Due to the attention Steubenville, Ohio has received because of the gang rape case, local parents are claiming their kids are being harassed and threatened by people wearing Guy Fawkes masks claiming to be Anonymous.
As the rally for Occupy Steubenville took place at the city town hall, a smaller gathering organized by concerned parents for the youth of Steubenville took place at Jim Woods Park. I personally have seen numerous people on social media, including those who call themselves Anonymous, rallying support for the people of the town and asking that everyone attending the protests remain calm, polite and civilized. I have seen requests from the organizers of the protest to refrain from using profanity and to help support local business while in town. Judging from the number of parents supporting and taking interest in this case and speaking out about rape and rape culture and the victimization of women and children, I would assume the majority of the world understands the purpose of Operation Roll Red Roll, which I believe is justice for the Jane Doe victim. I believe that as a collective, Anonymous works towards making the world a better place and exposing injustice worldwide.This is merely my opinion.
“We can’t even go to functions without being harassed. It’s for the children. There’s a lot of innocent children that are being labeled as something that they are not. We’re not for Anonymous, or against Anonymous,” said one woman.
One of the Steubenville Big Red football players said, “We’re getting threats from all around. People that I’ve never met in my life or have seen, states, countries away. They’re all saying you guys need to get murdered and you guys are terrible people and you’re all rapists,” he said.
Another man who came to support the city of Steubenville said, “I think it’s just a bunch of rumors, I think it’s people trying to create controversy to just, whatever agenda they have, make Steubenville out to be some corrupt town. Open your eyes people. The whole country is corrupt, if you want to look at the government and everything, society as a whole has a problem that we need to deal with.”
Football players and Steubenville school teachers were amongst supporters in the crowd.
I can understand how parents in Steubenville are frustrated and concerned if their children are being threatened and harassed. I can also see where these claims are frustrating for Anonymous, especially considering that because everyone and anyone can be Anonymous, there is nothing stopping any individual from claiming to be Anonymous and harassing someone.
One of the main organizers of the entire Operation Roll Red Roll, KyAnonymous, told me this morning that not he, nor anyone he knows, is personally affiliated with any threats or harassment being made towards the innocent people of Steubenville:
We are unaware of anyone using anon name to threaten citizens and or commit any crimes. Also we do not endorse the doxing of innocents and Children. We ask Abdalla to perform his duty and arrest those impostors. Our only goal is getting justice for the Jane Doe victim and bringing to light any accomplices to her rape that took place in August.
A Facebook post made by a parent of an athlete in Steubenville was met by comments from KyAnonymous:
If people are threatening innocent people due to the Steubenville gang rape case, it’s a shame and detracts from the purpose of the protests and the calls for justice. Speaking from personal experience, the only comments I have seen being made are support for rape victims and requests that Steubenville law enforcement does their job.
It’s a far cry from the comment made by a Steubenville resident by the name of Joe Ovlitti to the Daily Beast:
“Fuck that protest,” said the retired sausage shop owner, standing outside of the Spot Bar, eyes peering out from beneath a baseball cap emblazoned with the words “Big Red,” the mascot of the Steubenville High School football team. “Fuck those people with their masks on. And you can quote me on that.
Another peaceful protest is being planned for February 2nd at noon in front of the Steubenville Town Hall.