By Jueseppi B.
Kat Barr, UltraViolet:
“They raped her… They raped her quicker than Mike Tyson raped that one girl… she is so raped.”
That’s what a local man, who has been identified and is known to the media and police, said on camera about the now-infamous gang rape of a teenage girl by members of the Steubenville, Ohio high school football team last August. In the 12-minute video he is barely able to speak through his laughter. He also tweeted that night that “Song of the night is definitely Rape Me by Nirvana.” The girl was carried, unconscious, to different parties and raped at multiple locations throughout the night. And the dozens of teens who were there didn’t try to stop them, get help or call the police–instead they took photos and posted jokes about the attack on Twitter.
Now, months later, local police are still dragging their feet and a special prosecutor has taken over the case. But only two people were arrested, and none of the teens who photographed or tweeted jokes about the crime have been held accountable. Despite the petitions, the protests, and the media attention, the sheriff announced that nobody else will be charged. The city even released a statement claiming that Ohio law gives them no recourse against people who took photos or posted comments online while the girl was attacked.
But under Ohio law, failing to report a felony is a crime. And based on his 12-minute video, this man not only knew about the rape, but witnessed it. It’s outrageous that local authorities are sweeping this under the rug–but it’s not too late for the special prosecutors to charge him and others involved. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is paying attention to the media coverage and public outrage about this case, and UltraViolet has joined with NOW, Justice for Children, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to call on him to prosecute the man. Can you sign our petition that demands that DeWine prosecute anyone who knowingly failed to report the crime?
Last August, the 16-year-old girl and her parents found out she was raped the next day by reading about it on social networks and the local news. In recent weeks, Steubenville has been under a media spotlight while photos, videos, and posts to sites like Twitter and Instagram have surfaced. The crime was documented online in real time by teens on their phones. It’s painfully clear that people were there, they knew about it, and some have even tried to cover it up after the fact.
But months later, only two boys have been charged with the rape. More than 70,000 UltraViolet members have signed a petition to Attorney General Mike DeWine demanding that everyone involved be held accountable. And just this Saturday, hundreds of people rallied in downtown Steubenville to demand justice for the survivor–the third rally since December. But the town is divided, and many people are supporting their local football heroes and blaming the survivor for the crimes committed against her.
We know the Attorney General is paying attention to the media scrutiny–just a few weeks ago, Ohio State University students delivered petitions to his office. He personally met with them to discuss the case and accept the 70,000 signatures from UltraViolet members. But we’re running out of time to make sure that others involved are charged. The law is clear–in Ohio, it’s a crime to knowingly fail to report a felony. Can you sign the petition to demand justice for the survivor?
Thanks for speaking out,
Nita, Shaunna, Kat, and Karin, the UltraViolet team
1. The Steubenville Gang Rape – A Timeline *Slight Update*, DailyKos, January 3, 2013
2. How An Alleged Rape Involving Ohio High School Football Players Unfolded On Twitter, Instagram, And YouTube, Deadspin, December 17,2012
3. Rape Case Unfolds on Web and Splits City, New York Times, December 16, 2012
4. Steubenville Rape Case: Ohio Sheriff Confronts Protesters, Huffington Post, January 7, 2013
5. Online outrage over Ohio rape case prompts city website, CNN, January 5, 2013
6. 2921.22 Failure to report a crime or knowledge of a death or burn injury, Ohio Revised Code
7. The Steubenville Gang Rape – A Timeline *Slight Update*, DailyKos, January 3, 2013
8. Rape Case Unfolds on Web and Splits City, New York Times, December 16, 2012
9. The Steubenville Gang Rape – A Timeline *Slight Update*, DailyKos, January 3, 2013