Steubenville Rape Case is Over, Now Time to Tackle Culture That Caused it: Margaret Bernstein


The Steubenville rape trial has disappeared from the news, but what it means for America is indelible.

That case revealed what we’ve long known, that something is going awfully awry in our society. One writer called it our rape culture’s “Abu Ghraib moment” because of the damning photographic evidence. Not only did two teen boys sexually assault their drunken victim, but they and friends took nude pictures of her which they traded via text message.

Their instinct was never “Let’s help her.” Instead it was “Let’s victimize her, let’s photograph her, let’s joke about urinating on her.”

I liken that night to a plane crash caused by a colossal series of errors. It was a total collapse of the healthy behaviors that should guard a community. It wouldn’t have happened if parents had refused to let their children drive around partying all night. Or if the attackers had possessed the decency to respect an unconscious teen girl. Or if the victim had not drunk herself into a stupor. Or if bystanders had stepped in to stop it.

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