The War on Women Continues in Ohio

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

Last week we read Prof. Turley’s article concerning a bill proposed in New Mexico that attempts to make it unlawful for a rape victim to have an abortion because it would be akin to destroying the “evidence” of the rape claim.  While that bill is an insult to women and right thinking men everywhere, I submit that it is further evidence that the longest “war” on record, is still going strong in this country.  One of the most controversial examples of how women in general and rape victims in particular,  can be turned into the criminals by the public and even the police and prosecution is the case of an alleged gang rape in August, 2012,  in Steubenville, Ohio.

The victim was a 16-year-old girl who after passing out at a party from drinking and/or date rape drugs was allegedly repeatedly raped and abused by members of the Steubenville Big Red football team. The details of what the victim endured are both heartbreaking and disgusting.  I apologize in advance for the lurid details, but they are necessary to fully understand how egregious the attacks were and how egregious the post crime attacks on the victim and her family were.

“Across the river, in a well-kept two-story colonial house in a solidly middle-class West Virginia neighborhood, the 16-year-old girl told her parents that she was going to a sleepover at a friend’s house that night. She then headed off to those parties, too.  She is not a Steubenville High student; she attended a smaller, religion-based school, where she was an honor student and an athlete.

At the parties, the girl had so much to drink that she was unable to recall much from that night, and nothing past midnight, the police said. The girl began drinking early on, according to an account that the police pieced together from witnesses, including two of the three Steubenville High athletes who testified in court in October. By 10 or 10:30 that night, it was clear that the dark-haired teenager was drunk because she was stumbling and slurring her words, witnesses testified.

Some people at the party taunted her, chanted and cheered as a Steubenville High baseball player dared bystanders to urinate on her, one witness testified.  About two hours later, the girl left the party with several Big Red football players, including Mays and Richmond, witnesses said. They stayed only briefly at a second party before leaving for their third party of the night. Two witnesses testified that the girl needed help walking. One testified that she was carried out of the house by Mays and Richmond while she was “sleeping.”

She woke up long enough to vomit in the street, a witness said, and she remained there alone for several minutes with her top off. Another witness said Mays and Richmond were holding her hair back.  Afterward, they headed to the home of one football player who has now become a witness for the prosecution. That player told the police that he was in the back seat of his Volkswagen Jetta with Mays and the girl when Mays proceeded to flash the girl’s breasts and penetrate her with his fingers, while the player videotaped it on his phone. The player, who shared the video with at least one person, testified that he videotaped Mays and the girl “because he was being stupid, not making the right choices.” He said he later deleted the recording.

The girl “was just sitting there, not really doing anything,” the player testified. “She was kind of talking, but I couldn’t make out the words that she was saying.”  At that third party, the girl could not walk on her own and vomited several times before toppling onto her side, several witnesses testified. Mays then tried to coerce the girl into giving him oral sex, but the girl was unresponsive, according to the player who videotaped Mays and the girl.

The player said he did not try to stop it because “at the time, no one really saw it as being forceful.”  At one point, the girl was on the ground, naked, unmoving and silent, according to two witnesses who testified. Mays, they said, had exposed himself while he was right next to her.  Richmond was behind her, with his hands between her legs, penetrating her with his fingers, a witness said.”  New York Times

It is hard to imagine that anyone could see these details and view the online videos and not be disgusted and not feel for the victim and her family.  However, in Steubenville, Ohio the victim and her family have been attacked while many in the community have backed the alleged perpetrators.  You have heard the comments before.  She lured them into repeatedly abusing her at several public parties and in the back seat of a car.  What was she wearing that caused this reaction by our boys?

While repeating that these young men are innocent until proven guilty, what is extremely upsetting to me is the way the coaches and townspeople have attacked the young women and her family and anyone else who has come out against the alleged perpetrators.  It is also alleged that the police and a local prosecutor may have tried to dissuade the victim and her parent from pressing charges.

