to do this was just going to evaporate when these thugs finally got what they deserved? Nah. I’m sure some folks there are angrier than ever.
There were ample opportunities among the perpetrators, witnesses, and parents, to try to do something positive here. Up until pressure came at them from the whole world, they did little to nothing beyond try to pretend like nothing happened, or that whatever happened wasn’t all THAT bad. They now have a new opportunity to re-examine themselves as the enablers that they’ve been, and decide on a different path. Whether or not they will, of course, remains to be seen.