Dear media, and everyone: Rape is bad. Even when promising young football players do it.

So yesterday was a shitty day for the media.

A CNN anchor and reporter lamented the loss of potential of the two convicted rapists in the Stuebenville rape case. FOX and CNN managed to leak the first name of the victim in their footage.

If you don’t remember, the boys were sentenced yesterday because they repeatedly raped a 16-year-old girl at a party and then left a trail of evidence in the form of tweets, texts, Instagram photos and a 12-minute YouTube video.

I just had to add that in, in case you forgot, because apparently some of the talking heads on TV just couldn’t fucking remember.

Let’s go to Lester Holt: “In many ways, tonight stands as a cautionary tale to a generation that has come of age in the era of social networking.” (Not against rapists, or rape)

And Candy Crowley: I cannot imagine, watching (the boys’ sentencing) on the feed, how emotional that must have been in the courtroom” (for the convicted rapists and their families)

And Poppy Harlow: “It was incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men had such promising futures – star football players, very good students –– we literally watched as they believe their lives fell apart.”

This is on top of media coverage that has already given a hearty dose of speculation in this case, despite the widely shared evidence. USA Today did a nice job of explaining just how much the victim had changed her story and how drunkity drunk she was.

This media bullshit illuminates two glaring problems that just won’t go away:

1) The belief that a woman can “ask for it”
She was drunk, so she clearly asked for it. She blacked out, so she asked for it. What was she wearing? Must have been slutty: she asked for it. Girls, don’t look hot, ever! And especially not while drinking! It’s probably a good idea to cover yourself completely and never go out of the house so you can totally avoid being a walking target. Women do that in some countries, you know. They are covered head to toe (in this snazzy thing called a “burqa”) and they never leave the house unattended. Good idea!

2) The belief that football = GOD
Football is a game. A GAME. Like badminton, or Monopoly. In the game of football, a funny-shaped object gets moved from one end of a long field to another in a slow and violent fashion. And unlike badminton, or Monopoly, entire careers and towns and even an industry are built around the game of football. What the newscasters are lamenting is the fact that these boys, now labeled convicted rapists, won’t becomes titans of an industry built around a silly game.

The best take I’ve read on it yet? From Slate: “A system that takes rapists out of the running for certain opportunities…is a system that is WORKING. After the Penn State scandal, you’d think people would understand the importance of keeping sexual predators out of positions of power.”

2 thoughts on “Dear media, and everyone: Rape is bad. Even when promising young football players do it.

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