“Jane Hanlin is a Jefferson County prosecutor and is also a member of the school board and her son was a member of the football team.  “When the family of the victim went to file the charges, Jane Hanlin was present. She strongly discouraged them from filing. Hanlin frightened not only the victim, but the parents as well. Telling them that her name was going to be dragged through the mud, she will be in and out of court for well over two years, the press wouldn’t leave any of the family alone once the crime was made public. Scared out of their wits, the parents said they didn’t want that and Hanlin then said not to worry just leave it up to her and the detectives on the case.”  Radionewz.net

I ask you to imagine what the outcry would have been if the alleged victim had been a boy and had been beaten and probed with fingers and allegedly urinated on?  Is this evidence of the need for the Violence Against Women Act that has languished in Congress?  Do you think that 16 year football players who allegedly abused and carried the unconscious young women to multiple public locations to continue their alleged abuse should be charged as juveniles?  Why won’t more of the students at the parties in Steubenville that night cooperate with authorities to allow them to get to the truth?  Do communities give too much deference to athletes at their schools?  This is a very sad case that, in my opinion, evidences the continuing battle women have in getting justice in assault and rape cases.  What do you think? (Revised)

Additional sources: politicususa.com;Ms.Magazine;Local leaks.blog

42 thoughts on “The War on Women Continues in Ohio

  1. Darren is 100% correct in every word he wrote.

    Whatever happens, society as a whole owes a deep debt of gratitude to the hacktivist group, Anonymous, who pulled this sick mess out of the shadows and thus revealed the town of Steubinville and Hanlin for what they really are.

  2. Joy P,

    You are 100% right! The title of this article should be “the war on women continues in the USA.” The Right (Republicans) and the Left (Democrats) treat women in this country the same: “3rd Class Entities.” The Right continues to tell women ‘where their place is.’ The Left decides to hide, ignore, or uses a bandaid appraoch to resolve women issues (the Right does this as well, when women start protesting, filing lawsuits or EEOC complaints).

    We can look at the current state of women issues in the work place: Both parties allow women to do the same work as men for less pay; Both parties continue to allow the Board members and CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies to be dominated by men, even though some of these same companies have been bailed out by women’s taxpaying dollars; Both parties allow collges and universities’ presidents and upper administration to be dominated by men; Both parties allow women college and profesional sports to be predicated upon and separated from men’s sports. This separation and predication is similar to a certain separate but equal supreme court decision of the 1950s.

    Finally, and since Joy P ‘went there’ with her last comment, we, America, treat women as a sex symbol. If you think I am not telling you like it is, just watch the Superbowl halftime show and the commercials.

  3. Dear Paul, what are earth do your views on abortion have to do with this outrageous assist on a helpless young girl by out of control criminals?!

    Should these boys be charged as juveniles? No. Allowing a juvenile prosecution of these men would equal letting them go. They should be tried in an adult setting in another jurisdiction by another prosecutor.

    As to Ms. Hanlin, she should be disbarred.
    This proves that even female prosecutors are worthless on women’s issues.

    What does this whole story say about Stubenville! A heck of a lot and none of it good. The fact that most towns allow their “sports stars” whether high school, college or professionals to act like animals and blame the victims doesn’t excuse Stubenville it indicts other towns , cities and universities as well. The fact that the men including the witnesses saw little wrong with what was being done is chilling as it illustrates how our culture has created a large groups of sociopaths who can passively wath such an assault.

    For too long in our culture men have been able to treat women cruelly and brutally because religions give men an excuse for doing so and the government including prosecutors like Hanlim have absorbed those cruel views into our criminal justice system. Congress is no better and the GOP is more like the Taliban every day. Until women and men wake up to the damage this institutionalized cruelty does to all of us there will be no change.

    • Rafflaw,

      Are you kidding me? What year was it when our constitution gave women the right to vote? Who was behind not allowing women to vote? Was the Democrats or the Republicans? or Both? Both parties are guilty of all that I mentioned above, and so far, nothing has been done to resolve most of the women issues in the workplace (just to name one of the many women issues that our country continues to ignore or uses a bandaid approach on). The same issues (as I mentioned above) that women are experiencing in the workplace, were not resolved by the Clinton, Bush, Jr., or Obama Administration.

