The third Occupy Steubenville rally is underway for the next four hours in front of the courthouse. Watching the live feeds, which I will link to at the bottom, the court house steps are covered in snow and ice and the protesters look extremely cold. Preliminary reports suggest that around 100 people have braved the weather to bring their support to the alleged rape victim, the 16-year-old Jane Doe in the case.
Local residents have been invited to speak, but so far only members affiliated with Anonymous have taken the mic. Currently a woman is peaking of a past rape but due to the wind it’s difficult to make out everything she is saying. Protesters are attempting to shield the speaker. The majority of sentiments expressed by the speakers thus far are about stopping violence against women and demands for ending the rape culture prevalent all over the world. The speeches are interjected with suggestions that the attendees hug each other, which is a far cry from the statements regarding “violence” and “hatred” that residents have claimed are directed at their city. A bell is being rung every two minutes to mark the statistic that every two minutes a woman in America is raped.This post will be updated until the end of the rally, but until then, feel free to watch one of the feeds listed below.
A young girl, I believe by the name of Cordy, just thanked Sheriff Abdalla due to comments he made regarding her rape. Now a woman named Jennifer claiming to be part of “The Sisters Of Jane Doe” is giving a touching speech telling Jane Doe that she can “rise about it” and that “she will move on.” “You will love and be loved, you will be healthy in body and spirit.” They can be contacted at : Sistersofjanedoe@yahoo.com
And another important update: They are handing out cupcakes and hot chocolate. Real violent and angry, yes? EYEROLL.
And now a young girl is speaking about being an eight-year-old and being raped, and having to take a pregnancy test due to this. Heartbreaking.
It’s sort of difficult to tell, but it looks like there are some angry counter-protesters across the street from the court house. And pizza just arrived!
The stories continue, with many amazingly young people reporting sexual assaults and rapes, which disturbs me greatly. I know there are wonderful people in Steubenville, but the number of victims standing up to tell their stories seems a bit higher than average.
And now Sheriff Abdalla has shown up to return a lost debit card and to hug one of the Anonymous members speaking, which was pretty adorable.
Katie from California is now speaking and saying how inspired she was by the work of Anonymous and wanted to come to say “We are not afraid, we aren’t going to hide and we are going to demand accountability.”
Forgive me, but this next part is very difficult to recap. A woman stood up and spoke about numerous rapes since the age of six. She explained that after reporting a rape that occurred in her adulthood it was suggested by local law enforcement that she not file an official report because the rapist would get such a short sentence and would then be set free to victimize her again. She is now working with rape victims and offering them her support.
Speaker Michelle is speaking for the first time about a rape from her brother at age eight. She is no longer in contact with him. She is also speaking out about how at a party at age 15 she was drunk and raped by numerous people at a party. She says she informs her own children how to be safe, but asks that we all make the world a safer place for our children.
A man is speaking out against people referring to women as “sluts” and demanding that when people see something, say something. He said that even if you feel it is none of your business to step in and say something, it is all of our business. “No body owns your body but you!”
Richard Olivito, is now speaking about local corruption and I need to get the facts on his story, but he claims that due to his involvement with exposing local corruption the FBI suggested he leave the country. His father was, or is, a local judge. He says that is a “conditioned response (in Steubenville) to not speak out against crimes.” He says the laws cannot “change people heart’s and minds.” He is saying “Don’t give up.”
A counter-protester just drove by and yelled “fuck you.” Keep it classy, Steubenville.
And unfortunately, I have lost my stream. But I will keep trying and update if possible.
Hopefully we can see more protests in support of Jane Doe in the upcoming weeks before the trial.
(Photos: Cassandra Rules via Twitter)