twitterhollyThe second Occupy Steubenville protest takes place tomorrow at noon in front of the Steubenville City Hall. Protesters are traveling from all over the country in support of the victim who was sexually assaulted at parties held in mid-August of last year. There will be rape survivors and advocates speaking. There will be people associated with Anonymous, as well as parents, grandmothers, children and concerned citizens attending who have never heard of Anonymous. I have been following this case closely. As some of you know, I tend to get a little bit “bitchy” about rape. Another aspect of this case that is making me “bitchy” is the amount of false information I have seen regarding this case, and the protestors, that has been in the media recently. For example, an article published by WTRF yesterday:

“When they came into the county last Saturday, I had respect for them. I thought their cause was right. They thought there was some injustice going on. You have a right to stand up for that but when you cross the line and start character assassination, they’ve lost their mission,” says Abdalla.

“When you’re under character assassination, how do you defend yourself? It’s difficult to do that but when these people come into this county and tell me it’s a dirty county and they wouldn’t live here and it’s corrupt and they wouldn’t live here then don’t live here! But I do live here and so do about 70,000 other people live in this county but I happen to be proud of this county, this city, the big red football program, and the people in this town,” adds Abdall.
There are good people who live in Steubenville, Ohio. I have seen this sentiment expressed numerous times, by many people. Even though the majority of people feel that there has been injustice in this case regarding the preferential treatment of the alleged perpetrators involved in the alleged rape, the city of Steubenville is not some sort of target by anyone. The main sentiment I have seen echoed by writers following this case, protestors attending the rally, people posting on social media, and organizers of the event is “justice for the victim.”

Sheriff Abdalla is proud of his town but when it comes to the video released Wednesday, he called it  disgusting. And that video has attracted even more national coverage to the case.

“This is all over the world now. It’s in the Huffington Post and New York Times but some of these papers are reporting this stuff based on what this Anonymous is telling them. How do you support what they’re saying? Where’s your proof? I thought newspapers where to be able to back it up with good, solid information. How can you do a story when someone is giving you information that’s not even factual?” says Abdalla.

Abdalla is referring to the video of Michael Nodianos that was released and shown all over the media. No one, Anonymous affiliated, or anyone else on earth, made this video other than Nodianos and the people who were with him filming it. No one made this person make jokes about the rape victim being “dead” and comparing the victim to Caylee Anthony and Trayvon Martin. By showing the video, the newspapers and media are simply reporting the news. It’s hard not to be biased when viewing the video. It’s hard not to feel sick and sad when viewing the video. It’s a terrible thing to watch. But suggesting that by reporting on the video and showing the video is releasing information that is not factual is totally absurd. The “good, solid” information being reported is a video in which someone associated with the parties that occurred in mid-August found the rape of a young girl incredibly amusing, so amusing that they couldn’t speak clearly at times due to laughing so hard. The article goes on to state:

This story has even gotten the attention of CNN who was in town Thursday trying to dig up information.

Which to me sounds like a negative way of stating that CNN is in town reporting on the case.

I can’t speak on behalf of Anonymous. I don’t think anyone can. It’s like being a spokesperson for an entire country. I can say from my experience being familiar with certain cases Anonymous has spoken out about that there are many members of the collective who are passionate about issues of social justice, bigotry and the exploitation of children. I can speak about people I know who are affiliated with Anonymous who volunteer at rape crisis centers, with the homeless, and with animal rescue groups in their cities. Some members who describe themselves as Anonymous are affiliated with this case. Some are not. I can pretty safely state that the majority of people who call themselves Anonymous are not fans of rape. Just like the majority of people on the planet.

I can speak on behalf of people who have been affiliated with the Steubenville rape case, like “JustBatCat” who told me this morning that the reason he hacked the Roll Red Roll website was because he “has a younger sister, and is doing everything in my power to right this wrong.” I can speak on behalf of Holly Briley, who attended the first protest and had this to say:

From everything I saw while there it was peaceful. The protesters were respectful to their places on sidewalks. They didn’t step out into traffic (and the sidewalk/curb is nearly on street.. that is how close it is) They tried really hard not to impede flow of foot traffic on sidewalk.
There were some F bombs dropped  but I think that is with anything in which people feel passionate.
There were a lot of locals there protesting and supporting the victim as well ..and many that drove by honked horns and gave thumbs up on support.
It was for a protest calm. Lots of high fives and hugs that day.

I can speak on behalf of the twitter tag for Occupy Steubenville, which is mainly filled with tweets praying for the victim and reminding protesters to pick up any litter they see and to be kind and polite to everyone they meet. I have also seen offers to give people rides and help pay for gasoline to get to the protest and requests for people to think of ways to donate money to the victim and her family.

As for the Saturday protest, Abdalla hopes things stay peaceful. He will have officers from the Sheriffs Department and Steubenville Police Department keeping an eye on things.

You be on that case and you keep an eye on things. I could easily be wrong and any time people protest, even though it has been stated numerous times that the protest is “peaceful”, there is always a chance of violence, but from everything I know, all anyone attending the protest cares about is showing support for the rape victim. Unless hugging is now a crime.
(photo: Twitter)