      What has the Clinton and Obama Administration done to stop allowing women to have the same issues (and there are more) that I mentioned above? What has Congress done? US Supreme Court done (since they are so good at enforcing there laws)? What has the Clinton and Obama Administration done to stop women from being used as sex symbols by corporate America?

      Please let me know………..

  4. RWL,
    Have you been sleeping through the nationwide attempts by Republican legislatures to attempt end runs against abortion rights? Have you forgotten the forced obtrusive exams being passed in Republican controlled legislatures? Have you forgotten the forcible rape language sponsored by the Republcan VP candidate?

    • Rafflaw,

      Wow! You did a great job of dodging that one! Be careful how you address it though (you may have every woman on this blog making comments). I am neither a Republican or a Democrat (my political beliefs are too ‘radical’ for our country, at least that is what a former, retired dean told me when I was teaching undergrad). As I mentioned early, we know what the Republicans are doing, have been doing, and will continue to do (hopefully not). But Democrats are guilty, as well.

      Let’s look at our ‘great education system.’: We know that women learn different from men, but we continue to teach men and women the same? In other words, we use the same teaching methods for women as we do for men, knowing that these teaching methods can (and have) hindered the learning ‘curves’ for women and minorities (there is plenty of research that supports this, including “Women Ways of Knowing” by Belenky, Clichy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986; “Learning that Lasts” by Mentkowski & Associates, 2000). Both parties refuse to change how our female children and adults are taught, while, at the same time, hoping that an appointment of a few women to federal positions would suffice.

  5. I have no doubt that there are idiots and sociopaths who, like the Erin Andrews case, are actively searching for the video to watch it. Those who disseminate it should be prosecuted as well.

  6. Okay. I think the young men who participated in this heinous act should be tried as adults to the fullest extent of the law. I think any male or female who attended the parties and saw what was going on and did nothing should be forced into community service sitting and discussing with rape councilors the after effects of rape on an individual. It should be mandatory four hour Saturday sessions for no less than six months.

    However, I must also say I think the victim must go into counseling in regards to not only the results of the rape but what caused her to seek out such risky behavior. Her parents could do with a bit of counseling as well.

    The prosecutor needs to be reviewed by an ethics panel for the entire situation and the townspeople best look deep within themselves to find a moral compass that points north.

  7. rafflaw,

    Here’s an interesting article on the subject of rape and violence against women:

    A Rape a Minute, A Thousand Corpses a Year
    Rebecca Solnit
    January 24, 2013
    http://www.thenation.com/article/172408/rape-minute-thousand-corpses-year

    (This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.)

    Excerpt:
    Here in the United States, where there is a reported rape every 6.2 minutes, and one in five women will be raped in her lifetime, the rape and gruesome murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi on December 16th was treated as an exceptional incident. The story of the alleged rape of an unconscious teenager by members of the Steubenville High School football team was still unfolding, and gang rapes aren’t that unusual here either. Take your pick: some of the 20 men who gang-raped an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas, were sentenced in November, while the instigator of the gang rape of a 16-year-old in Richmond, California, was sentenced in October, and four men who gang-raped a 15-year-old near New Orleans were sentenced in April, though the six men who gang-raped a 14-year-old in Chicago last fall are still at large. Not that I actually went out looking for incidents: they’re everywhere in the news, though no one adds them up and indicates that there might actually be a pattern.

    There is, however, a pattern of violence against women that’s broad and deep and horrific and incessantly overlooked. Occasionally, a case involving a celebrity or lurid details in a particular case get a lot of attention in the media, but such cases are treated as anomalies, while the abundance of incidental news items about violence against women in this country, in other countries, on every continent including Antarctica, constitute a kind of background wallpaper for the news.

