Yesterday two boys were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl who has been put through hell since last summer when she drank too much at a party and members of the local football team decided to take advantage of that fact.
I was relieved when I heard the verdict, because even though there was video evidence of some of the things they did to her it still wasn’t a sure thing. People had refused to talk to the police even though they witnessed parts of the assault, adults in town were making every kind of excuse for the boys, and the overwhelming message, even after the verdict is that this girl got herself into a bad situation.
The victim was underage, she had too much to drink – apparently she should have expected to be used as a plaything by these boys. What else were they supposed to do? A vulnerable girl, passed out in their presence? Of course they ‘played’ with her, who wouldn’t?
I have only seen one picture from that night and one video of a boy laughing – laughing – about what was happening.
I went to sleep last night angry and I woke up this morning angry.
These poor boys, people said, their lives have been ruined. They had such promising futures – football stars with good grades. Nobody is too concerned about the girl who was treated as less than human and then had an entire community turn against her.
I saw message after message saying that it was her fault. That she got drunk and bad things happened and she only filed charges because she was embarrassed. That she had acted like a slut and got what she deserved. The defence used for these boys is that she never said no. You know, the unconscious girl. She never said yes, but she never asked them to stop.
I want to ask these men, these boys, what they would say if they decided to get drunk at a party and they passed out and found out later that while they were unconscious they were carted around from place to place with different men put their fingers up his anus, putting their penises in his mouth, videotaping and laughing. Would he feel that he had put himself in that position and he should have expected what he got?
Would he just shrug it off?
I’ve heard it all before and I don’t know why it seems to be affecting me more now – because of the overwhelming reaction on Twitter of these people who are angry at the victim, or because I have a daughter and this is what she needs to learn about to protect herself. Maybe I’ve just been reminded one too many times and it’s starting to hurt.