Staff Editorial: Drink in one hand, cellphone in the other
Steubenville, Ohio typically makes headlines for football, not rape scenarios coated in cyber-bullying.
Known for being standouts on the Steubenville High School football team, Ma’lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, grew up dreaming of playing football, according to an ABC exclusive report.
Now, their futures are not looking so bright.
At a beginning-of-summer party involving alcohol, Jane Doe, 16, was heavily intoxicated and fell victim to finger-penetration by Mays and Richmond and social media shaming by bystanders at the location.
Social media sites were ablaze the following morning with graphic photos of Doe naked and motionless, a YouTube video, and degrading tweets by Steubenville students including, "I have no sympathy for whores," and "Who's this sloppy drunk bitch?"
Although Doe claimed to not remember the events, she was appalled by the evidence documented by onlookers, who took cellphone pictures and videos of the events, said Bob Fitzsimmons, Doe's lawyer, in a press interview.
The events of that night clearly depicted on social media by intoxicated kids sentenced Richmond to one year in prison for rape, and Mays to two years for rape and the nude photos he took of Doe.
Doe, and ultimately the nation, only knew something had happened because of pictures, tweets and videos. Without the social media evidence, the trial would have never come to light.
Taking advantage of someone is entirely unacceptable. That being said, amid this outpouring of rage, there have been countless other situations where women have been abused without invoking the same spiteful response.
For example, in 2010, two Michigan State University basketball players were accused of sexually assaulting a young woman in their dorm, but the case was later dismissed. The accusation was much more severe than Steubenville's.
Social media did not play a role in past thrown-out cases.
In the near future, people may be held accountable with what they capture on their phones and do not report it, according to ABC. Students need to be aware of the impacts of social media to prevent future situations, especially while under the influence.