As gut-wrenching as the details of the Steubenville rape case were and remain, many have taken solace in the fact that it might yet be a catalyst for some sort of positive change in society. And, as it turns out, one West Virginia town is currently trying to make that happen by
teaching kids the importance of consent fighting a culture of victim blaming introducing a class on the dangers of social media. Cool!
According to the Charleston Daily Mail, the nearby atrocity was still fresh in the minds of school officials in Wheeling, West Virginia when they decided to institute the program:
The rape of a 16-year-old girl by two football players in eastern Ohio – a case brought to light by social media – is being used by a federal prosecutor to educate athletes in West Virginia about being responsible when texting and making posts on the Internet.
U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld called the combination of alcohol, smartphones and social media “extremely volatile” in introducing a program Thursday that will be rolled out this month at 11 high schools.
The rape case “definitely played a role in causing us to think, ‘Who do we need to focus upon?’ ” Ihlenfeld told The Associated Press. “We thought, ‘Let’s start calling athletic directors and coaches to see if they’re interested.’ That investment of time hopefully will pay dividends down the road, not only because you hope the kids are going to stay out of trouble. Social media creates so many distractions off the field for coaches. Maybe we can help them avoid that situation as well.”
That’s right, it’s time to focus on the real victims of Steubenville: the football players who were foolish enough to get caught, and the resulting drop in Steubenville’s sports stats. If only someone had taught them about proper Instagram etiquette, they would never have documented their gang-rape of an unconscious underage girl, hence escaping punishment. This would have enabled them to continue focusing on what really matters, football, free of pesky “distractions” like pokes, likes, and being brought to justice for rape.
I’m all for teaching kids about how to handle themselves in the world, and maybe (I hope, LOL!) school officials did not mean for it to come off like this. But anyone who came away from Steubenville with the takeaway that social fucking media is the key to keeping something like this from “happening” again has no business even being around children, let alone making policies that affect them.
I can’t believe I even have to say this, but if we should be teaching kids anything, it should be how to respect each other’s bodily autonomy, no matter how slutty a girl might seem or how much she has had to drink that night. And if after all that, they still insist on growing up into rapists, we should teach them to tweet, Facebook and Instagram the shit out of it, because that’s the only way a “credibility challenged” rape victim in this society (i.e. all of them) is ever going to stand a shadow of a chance at getting justice for what happened to her.