The victim of the alleged Steubenville football team gang rape, the Jane Doe in the case, never deserved to be raped. As a mother with my own daughter, I can’t imagine how her parents must feel right now. I can’t imagine how she must feel right now. The gang rape victim, this Jane Doe, could have been any of our daughters, no matter how much we try to protect them.
Some of you are aware of the recent protest that took place a few days ago regarding the Steubenville, Ohio football team and an alleged gang rape that took place at a few different parties in August of 2012. The protest, held at the Steubenville city hall on December 29th, attracted around 300 people who wanted to make their voices heard in regard to the case, who felt that justice hasn’t been served for the young girl who was dragged like a corpse from party to party, violated by numerous people, and photographed and videotaped during these violations, the evidence posted on social media as callously as any other update, what someone ate for lunch or a picture of a cat or the status of the weather.
The protest was organized by Nightsec, a subgroup associated with Anonymous, who have been relentless in raising awareness about the case and demanding justice for the victim. Nightsec has organized an additional protest to be held on January 5th. Blogger Alexandria Goddard, aka Prinnie, recently was interviewed on Roseanne Barr’s radio show about the case, along with KyAnonymous.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Steubenville Jane Doe, the anonymous victim of the gang rape. From the New York Times:
She is not a Steubenville High student; she attended a smaller, religion-based school, where she was an honor student and an athlete.
At the parties, the girl had so much to drink that she was unable to recall much from that night, and nothing past midnight, the police said. The girl began drinking early on, according to an account that the police pieced together from witnesses, including two of the three Steubenville High athletes who testified in court in October. By 10 or 10:30 that night, it was clear that the dark-haired teenager was drunk because she was stumbling and slurring her words, witnesses testified.
This Jane Doe, who was 15 or 16 when the alleged rape occurred, had told her parents she was going to a friend’s house for a sleepover. Just like teenagers all over the world do every night. Just like I did when I was her age, either never going to a friend’s house or else going to the friend’s house, eating pizza and laughing as my mom called to confirm my plans for the evening, waiting until my friend’s parents were asleep and then sneaking out of a bedroom window to attend a party or meet boys or whatever else we did. The lies of teenagers. No one can be shocked by the fact teenagers do stuff like this. This young girl, Jane, was doing what teenagers do. She drank. There are suggestions she may have been “roofied.” She drank enough where she was asleep at times. Other times she vomited in the street. Other times she was unconscious, unresponsive, a “dead body” like the captions on the photographs posted on the Internet read.
No one stayed with her, unless we count the football players who were by her side, undressing her, violating her, urinating on her. No one called a parent or another responsible adult or the police or 911. No other girl or boy at these parties thought “What if this were me?” or “What if this was happening to my friend or my sister?” No one helped this girl, until now, when the world is thinking of her and writing about her and praying for her and fighting for her.
I think about her parents. A lot of you know I have a daughter, this tiny little fireball who owns my heart, who makes me laugh so hard I cry, who I would do anything for. Jane Doe’s parents raised a girl, they fed her and diapered her and bathed her and wrapped her dolls to leave under the Christmas tree and probably took her to after-school activities, our Jane Doe is reported to be an athlete. I am assuming they feel for her like I do for my daughter, a love so fierce and so consuming at times it leaves one breathless. I think about her parents, how angry and helpless they must feel, how they must be disappointed in their daughter, even if they don’t want to be, disappointed she lied to them, that she drank when she was underage.
I will be disappointed too when my daughter gets drunk as a teenager and lies to me, just like my own mother was. And as disappointed as I will be, I will remind myself that as much as I don’t like it, as much as I spent hours lecturing my own daughter about underage drinking, as much as I tried to protect her, it happens. And as terrible and as horrific and as heartbreaking as it is, girls also get raped. And it’s not their fault. I don’t care whether our Jane was sexually active. I don’t care how she dressed. I don’t care about how much she drank. No one ever deserves to be raped. No one ever “asks for it.” The worst thing that should have happened to our Jane was that she threw up and was grounded by her parents for a few weeks. That they took away her privileges or her cell phone or lectured her for hours about drinking. She never deserved to be raped.
I think about our Jane Doe, about how she feels, about what her life is like.
The girl does not sleep much, said the mother, who testified that she often hears her daughter crying at night.
I want to tell her that everything will be okay, that this crime, this terrible act, this rape, shouldn’t define her, that she is more than what happened to her on that night in August. I want to tell her that she has so many people who will never meet her her, who will never know who she is, that think of her every day and hope she is okay and that are on her side. I want our Jane to finish school and grow up and find love and forget about all of this. I want our Jane to finish school and grow up and find love and think about this every day, and make her life about helping other girls who have been raped. She will be okay. I want our Jane to know this. And I want her to know that so many of us think of her, and that when I kiss my own daughter’s forehead at night when I put her to sleep I kiss our Jane Doe’s forehead as well. You didn’t deserve this.
Another protest is planned for January 5th at noon at the Steubenville city hall.
UPDATE: Here is a truly horrific video of a local party goer discussing the rape on video. It has been uncovered by KyAnonymous, and it is being posted on the Bullyville website.