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How the Steubenville Case Exposes the Cruelty Faced By Rape Survivors

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, corruption, crime, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, freedoms, government, law, politics, RAPE, rights, safety, society, women, violence )

- 1985 days ago -
We're not here to get justice for you," the prosecutor in my sexual assault case told me in our first meeting. "We're here to get justice for society."

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Kit B (276)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 11:22 am
(photo: monochromevisions)

*** A sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the US, but here is a rare spotlight on how the justice system handles rape charges

We're not here to get justice for you," the prosecutor in my sexual assault case told me in our first meeting. "We're here to get justice for society."

The fact is that, if the way sexual assaults are investigated and prosecuted - as in Steubenville, Ohio - represents the justice that society wants for victims and survivors of sexual assault, there's little question why 54% of sexual assaults in America go unreported to the police.

It's because, of the 46% of assaults that are reported, only about 25% of those lead to an arrest. One quarter of those arrested will never be prosecuted. Only about half of those prosecuted will receive a felony conviction. And only about half of those who receive a felony conviction will serve even one day in jail.

And all that despite the fact that every two minutes, on average, another person in America is sexually assaulted.

Occasionally, outcries against the justice system, like the one going on in Steubenville, gives survivors an indication that the poor quality of justice we receive for the assaults committed against us isn't exactly the justice the rest of society wants for itself. But in the 149 days since the Steubenville survivor was assaulted, statistics indicate that nearly another 85,000 sexual assaults have been committed in the United States. And for these, there are no protests, no Anonymous group turning up videos or digging into the backgrounds of the police and prosecutors, no spotlight on anything but, in all likelihood, the background and personality of the victim.

When one is sexually assaulted - assuming the police investigate at all and the prosecutors intend to do any sort of prosecution - they don't just look into the background of the perpetrator or his (or her) actions during the assault. Police and prosecutors examine the background of the victim, which, under the American system, means that anything that could prove "exculpatory" for the defense must be turned over to them (such as, occasionally, one's own sexual history). It almost goes without saying that questions like the ones asked by assistant football coach Nate Hubbard to the New York Times have been asked directly of the victim by prosecutors and the police:

"The rape was just an excuse, I think What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that?"

One defendant's lawyer, Walter Madison, also told the paper that the 15-year-old girl's prior behavior will be at issue at trial:

"He said that online photographs and posts could ultimately be 'a gift' for his client's case because the girl, before that night in August, had posted provocative comments and photographs on her Twitter page over time. He added that those online posts demonstrated that she was sexually active and showed that she was 'clearly engaged in at-risk behavior'."

Undoubtedly, she'll have been asked to explain those to the police and prosecutors as well, to determine what sort of justice society wants dispensed to the victim at hand.

They've certainly called her friends and family, interviewed anyone who saw her that night, undoubtedly asked party-goers if she was acting flirtatiously, if she was a virgin, if she had "a thing" for football players. So it's not without a certain sense of Schadenfreude that one reads - courtesy of Alexandria Goddard of Prinniefied and KnightSec - about the background and familial connections of those doing the investigation and, in the case of the coaches, not punishing the boys involved. Those sites are just doing to those in charge in Steubenville what the cops, prosecutors and defense team have done to the victim of this crime (and all the victims of this type of crime): put their lives under a microscope in an effort to assess their motivations and to make sure they are acting in good faith.

The City of Steubenville and the Steubenville police department have put out a "Facts" site establishing a timeline of their investigation and listing facts about the town, including the jurisdictional issues between the police department and the sheriff's office, the statute of limitations covering sexual assaults in Ohio, and the connections of various members of law enforcement agencies to the town's schools and the football team in general. That seems to carry the implication that accusations that they are protecting the team's players are automatically false if they themselves were never on the team.

While it is probably obvious to some that the site lacks more content because of the constraints of a pending prosecution, it also documents the defensiveness with which the town's leaders are handling the accusations against them. But it is also a register of how much both they and their accusers seem to believe that the poor quality of the justice that might await this victim is mainly a function of the supposed individual biases of those entrusted with administering that justice on behalf of society.

The fact is that statistics and experience show that most victims and survivors of sexual assault get little in the way of what looks like justice - regardless of whether the perpetrator is or isn't a football player on a beloved team, or a talented director, or the head of an international organization. Justice, we're told, is for society to obtain. As victims, apparently, we don't quite count as a member of that anymore.
***links within article at VISIT SITE****

By Megan Carpentier, Guardian UK | Reader Supported News |


Past Member (0)
Thursday January 10, 2013, 4:51 pm
Thank you.

Donna Hamilton (159)
Friday January 11, 2013, 5:29 am
Appalling. No means No - what part of that is hard for these pieces of scum to understand?!

Noted. Thanks, Kit.

Maggie Kearns (7)
Friday January 11, 2013, 5:43 am
Noted. Our justice system has NO RESPECT for women.PERIOD!!! My ex was abusive. The judge told me that my ex had the right to kill me. He then commiserated with my ex about "women these days"!!! I was chastised by the court and told to NEVER harass my ex again!!!

Mike M (40)
Friday January 11, 2013, 5:48 am
Sounds like the modern socitey moral and ethnics. Whoever has the money and power make the rule and hands out the payola.

Natalie V (27)
Friday January 11, 2013, 3:40 pm

Scott haakon (4)
Friday January 11, 2013, 8:04 pm
The hacking has raised other questions. I have followed this and see a need to remove the entire proceedings as the use of mob hysteria precludes a fair trial. I want the names of the accuser too. All the facts must be produced. Because of illegal hacking what if the evidence is tainted. This has happened in other cases. We have a much greater responsibility than before. We now must make all efforts that all the facts come out. It is not enough to suppose.

Kit B (276)
Friday January 11, 2013, 8:07 pm

I just re-read this article and I must say I have no idea what Scott is talking about.

Faye S (23)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 5:10 am
Noted - thank you!

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 9:46 am

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday January 14, 2013, 7:10 pm
Noted. That's a horrendous thing that happened to that girl. I hope she gets justice.
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