The fact that they were guilty was the good part, but CNN and other news outlets had to go mess it up by talking about how these boys got good grades and now their lives are ruined and they have to register as sex offenders and blah di fucking blah.
Seriously? As if they had no culpability in this matter? As if they were good kids who just...got caught being rapists? What the hell was the point of this bizarre defense of these two rapists? If they didn’t want their lives messed up, perhaps they shouldn’t have, you know...RAPED A GIRL.
This is nothing new. We’ve heard it all before. “She shouldn’t have gotten so drunk.” “She shouldn’t have been out that late.” And that extra-special one, “She shouldn’t have dressed like a slut.” It’s called blaming the victim, and I’m sick of it. How about we start blaming the rapist instead of the woman? Let’s understand, once and for all, that rape is a crime of violence, not one of sex.
This is offensive enough to women, but men should find it equally as insulting. It implies that they are idiot creatures who have no control over their testosterone, and are driven simply mad by the sight of a woman in a short skirt. If I were a guy, I don’t think I’d appreciate being thought of as that stupid and out of control.
It’s a dumb argument on both sides, and it’s time to alter the discussion. Instead of slut-shaming or portraying men as a bunch of dumbasses who can’t control themselves, let’s start sending the message that rape is rape, and it is always wrong. It’s not wrong only if you get caught, it’s not wrong only if the woman is aware enough to fight back, it is wrong. From the time I was a young woman, I was taught to stay out of dark alleys, not walk anywhere by myself, and to not dress provocatively. This is the wrong conversation and the wrong audience. Start teaching young men at an early age that it is. Wrong, wrong, wrong. What is so difficult about this concept?
If we have failed these young men, it is a failure of our society and culture. The message needs to be sent early and often: not to young women about dressing appropriately, but to young men about respecting boundaries and understanding that an assault is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. The blame is not on a woman for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is squarely on the shoulders of those who assault her. That includes those two young men, sobbing so pitifully in court. Their lives are ruined? I would imagine that it would be more than a little disturbing and ruinous to see the video of your sexual assault all over YouTube.
Shame on the media for driving this false perception and feeding the “oh, those poor boys” paradigm. Time to change the conversation.