What About the Victim: The Steubenville Rape Victim’s Recovery

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JASON COHN / REUTERS

Two protesters hug after hearing the guilty verdict in the trial of Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond outside the juvenile court in Steubenville, Ohio, on March 17, 2013

How does public exposure affect recovery from a very private, traumatic experience?

The day after two Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players were found guilty in juvenile court of raping a 16-year-old girl, the victim faced a perilous new journey. Forced to confront her experience in public after photos and video of her on the night in question were circulated on social media, the 16-year-old is now being threatened by those siding with the athletes, who were part of the community’s beloved Big Red high school football team. Two girls made online threats to the victim via Twitter, menacing her with homicide and bodily harm for coming forward and launching the trial that led to the guilty verdicts for Ma’lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17. The girls were arrested and taken to juvenile detention.

Both Mays and Richmond face at least one year in juvenile detention, with Mays potentially serving an extra year for taking and distributing images of the girl while she was naked.

But with so much attention focused on the lasting legacy the convictions will have on the boys, there seemingly hasn’t been as much concern for how the victim moves on from this very public exposure of a night she would rather put behind her. As the latest threats against her highlight, the fact that her experience unfolded in front of millions on social media may make her recovery all the more challenging. The social and emotional support that she does or does not receive now, experts say, could help determine whether she will be resilient or suffer lasting psychological damage.

(MORE: Steubenville Rape Case: Witness Says He Took Photos of Alleged Victim)

“We do know that the more severe the traumatic experience is, the more severe the reaction will be,” says Edna Foa, a professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading expert on trauma. Rape, regardless of the level of physical force involved, is always traumatic, although, fortunately, the vast majority of people who suffer trauma do not develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

But in this case, the victim was betrayed by a young man she trusted. In texts sent before the girl became aware of the online photos and videos, Mays told her, “I’m going to get in trouble for something I should be getting thanked for taking care of you.” She later responded, “It’s on YouTube. I’m not stupid. Stop texting me,” the New York Times reported.

Two of her former best friends testified for the defense in the trial, claiming that it wasn’t unusual for her to get drunk and to lie. Such betrayals worsen trauma: traumatic experiences that involve disrupted relationships tend to be the most likely to cause lasting psychological harm because they undermine trust.

(MORE: Steubenville Authorities Launch Website to Dispel Controversy Around High School Rape Case)

In addition, social rejection and victim-blaming can potentially cancel out the resilience provided by support, according to Foa. “People saying things like ‘Get over it’ or ‘Maybe you had something to do with it’ — that we find to be a really negative predictor [of recovery],” she says.

Rape victims — and even those injured in less stigmatizing ways, such as during natural disasters or accidents — often feel shame and guilt over the experience and blame themselves for what happened. What may make recovery even more difficult for the Steubenville victim is the fact that evidence of the night’s events were widely distributed, including in a 12-minute video that mocked her inebriated and unconscious state. “We don’t have data on it, but I think it would add to severity,” says Foa. “It’s another dimension of the severity that she was so exposed.”

But there is a fine line between the harmful effects of such public exposure and the potential benefits of not having to hide or conceal emotions. When Jessica Stern, then 15, was raped at gunpoint in her home, along with her 14-year-old sister, in the late 1970s, the incident was kept quiet. Her widowed father didn’t even return home early from his business trip following the attack; the police questioned her as though she were covering up for having a secret boyfriend. And law enforcement did not inform the public; the man went on to rape least 42 other girls and women, as Stern later detailed in her book Denial.

(MORE: Viewpoint: Don’t Rush to Judge on Steubenville)

Stern, who is now a terrorism expert and a fellow in human rights at Harvard University, developed PTSD as a result of her unresolved response to her traumatic experience. She would frequently dissociate (become entirely disconnected emotionally from her surroundings) or be hypervigilant to the tiniest hints of threat or fear. While this gave her the ability to stay calm in and survive terrifying situations, like interviewing armed Al Qaeda members in the field, “I’m not sure my response was totally healthy,” she says.

