Monday, November 25, 2013

Breaking News: Four New Indictments of Adults in Steubenville Rape Case

AP is reporting (and see CNN's report) this morning that there are four more indictments in the Steubenville rape case, in which high-school football players Ma'lik Richmond and Trenton May were convicted this past March of raping a 16-year old girl at a party last August. Here's Huffington Post's valuable cache of articles covering that story, in which it was widely reported that many members of the local community rallied around and protected the rapists and blamed the teenaged girl for her rape. 

Those now indicted by the grand jury are Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey, elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman, wrestling coach Seth Fluharty, and volunteer assistant Steubenville football coach Matt Bellardine. McVey is charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, and making a false statement to authorities. Gorman and Fluharty are charged with misdemeanor failure to report child abuse. Bellardine is charged with allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making a false statement, and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child.

Lots of food for thought here. There's clearly a culture within the world of athletics--and it's strong in U.S. high schools--that is inclined to blame young women who are raped and to exonerate and protect their assailants, particularly when those assailants are athletes. This serious problem needs to be addressed seriously.

There's also the question of adult complicity in unacceptable deeds done by teens under adult authority and supervision. The fact that many citizens of communities like Steubenville, Ohio, and Maryville, Missouri, (and here) find it possible to close ranks around high-schools boys charged with assaulting teenaged girls says a great deal, doesn't it, about the abdication of adult responsibility by some adults as they deal with the infractions of teenaged boys under their moral supervision. 

It says much about the deep assumptions that run all through our culture about (heterosexual) male entitlement and female responsibility for male misbehavior. Because such assumptions run deep inside our culture as a whole, the problems resulting from them are deep problems that can't be fixed in a day.

But it seems to me we have to face them and admit that they're there, if we're serious about seeing them fixed.

No comments: