One of the most fascinating aspects about this case, and one of the only truly "bright spots" in a case of vicious rape involving teenagers, is the fact that it has garnered public attention, worldwide public attention, due to the relentless reporting since day one by writer Alexandria Goddard, aka Prinnie. Because Goddard wrote about the case, and included screenshots of photographs and tweets made by the party-goers, she had a lawsuit filed against her and some of the people who commented on the story on her blog, named only in the case by their screen names and IP addresses.
Yesterday, the case against Goddard was dropped:
On behalf of myself and the John Doe defendants, we are very pleased to announce that the defamation lawsuit filed against us has been dismissed with prejudice. Dismissals with prejudice mean that this case can never be refiled again and this lawsuit is officially over.
Despite the lawsuit, threats, and ugly commentary Alexandria has received since covering this case, she has been relentless in working towards justice being served. I spoke with her earlier this morning about the case, and even though she has had next to no sleep in the last few days she told me this:
It very much bothers me that NOT ONE kid exhibited empathy or compassion that night.I have received SO MANY emails from girls who have been raped there. This is a very real problem there. Rape crews. The cops apparently did not subpoena social media but they immediately contacted Feds when football site was hacked the other day.I truly believe this goes deeper than we know and prob most of those girls have been victimized by these boys.
I hope to interview Goddard at greater length in the upcoming days, but because of her and the the social media response to this, including the work of Anonymous in organizing the protest, it is going to be a lot harder for the residents of Steubenville to get away with rape. Another blog that has been covering the story is here, where Holly Briley is covering the story and has some pretty astounding comments (including threats) from people unhappy with what she has to say.
Steubenville has a population of about 20,000. It's a small town, only ten square miles, and about 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. Heroin addiction is the latest vice. Football is everything to this city. I am sure there are residents of this town who are appaled by what took place at the "banger" where booze flowed freely and a young girl was carried around like a "dead body." But in a small town, where everyone knows everyone and football is so important, how safe do people feel about speaking out against the crimes and the fact so many involved have been left unaccountable? There are many towns like Steubenville where things like this don't happen, where the city is fiercely proud of their football team and they do everything to raise teens who are kind, and decent, and caring people. I'm sure there are many parents in Steubenville who are trying to raise their kids the same.
The world is watching Steubenville. Rapes and gang rapes happen every day, all the world over, and I hope that this one case serves as a lesson to people who witness a passed out person at a party and how to react when something like this does happen. You don't photograph a girl who is being raped with your cell phone and then post it on twitter. You don't share the images with your friends and post status updates calling a victim a "whore." You don't walk away. It's horrible this crime had to happen in order for the world to start talking to our kids about rape and rape culture. If anything comes out of Stuebenville, I hope it's parents talk to their kids about how they would want their peers to act if they were ever in this awful situation. Teens are going to drink. Teens will go to parties where alcohol is present and someone drinks too much and passes out. I hope we see more cases where people stay with a person when this does happen, and makes sure they are safe. As parents, it is our job to raise kids who look out for one another, who care for one another, and who protect one another. If only the kids in Steubenville had thought the same thing.
[UPDATE]: And now, this article comes with added death threats, including a Twitter user by the name of Beverly Banks who want to "rile up" some felons and drug addicts and sic them on the protesters. Props to Holly Briley for this:
(photo: youtube) (photo: twitter)