Serena Williams blames the Steubenville rape victim

All aboard the slut-shaming, victim-blaming train! First passenger: Serena Williams. Remember that whole “Steubenville” thing that happened? You know, the “little incident” wherein a young teenager was sexually assaulted by Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond while incapacitated after drinking alcohol? Well, people are still inexplicably feeling sorry for the rapists — not the victim — and Williams is apparently a vocal guest at that party.

During an interview with Rolling Stone, the Steubenville case happened to come on television. Williams felt the need to comment in a most vile manner:

“Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

Hey, folks, good news: we can all go home on this whole “rape” thing because rapists are just people who made silly wittle mistakes! No, wait, that’s the exact opposite of the truth: they chose to violate another human being without that person’s consent. Did the girl do something stupid? I mean, drinking alcohol in huge quantities is generally dumb for all of us, but that has literally nothing to do with whether or not we are sexually assaulted — it has to do with the physical pain that accompanies the consumption of a ton of booze.

The worst thing that should’ve happened to that girl is that she got a fucked up hangover and threw up in the morning. She chose to drink, and therefore would deserve that consequence. Drinking = sick stomach! However, drinking =/= being raped. She didn’t choose to be sexually assaulted, victimized and then emotionally tortured for months; I think we can all agree (or, apparently not, actually) that drinking isn’t the cause of rape. Rapists are the cause of rape, because they rape people.

There’s no inherent need for Serena Williams to be a role model, nor inspire women, nor root for them, nor stand up for them. But there is absolutely zero reason for her to shame rape victims into feeling like their assaults are their own faults; as a public figure, that is irresponsible. To encourage the belief that those who survive rapes are somehow at fault because another human being — one who was fully in control of his actions — chose to sexually violate them without their consent is irresponsible.

[UPDATE: For Williams’ response to the backlash against her comments, see here.]

Photo: Getty Images