California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Steubenville trial reveals dangerous rape culture

    Friends, drinking and dancing: These make up the majority of pictures from parties that are uploaded to Facebook.

    People who were too drunk to remember laugh as they try to recall what happened the night before. But what happens when you come across pictures or videos that could change your life?

    This is what happened in Steubenville, Ohio, to two football players, Trent Mays and Maโ€™lik Richmond, who were found guilty of rape.

    Rape is a heavy and personal topic that can seem taboo or be difficult to discuss. However, it occurs often whether we realize it or not.

    โ€œItโ€™s not a norm. Itโ€™s not something people should take lightly, but rape is definitely a subject that flies under the radar often,โ€ said Katy Crabtree, an outreach and social media intern for Wellness Programs.

    The 16-year-old Steubenville victim discovered she had been raped when she saw the images posted on social media sites. Her peers stood by laughing as they filmed and took pictures of this terrible incident that she was too intoxicated to remember.

    On March 17, Richmond was sentenced to one year for penetration. Mays received two years for penetration and the distribution of pornography involving a minor.

    โ€œI think itโ€™s almost like she was a mannequin, them acting out this sexual act on [an] unconscious person due to societyโ€™s view on female body. It relates back to the sexualization of women and behavior reinforced by media,โ€ said Nicholas Corrette, a sociology professor at CLU.ย  โ€œOur society now portrays women as vulnerable, sexual objects.โ€

    Corrette went on to explain how society runs off of social norms, which are behaviors that are accepted as a whole.
    Since teens are constantly looking for approval, they feed off of othersโ€™ actions, creating a snow-ball effect that continues to escalate.

    โ€œI think itโ€™s a peer effort, but would it have been different as an individual action? They put themselves in a peer environment that is now supported by a heterosexual culture. Men need to be viewed as the strong, dominate figure,โ€ said Corrette.

    As televisionโ€™s โ€œ20/20โ€ covered the Steubenville case, the hardest part to watch was how bystanders instigated the rape. Peers at the party, aware of what was going on, labeled Nirvanaโ€™s โ€œRape Meโ€ as the theme song of the night.

    They tweeted and texted one another saying the victim was nothing more than a โ€œdead girlโ€ since she was unconscious.

    โ€œI think the influence of people around that promoted these actions made the decision easier,โ€ said freshman Alexis Schomer.

    Rape culture has yet to be acknowledged by our society.

    Awareness needs to be brought to this issue, especially on a college campus where parties are accessible.

    Students should understand that consent must be given to follow through with certain actions and that incoherence is not acceptance.

    โ€œI donโ€™t believe CLU has a rape culture on campus, but is important that we bring awareness to this and get the victims the support they deserve,โ€ said Crabtree.

    CLU is holding a Take Back the Night event on Friday, April 13.


    Holly Dunn
    Staff Writer
    Published March 10, 2013

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