However, I was quickly dismayed by the media coverage of the case. I was dismayed by the sighs of pity for these young men and the tremendous concern for the "promising athletes" whose futures now look grim. As if they were the victims. As if the real victim had, so tragically, ruined the careers and lives of these boys instead of vice versa. And any glimmer of hope that this verdict kindled was stamped out by the overwhelming demonstration of our rape culture.
Much has been written in the hours since the decision. CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC have been, rightfully, criticized for revealing the name of the victim during the course of their coverage. Dave Zirin, who writes over at The Nation, has a great piece about the link between jock culture and rape culture. And Maya, over at Feministing, captures perfectly the way that I, and I suspect many of you, feel in the aftermath of this trial when she says:
I don’t want to live in a world in which a mainstream media outlet reporting on the verdict barely mentions the victim in their rush to lament the fact that the “promising lives” of the defendants have been ruined and that this “will haunt them for the rest of their lives.” I want to live in a world in which negative consequences are considered the logical effect of committing a terrible crime, and a sentence for rape that is shorter than those regularly doled out for drug possession or downloading academic papers is viewed as pretty damn lenient.
I don’t want to live in a world in which girls are so well-schooled in the consequences they’re sure to face for speaking up about a sexual assault that the victim immediately tried to assure people that she “wasn’t being a slut” and initially didn’t want to name the defendants ”because I knew everyone would just blame me.” I don’t want to live in a world that proves these fears justified time and time again.