Making Sense of Steubenville


The news coverage of the Steubenville rape trial has gotten me more than a little upset. A couple of days ago I watched the video where CNN Reporter Poppy Harlow was falling over herself with sympathy for the convicted rapists. Here was her reaction to the guilty verdict:

“It’s incredibly emotional, even for an outsider like me. These two young men who had such promising futures — star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart.”

*rolls eyes*

I’ve known too many women who have been in the same situation as the young woman who was raped. When I attended freshman orientation at The University of Massachusetts Amherst, I was told one in three women in our group would be raped by the time we left campus. I didn’t believe it.

When I left UMass four years later, I believed it. Wow, did I believe it. Girls who passed out or blacked out and were subsequently raped were a dime a dozen at UMass. And most of them never pressed charges because the perpetrator was a man they knew (usually a male friend or a boyfriend), they felt ashamed, or they didn’t want to relive the terrible ordeal in court.

So much pain follows these events. Pain that lasts for years. Anger that never fades completely. Memories that won’t go away.

I’ve seen too many hurt women.

So it pisses me off when people like Poppy Harlow talk about young men’s lives being ruined because they chose to commit a heinous crime that ruined a young woman’s life. A young woman who was brutally raped at 16 years old, had naked pictures of her distributed (that’s child porn, in case anyone forgot), and had to relive the entire thing in court, with the nation’s eyes playing judge. As if all that wasn’t enough, the victim received homicidal threats via Twitter from friends of the convicted rapists post-verdict.

I have a temper… I’m not proud of it. After watching the video, I immediately tweeted Poppy Harlow and said, “You make being raped and reliving it in court sound like a breeze. Maybe you should try it sometime and report on that.”

Oh, Lisa. Grow up, will you? Do you think Poppy really cares what you have to say? Do you think your anger is going to help solve anything?

One of my favorite Christian writers, Ann Voskamp, put it all in calm perspective for me yesterday. Her blog on the Steubenville case is SO worth the read.  She approaches this difficult subject in Christ’s love (something I wish I could do more regularly). She writes from the perspective of a mother of four sons and as someone who witnessed sexual abuse and tried to prevent more young women from being hurt. She says parents are responsible for teaching real manhood to their sons. She nails it on the head with this sentence:

“Real Manhood means you don’t get drunk, and a man can get drunk on a lot more than alcohol. Men drunk on power, on control, on ego, lose more than all inhibition — they lose The Way, their own souls. Men drunk on anything can destroy everything and real manhood thirsts for righteousness.”

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I wish wise voices like Ann Voskamp’s would prevail over the idiots in mainstream media. It’s difficult not to get upset about terrible events like Steubenville, but we need to simply dig deeper to find the voices who can help us make sense of things and move forward.


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