    If you’d rather talk about bus rapes than gang rapes, there’s the rape of a developmentally disabled woman on a Los Angeles bus in November and the kidnapping of an autistic 16-year-old on the regional transit train system in Oakland, California—she was raped repeatedly by her abductor over two days this winter—and there was a gang rape of multiple women on a bus in Mexico City recently, too. While I was writing this, I read that another female bus-rider was kidnapped in India and gang-raped all night by the bus driver and five of his friends who must have thought what happened in New Delhi was awesome.

    We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern. Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.

    Here I want to say one thing: though virtually all the perpetrators of such crimes are men, that doesn’t mean all men are violent. Most are not. In addition, men obviously also suffer violence, largely at the hands of other men, and every violent death, every assault is terrible. But the subject here is the pandemic of violence by men against women, both intimate violence and stranger violence.

    What We Don’t Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Gender

    There’s so much of it. We could talk about the assault and rape of a 73-year-old in Manhattan’s Central Park last September, or the recent rape of a four-year-old and an 83-year-old in Louisiana, or the New York City policeman who was arrested in October for what appeared to be serious plans to kidnap, rape, cook and eat a woman, any woman, because the hate wasn’t personal (though maybe it was for the San Diego man who actually killed and cooked his wife in November and the man from New Orleans who killed, dismembered and cooked his girlfriend in 2005).

    Those are all exceptional crimes, but we could also talk about quotidian assaults, because though a rape is reported only every 6.2 minutes in this country, the estimated total is perhaps five times as high. Which means that there may be very nearly a rape a minute in the US. It all adds up to tens of millions of rape victims.

    We could talk about high-school- and college-athlete rapes, or campus rapes, to which university authorities have been appallingly uninterested in responding in many cases, including that high school in Steubenville, Notre Dame University, Amherst College and many others. We could talk about the escalating pandemic of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the U.S. military, where Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta estimated that there were 19,000 sexual assaults on fellow soldiers in 2010 alone and that the great majority of assailants got away with it, though four-star general Jeffrey Sinclair was indicted in September for “a slew of sex crimes against women.”

  8. My first question would be, where were these parties with underage abuse of alcohol held? Where were/are the responsible adults? There should be some fat in the fire about how these youngsters obtained alcohol to fuel their horrible choices and lack of a clue as to the sexual abuse they were perpetrating.

    The D.A. who didn’t want to have charges filed should LOSE her job for standing with her son’s classmates instead of the victim of a crime. The school itself should lose privileges of playing sports with other schools until they have proven that they have cleaned up their nasty little “rape culture”.

    As for the victim, were I one of her parents, I’d be asking for a change of venue for the trial and definitely filing charges. And I’d be working to move out of the town entirely. And I’d get my poor daughter some counseling about the dangers of alcohol and the helplessness it brings to the young and inexperienced of both genders under situations of stupid peer pressure.

  9. The person in the video with the Guy Fawkes mask went too far by threatening to publish social security numbers etc of the officials in that town if they didn’t apologize. It is acts like that that will turn away people who might sympathize with Anonymous. The person in the video is just being an extortionate thug and is without Honor.

  10. The DA should be fired and prosecuted for persecuting the victim and her family. Sounds like a clear conflict of interest to me. This is sad and disgusting. When the Allies liberated the death camps after WW II, they marched local civilians through the camps to see what was in their midst. Sounds like its time to do this again in Steubenville.

  11. This really belongs under abuse of the media.

    “The Steubenville rape case has been making headlines all over the nation. I can’t imagine how horrifying it must be for the survivor to have such a painful event continuously discussed all over the country. But for major news outlets to announce the 16-year-old victim’s name on air to millions of people isn’t just insensitive — it’s disgustingly unethical.

    Fox News publicly pledged not to disclose the names of the teens just convicted in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. But yesterday, the network instead revealed the identity of the underaged victim. Since then, two people have already been arrested for making death threats against her.

    While Fox News has gone out of its way to protect those convicted of rape — teens whose names had already been publicly disclosed by the court — it has shamefully and carelessly failed to do the same for the victim.

    This is a horrible precedent for Fox News to set when reporting about sexual violence, particularly when the victims are minors. Publicity like this only serves to further stigmatize the violence survivors, who are already facing unbelievable trauma. “

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