January 8, 2013

rape is never funny.

I don't even know where to begin.  I saw an article link posted on the Sexversations facebook page.  I've worked with Becca and Kelly off and on over the last few years through GASA and they always post articles worth reading.  This article will make you feel sick.  It will make you want to cry.  But everyone needs to read this article.

Steubenville is on the border of Ohio and West Virginia.  And one night a girl went to a party, had a little too much to drink, and passed out.  That should have been the end of her night.  But this article tells us that she was assaulted repeatedly by two make high school students.  They ever took (kidnapped) her to other parties where they assaulted her again.  They took photos throughout the night which were then distributed.  This poor victim was violated in every way possible.

But it's not bad enough that she was raped. And kidnapped. And it's not enough that she has a long road ahead of her.  Because someone thought it was funny enough to make a video about it.  This video was supposedly filmed the night after the assault took place.

Disclaimer: This video is disturbing.  Not visually, but verbally.  Both the content and the language.

Rape is never funny.  The comments in this video are degrading, offensive, and horrible.  I have a hard enough time hearing someone make a 'rape' joke.  But 12 minutes of video with rape and death jokes--that's unbearable.  The bystander effect is in full force here.  There is a room full of people and only one person (maybe two--difficult to differentiate) speaks up.  At least one person in that room knew what had happened and the conversation that was being recorded were wrong.  He says so repeatedly.  When the one friend talks about how that could be his daughter some day, Nodianos doesn't even bat an eye.  Thinking that maybe future children is too far off of a comparison, the friend tries to use his little sister as an example.  Still no realization.

When I watch Michael Nodianos speak about rape and the victim, I can't help but think that I hope his future wife sees this video before she says yes to a proposal.  And I hope she runs the other direction.  I don't care how he was raised; he obviously doesn't respect women.  And yes, I realize that he's drunk. But that doesn't excuse the words coming out of his mouth.  And yes, I believe people can change.  Maybe Nodianos and his friends will walk away from this experience realizing that major crimes were committed by the assaulters and that their personal decisions to make jokes about the victim were in very poor form.

I hope that we forget about the boys who committed these heinous crimes.  And I hope that we forget about the boys that thought rape was funny.  I hope that this victim becomes a survivor.  I hope she knows that this was not her fault and that she did nothing wrong.  She didn't ask to be violated.  I hope we learn that when something wrong is being said or done, we should must speak up.   Speaking up is not a choice; it is a responsibility.  I hope people make better choices and that good decisions prevail over terrible, life altering decisions.  I hope that people remember that rape is never funny.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not an investigator. I am just a person who knows that no person should ever be violated. The purpose of this post is to spread awareness about sexual assault.

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