Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ugh. Just... Just Ugh

I've been wrestling with several topics for the last couple of weeks, and then the Steubenville case came up. The toxic press coverage, the churning of the internet, and the churning of some memories and issues that made me have more-than-usually-strong feelings about the case made me sure I wanted to post about it.

Still, the tightrope walk of trying to come up with something to say about this, some case to make about rape culture that isn't instantly descended on by hordes of screaming idiots that want to talk about anything but the central point... Well, it overwhelmed me. The size of the task, and my position as a big white dude who doesn't have to live with a lot of the shit that gets flung at women, especially rape victims, made it impossible for me to even find a starting point I liked.

I didn't just want to repeat and rehash feminism/rape culture 101 articles. I didn't want to give advice to a group I'm not part of. I just didn't know what to do.

Then I found Dana Hunter's roundup of the coverage, the comments, and the generally condescendingly infuriating pile of crap that spewed forth in the wake of this, and I became very happy.

So I'm not going to write about it. From En Tequila es Verdad:
A near-miracle has happened: two rapists have been convicted of sexual assault. Excuse me, found “delinquent” in a juvenile court. At their ages, had they stolen something more than an intoxicated girl’s bodily integrity, they would have likely been charged as adults – but hey, it’s just rape. Not like they stole a car or murdered somebody, amirite? And, hey, if they learn the appropriate sorry-won’t-do-it-again words, they may not even have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. Pretty sweet, huh? That’s actually amazing, considering how few rapists ever get convicted at all.
And later...
And you know what America’s future rapists are learning from this rare semi-functioning of the justice system? Don’t rape? Don’t make me laugh. No, what they’re learning is simple: don’t do your raping in front of dozens of witnesses, and don’t upload pictures and video of your raping to social media.
...
Folks, this is rape culture. The message isn’t, “Don’t rape. Full stop.” No, it’s more of, “Try not to, and if you can’t help yourself, don’t make it so inescapably obvious. Because rape is just awful (wink, wink), but being forced to punish popular people is ever so much worse.”
She also has links out to other bloggers and some media sources that are worth looking at. Go read the whole thing.