In Stern’s case, sharing her experiences rather than bottling them up could have saved her from the personal turmoil that resulted from her heightened sensitivity to threats and her tendency to distance herself emotionally in relationships.

Indeed, Amy Vorenberg, who at age 13 was raped by Stern’s attacker, had a much more open recovery experience. Her parents immediately surrounded her with support: the day after the incident, a group of her friends from the neighborhood slept over to protect her. She slept in her mother’s bedroom for years (her parents were divorced), and all her classmates and teachers were aware of what had happened so that they could be sensitive to her needs. She was “frightened but felt held,” Stern writes in her book about Vorenberg, who is now a law professor and reported a much smoother path to recovery.

(MORE: Steubenville Teen Rape Case: Witness Pleads Fifth as Trial Continues)

“The most important thing anyone can do is to decrease the trauma survivor’s sense of shame,” says Rachel Yehuda, a professor of psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine (formerly Mount Sinai) in New York. “Even in nonsexual traumatic events, there’s a certain sense of shame at being victimized, and that’s certainly true in the context of sexual abuse. The provision of social support is mostly to try to not judge the event or the victim’s role in the event.”

That’s the type of support Stern would like to see for the Steubenville victim. And, fortunately, the teen seems to have at least one powerful and understanding ally: her mother. Family support is especially important in overcoming trauma, and the victim’s mother has been a champion for her daughter throughout the ordeal. It was her mother who, along with other relatives, took her to the police several days after the incident and presented officers with a flash drive containing the images and social-media evidence they hoped would be enough to find and charge the perpetrators.

After the verdict, she told CNN that the result is “the start of a new beginning for my daughter.” “We need to stress the importance of helping those in need and to stand up for what is right. We hope that from this something good can arise,” she added, referring explicitly to helping others faced with the same situation. The verdict itself, as vindication of the victim’s side of the story, is a form of social support, notes Yehuda. “That might help,” she says.

(MORE: Steubenville Rape Guilty Verdict: The Case That Social Media Won)

Therapy can also be useful, if needed. “If after two to three weeks, she still feels as bad [as she did initially after the trauma] and you don’t see any natural recovery, that’s the time to go to treatment,” says Foa, who developed the trauma therapy known as prolonged exposure. It takes about eight to 15 sessions and involves discussing the trauma explicitly and helping victims to face situations and feelings that aren’t comfortable and that they want to avoid.

“The treatment helps you process the trauma by asking you to talk about it rather than avoid it,” says Foa, noting that many patients lives’ become so constricted by fear that they no longer go out of the house or engage in activities they used to enjoy. Another evidence-based treatment for trauma for youth is called trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy — and this also helps people make sense of trauma and interrupt the negative thought and behavior patterns it can produce.

Stern notes that while social media forced the Steubenville victim to face her experience even if she wasn’t ready or willing to do so, the richness of our social connections can also be turned around to help in her recovery. “I hope she will feel an army of women lifting her up,” Stern says, citing the recent cases in India and Somalia where women have begun to challenge cultures that condone rape after horrifying incidents became public. Seeing hope beyond the awful specifics of the attacks, Stern says, “I feel we’ve reached some sort of tipping point where rape victims all over the world are standing up and saying we’re not going to let ourselves be shamed into silence.”

“She had the courage — and it absolutely is courage — to come out against this violence,” says Niobe Way, a professor of psychology at NYU. “We need to be creating networks of support for her that can help her deal with this inevitable hostile response.” As Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said following the arrest of the two girls who threatened the Steubenville victim via Twitter after the guilty verdicts were announced: “Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you.” Those words were also a statement against a culture that minimizes or even glorifies violence against women and holds athletes to a different standard by which even criminal behavior is deemed acceptable.

