My news sabbatical is over. While nursing this cold I’ve taken to watching CNN in the morning with my oatmeal, tylenol and Vicks scented tissues. And somehow I thought that maybe everything on a Facebook news feed wasn’t necessarily true. Yet there it was, a story I’d merely glanced at online because it made my stomache churn, was now being reported as fact on morning TV: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/04/justice/ohio-rape-online-video/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
This story hits all the wrong notes – the high school football team of Steubenville, Ohio is somehow implicated in a gang rape of an unconscious 16 year old girl. Two 16 year old football players are identified and charged with rape, but the real question is was the town and its police force trying to cover this up since it happened in August? And what sets this rape apart from any other is the evidence; it’s not just he said, she said. A hacking activist group called Anonymous has posted video of a drunken boy boasting about the crime, along with pictures of the girl…which is why I saw it online before national media picked it up.
Now juxtapose these two images: CNN reporters interviewing Steubenville shopkeepers about how we mustn’t judge the whole town by the actions of a few, with the protests from India. A 23 year old medical student died after being brutally gang raped on a bus in New Delhi on December 16th. There have been daily protests in the streets since that day calling for justice and the men to be hanged. Five, possibly six men have been charged with “… murder, kidnapping and rape… voluntarily causing harm during a robbery, armed robbery with murder, and destruction of evidence.” http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/03/world/asia/india-rape-case/index.html?hpt=wo_c2
I know our legislators have much to do after their first day back on the Hill. They must keep kicking the can down the road of fiscal temerity; they must agree with some form of realistic gun control; they have to pass a budget, and oh BTW, thanks for that last minute Super Storm Sandy pass…on the heels of your humiliating first vote. And it saddens me that Congress could not reauthorize the 2012 version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It seems the GOP balked when language was added to include “…expanded provisions to protect victims even if they’re gay, illegal immigrants or Native Americans living in tribal jurisdictions.” Rumor has it that R-VA Eric Cantor balked at the LGBT provisions, but a rape is a rape is a rape, no matter who you are or where you live. I am hopeful that the increasing number of women in the new 113th Congress can make this happen.