It’s our ability to support rape victims and reject victim-blaming that will determine whether victims are helped or hindered in their recovery, say experts. And whether we successfully challenge cultural ideals that hold victims more responsible than the perpetrators. “We don’t want to believe we are a part of a culture that perpetuates these negative messages, but we are,” says Way.

MORE: Q&A with Terrorism Expert Jessica Stern on Her Own Experience of Terror and Trauma

283 comments
DavidFunnell
DavidFunnell

Or we can try this revolutionary Rape prevention measure....

"Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work"

1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.

2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.

3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to assault her.

4. If you are in a lift and a woman gets in, don’t assault her. You know what? Don’t even ogle her.

5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not assault her.

6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or assault her.

7. When you lurk in bushes and doorways with criminal intentions, always wear bright clothing, wave a flashlight, or play “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)” by the Raveonettes on a boombox really loud, so women in the vicinity will know where to aim their flamethrowers.

8. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from assaulting women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you when in public.

9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to assault a woman, you can hand the whistle to your buddy, so s/he can blow it to call for help.

10. Give your buddy a revolver, so that when indifferent passers-by either ignore the rape whistle, or gather round to enjoy the spectacle, s/he can pistol-whip you.

Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you expect to be assaulting her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.

ElaineSchloeder
ElaineSchloeder

The next time a boy or man is given strokes him for his displays of virility with the use of the title stud etc.  Please, you have to wonder what, if any messages we are giving or even could give our boys that have even the potential to be strong enough to neutralize the previous more common expressions in order to avoid these terrible tragedies.  Integrity does count.  Even past president Clinton should hang his head in shame and get out of the limelight, for his past hound-like behavior that trivializes that which should be such a private, marriage-protected act of love and engaged in with responsibility, care, and prior committment.  We are victimizing our little girls and young women with the lack of profound respect it is even affecting their own self-respect in thinking they should act and dress as sex objects. That this is what we actually accept and expect!!  How could we do this?!?!?  Do we have so little insight that we do not address this with the fervor it deserves, what has to happen that will inspire us or at least revolt us into action?!?!?  we should treat with the highest respect and adopt with insistence--responsible behaviors--sexual acts should only be done with great love and commitment.  Why do we want to encourage such treatment of our girls, how does all that trash talk in life and movies provide clear, positive messages for our young men.  Do we really wonder why there are so many rapes, rape-murders, abuses of women and now suicide as the result of such duplicitous messaging?  Does the blood of these innocent ones not cry out from the grave?  Do the babies that are the result from casual sex not cry out of their graves which in most cases are merely dumpsters in the back of abortion clinics!!!!  Why do we want our children and ourselves to be considered nothing more than animals, acting as we do, doing whatever we please, whenever we please with no concern for the possible tragic outcomes!!  Why not throw out all the God-less euphemisms that condone or give a seeming stamp-of-approval or by proxy a societal-sanctioned approval with the reference "consenting" adults as the threshold for participation in this behavior. 


Men were born to be LEADERS why not train and encourage them in the way REAL Leaders behave (not Clinton-style behavior)and stop this madness!! If you can teach a male child to zip up his fly before leaving the bathroom, you can teach him how to keep it zipped and not undo it for just any event he feels so inclined and to resist the mixed messages that the society and peers may foist on him.  Instill values and morals, what is the problem--are we such disinterested parents?    We don't know how many young boys we have "taught" to behave irresponsibly by allowing the only voice they here is pressure to conform from peers!! Fathers watch your trash talk please, so your sons don't pick it up and unwittingly disseminate it to susceptible friends and contacts!!

Self-control and respect are not bad words, they are a few of the words that truly matter if we want to live together in harmony in a decent society.  But if we want to cheapen the value of all life keep acting as though every act has no consequence and demands no forethought and responsibility and may be downright excusable, heck in most cases in the schools and homes, even laudable for our sons to behave in such a despicable manner or there would be no reason for the bragging and chest thumping that goes on!!  Every girl, woman, and child is someone's baby girl with hopes and dreams of their own--they should be treasured and protected not used and abused.  Is no one aware of the sex slave trade that consists of CHILDREN both little boys and little girls!!  But chastity and abstaining from sex until marriage is too extreme to teach in our schools, too hard a goal--so don't try, how low do you want to set the bar?-- really?!? 

If we do not demonstrate kindness and speak honorably and applaud decency in front of our children, I assure you we will not get it.  Purity is a wonderful goal.  No one has to get pregnant in order to get a husband, there should be no undue pressure from either side and this would solve it.  There should never be allowed such disparagement as with movie titles like the "40-year old Virgin", if someone is not married that should be expected and encouraged not poked fun at as some how emasculated version of a man and an unlovable indictment for a boy or a man. 

If you are not yet convinced and need something that will enrage you and propel you into action, please watch this news video and ask yourself if NOW is not the time to stand up and do something, then when?!?  How many have to die? Are not millions of babies tossed into our landfills not enough?!?  And women aferwards sent back out into the world without support from society and the protection of modesty to damage themselves even more with willing-and-able, foolishly trying to prove their "manhood",  unbridled men who care no more than to have a few minutes of satisfaction without a thought to the possible life destroying events that will follow or that they may even insist on to protect themselves from having to take responsibilty and have evidence of their despicable behavior!?! And then the chutzpah they demonstrate by backing away and dismissing it all with a "well she chose to have an abortion, I didn't."  Murderers! Leaving a woman pregnant to fend for herself in a world that is difficult for even the most sophisticated and physically capable people to negotiate is double murder?  Why do we not portray the sexually-active, irresponsible man as the potential murderers that they are???  Do they not even know the meaning and purpose of a family anymore??!?!  Do we not warn our girls with all gravity where submitting to these sexual requests without benefit of a real relationship with concrete commitments before they consent!! Why haven't we told them, why???
http://video.foxnews.com/v/2296946954001/15-year-old-kills-herself-after-rape-photos-go-viral/?intcmp=obnetwork

LB270593
LB270593

I don't know if anyone has said this and I don't care. You were 16 I was 14 and violation despite the differences in our situation, I know feels the same. Despite the difference,s I know you will struggle with the same things I have. I want to let you know, I don't know your name, I don't need to but I love you and I sympathise with you and I understand. I know how hard it will be to trust and I know how hard it is to walk through the vicitimisation that is about to come your way, I want to let you know that there is hope. It's not gonna be easy and it sure as hell is gonna be hard but one day the sun will shine again  and many a thing and a person will smile on your life. You have friends and supporters more than you know. Most of us are afraid are scared to speak out but we are here, and we admire you and respect you and love you so hard for saying the things and being the person we could never be. I want to thank you personally, because this time of year is hard for me and hearing about your case filled me with such anger and frustration that it enabled me to speak freely about what happened to me and finally make the  steps to move on. You've inspired someone many years your senior and many miles away from where you are with your story, so thank you. You're incredible and I hope every single message of hope out there reaches your ears before all the ones of hate, and if it doesn't close your ears and only listen to the people telling you how incredible you are because they are the only messages you need to hear. You are incredible and I thank you. 

JGwar
JGwar

Another comment for reporting to police to add: 

"WaytoGoDorner

9 days ago

 @ChristineAdams @ThomasJones And the girl deserves a bullet in the brain for making every woman think that all you have to do to become a national hero is get drunk and have sex with a guy.Hopefully someone makes her pay."

JGwar
JGwar

Collecting 'names' of commentors who want her harmed or dead.

WaytoGoDorner

10 days ago

 @JonGibsonShe may still be murdered.We can only hope that every teen girl in America doesn't start seeing getting really drunk and naked with high school boys as a way to get idolized by society.I don't buy for a second she didn't consent and wasn't conscious.Nobody is responsible for how much another person drinks but the drinker alone.

 WaytoGoDorner

10 days ago

 I'm not particularly worried.All I've said is that she deserves to die for what she's done.She's taken two lives as a result of her failure to take responsibility for her actions and rounded up a lynch mob in the process.

WaytoGoDorner

7 days ago

 @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @JonGibson I would expect my child to know not to get in the intersection.She doesn't deserve to be rewarded for this.She has not been punished at all, and she's not traumatized.She's a fake, a liar, a criminal, and street trash.Hopefully someone puts her down.

 WaytoGoDorner

7 days ago

 @Brian_Jones @JonGibson She deserves to be hurt.She destroyed two lives by her actions.She ought to be killed.

WaytoGoDorner

10 days ago

 @pjbf @WaytoGoDorner She stated herself she was conscious in the car.If she was uncomfortable with sexual activity in the car, she should have asked to go home or left or something other than just stayed there.She got exactly what she consented to.Nobody is responsible for how much you drink except you and only you.

 Hopefully someone kills her before every teen girl in America thinks she'll be made a hero if she gets really drunk and gets naked with the high school football team.

 WaytoGoDorner

11 days ago

 @21stcentury It's because people who don't troll to get raped don't have sympathy for people who do.Hopefully she gets shanked.

WaytoGoDorner

10 days ago

 @tab @WaytoGoDorner @cferrey1@hotmail.com @cmf Really?You don't think that huh?Unlike you, I've studied CIA mind control history (peer-reviewed) and you'd be an idiot to not believe that.

 I think she should get her throat cut, so there's rooms for differing opinions.

WaytoGoDorner

10 days ago

 @takesforevers I agree - we should have absolutely no tolerance for what this girl did to these boys.She destroyed their lives because she decided to have sex with them while drunk.Hopefully someone will teach her a lesson.

failureofreality
failureofreality

The victim crossed state lines to commit a crime.  She engaged in underage drinking, which is a crime.  All the young people at the party committed a crime.  There are many questions left un-answered.  Where were the parents of the victim when the assault was being committed?  Why did the victim not go with her friends when she was urged to leave the assailants?  Where were the parents of the house where the assault was committed?

chrisbaker
chrisbaker

If this was my daughter I would be very upset. I would confront the parents of the boys that sexually assaulted her, sent the pictures,  and committed "digital rape."  They would need to be punished, do some community service, get some counseling - alcohol and sensitivity,  and issue a public apology. Then I would get my daughter straightened out. She would not be allowed the freedoms she had abused.  We would both need counseling. I would be completely ashamed for allowing her to even be in that situation and I would need to re-evaluate everything I had done as a parent. I would not care about pressing charges. I've heard people say these boys should be killed in the public square. Those people are insane. 

thewholetruth
thewholetruth

The Victim? Are you kidding, Not in this Sport Idol obsessed  generation 


1.We paint our faces and worship 15 year old Kids who can kick and throw a Ball

2. We Scream at a TV and root for (arrogant/Rich) Players because we want "Our" team to win..They are our Mini Gods. 

3. We are angry over a Football Match when our team loses But the Players go out and party

4. We are out of breath with Joy when they look at us or sign their name on a dirty piece of paper

Stop the Baseball, Football,Hockey, Soccer(football) obsession. Let's stop pampering arrogant players,

Here is an idea.... turn of the Sports and get your own Life..just a thought





BoredBoredBored
BoredBoredBored

"The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis." - Robert J. Lifton, M.D.

"Don't blame the victim."

chrisbaker
chrisbaker

I have not been following the this story as I was too busy at SXSW. Excuse my ignorance please but  can someone explain if she actually raped (like forced intercourse)? I saw something that said they committed "digital rape". I went to law school but I don't remember that term. 


JonGibson
JonGibson

Would the rape victim's parents be wrong if they told their daughter that they hoped she learned something from what happened?  If not, then no one else expressing that sentiment is wrong either, even if it isn't their place to say it.... 

Unless the victim was held down and force-fed alcohol until she passed out, she made herself a much easier victim than she might otherwise have been.

Both the victimizers and the victim are, by varying degrees, responsible for what happened.

ValeriaT
ValeriaT

Human beings are sexual by nature, it's part of our basic biology. That being the case, there's no reason why a sexual act should leave anyone traumatized--so why does it? Because we as a culture are still clinging to outmoded Victorian ideas about sexual behavior.   If we want to stop having people traumatized by sexual acts, we need to change what we teach our children about it.   If from infancy on up our children were taught to accept sex as the normal human act it is, they wouldn't end up suffering if someone touches them in those ways.   The ideal world would be one in which there would no longer be any such things as "sex crimes" because nothing sexual would be considered criminal. 

BoredBoredBored
BoredBoredBored

This article is comparing women who were held at gunpoint and raped to women who willingly went along with men while drinking giving them every reason to believe that they were consenting.  What a bunch of nonsense.

There's a phrase for phrases like "don't blame the victim" - it's called a "thought-terminating cliche."  It's frequent in mind-control abuse.

There is no way I'm going to respect this journalists analogy of raping someone at gunpoint and having a girl come onto a man while drunk.

21stcentury
21stcentury

Odd how even some young women have no empathy for the victim of rape. The two girls who made online threats to the victim via Twitter, menacing her with homicide and bodily harm for coming forward, ought to perform community service and get mandated therapy. 


 

cferrey1@hotmail.com
cferrey1@hotmail.com

Both parties are at fault. These guys shouldn't have done what they did, it was wrong yes. But the girl shouldn't have been doing what she was doing (i.e. drinking to the point of passing out), hanging with people she shouldn't have hanging with, at a time and place that she shouldn't have been. She has to put partial responsibility on herself for making bad choices and exposing herself to this vulnerability. 

If I go out, decked with my "bling bling" suit and tie, to a sketchy part of an area at a sketchy time of night, and then I get robbed, am I really going to blame everything on the robber?


cassxd
cassxd

It's wonderful to see an article about what the implications are for the victim. Someone should e-mail this article to Poppy Harlow.

mickey66049
mickey66049

When my father told me the "facts of life," I was astonished. "Are you conscious when you do this?" I asked. "Yes," he said, laughing, "well, at least the man has to be." Eventually I figured it out, of course, but I have never been able to imagine having sex with an unwilling partner. What possible fun could that be? It must be about power and cruelty more than about intimacy--and certainly not love. That certainly applies to prison rape.  I believe I've heard that we are not the only primates who perpetrate rape. Maybe that's how we got our 4% Neandertal DNA! 

Strawberries
Strawberries

Can you amend your article to include a site where we can send our support to this young girl? She had the strength to come forward and go through the invasiveness of a trial. She has a strong inner core that she must cling to and develop so she can be the strong woman she is destined to be. I'd like to know how to send her that message.

NeilAllen
NeilAllen

The Catholic church deserves HUGE blame for this, since they have taught a billion people that child rape is even coolwith God, hiding & protecting the child rapist is the religious thing to do, and bullying the victim is the religious thing to do.

In Steubenville alone, (a town of 18,000), there were ELEVENsubstantiated, accused pedophile priests, all involving children under 16, and some as young as 3 yrs old.

See http://www.bishop-accountability.org/usccb/natureandscope/dioceses/steubenvilleoh.htm with a pointer to the Diocese own web site.

If a BILLION people believe in protecting the child rapist, and fighting and humiliating the victim, all in God’s name, this is what happens.

ChristineAdams
ChristineAdams

@freya, Are you seriously blaming a rape victim? No one deserves or asks to be raped. Blaming a victim for his or her actions is reprehensible. The victim often blames herself for  attack, but when people like you actually write that she is responsible for what happened to her, have you no shame? You wrote that you were a true victim, so was she. Any man or woman who was raped is a victim. You are as bad as the rapists blaming the victim for the rape. So what if she hung out with guys who had questionable traits, that does not mean she asked or deserves to be raped. As a victim, you of all people should know what it feels like following a rape. I suggest for the sake of all rape survivors you remain silent.

LizaZmolekHenrikson
LizaZmolekHenrikson

@frey, all of your hurtful accusations toward the victim about preventing her rape will haunt her forever and serve no  purpose in  helping others.  She was 16.  Were  any  of us able  to see the outcomes for our misguided trust in false friends back then? I never drank at 16, but I certainly had my share of making poor choices in friends and lying.  I struggled with friendships and finding acceptance, us just like a lot of teenagers.  Looking back, I realized I put myself in a lot of situations that I could have been taken advantage of, and when I talk with my friends today about those years, we all agree we are lucky we arrived in one piece as adults.  This world is not perfect and getting splitting hairs about victimhood serves no one, not even yourself in your own healing.  As a survivor myself, I know I did not heal until I had empathy for others.

KateLynneBundy
KateLynneBundy

@Freya  your experiences are coloring your perception. Your concept of what innocence is is skewed. This girl is innocent. She is the victim. Drunk or not, she wasn't asking for this. I've seen comments that said that these guys just did what anyone would do in this situation. Excuse me? Don't demonize the victim.

Freya
Freya

Does anyone feel conflicted about this case and the victim's role in it?  She was obviously raped, likely by more than just the two who were convicted, and I even strongly suspect drugged by Mays at the original party in her town.  But, even if she were drugged, she had been going out with Cody Saltsman for ten months, member of the rape crew and the one who photographed the famous pic of the two males dragging the victim.  Saltsman's family sued the hackers who publicized a series of tweets he made expressing outrage and a refusal to accept he'd been rejected by the victim.  Didn't she likely see some of those and figure out that hanging out with the group of friends was a very bad idea?  In ten months she didn't note that these guys were absolutely below average in their character?  Mays may very well have cultivated and groomed the victim in some false pretense that he liked her to set up a revenge scenario for his friend and their rape crew, but the victim really needs to ask herself questions about why she continued to hang out with such an aggressive and arrogant, even violent, group of males.  There really is some responsibility to that, even as I consider her a total victim of the actual rapes.  At first I'd heard she'd been coaxed to hang out with Mays that night by a treacherous female friend, but it's pretty clear she was interested in Mays.  I was sexually assaulted and once raped in my adolescence and college years, an incredibly heinous series of attacks, and all were orchestrated through females in my life, mostly friends.  Never was I raped or assaulted by a date or boyfriend or in any sexual/hookup setting.  Girls and women are equally responsible for most rape; they set their 'friends' up out of jealousy and greed, but this girl had some role in her own endangerment that I find deeply unsettling.  I bet she might have done the same to another girl that her ex-friends did to her: lie and protect rapists.  I was pure victim pure innocent unlike this girl, and I'm also on the lesbian side of things if that helps explain anything.  Are there completely innocent straight female victims even of males they somehow know?  Yes, but she's not one of them.       

falcon269
falcon269

We have gone from the place where women were considered inferior because they were property, through liberation and equality, back to where they have voluntarily become property. If we had stopped at the point where they were considered equal human beings, there would be no comments about the victim somehow being the architect of her rape. How can her "friends" minimize the rape? With photographs posted by her rapists, how can they say that she sometimes lies, or that lying is even relevant? The photos were lies? I hope they do not have to become victims to understand how ridiculous their statements are. If women think they are toys for men, is there any real hope for women's liberation?

JeffLaz
JeffLaz

Finally someone is talking about the victim.

dharmaFarm
dharmaFarm

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing developed by Francine Shapiro and implemented specifically for child survivors of trauma by practitioners like Ana Gomez is another tool  that can be used close to the onset of trauma to help mitigate long-lasting negative self-beliefs common among innocent survivors of child sexual abuse.

ThomasJones
ThomasJones

The guys lives have been destroyed. Ths stupid news Media in this country is out of control. We need to control the News media before they destroy other people's lives.