So don’t sign the petition demanding CNN apologize. Instead, draw attention to the good coverage.
ESPN’s Michael Smith and Jemele Hill devoted their entire His & Hers podcast this week to the topic. Hill discussed her own childhood assault as a 12-year-old and the fact that her mother was sexually assaulted as well. They talked about the responsibility parents have to educate their sons and daughters, about the pervasiveness of male entitlement in sports cultures and how difficult it is to achieve justice. Smith explains his sympathy for the convicted boys. Hill describes how she would counsel a teen girl to protect herself in a world that won’t respect her right to say no.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center tried to draw attention to a study suggesting that more than half of teenagers would find it tough to intervene; 40 percent said they wouldn’t know what to do.
And blogger and former Steubenville resident Alexandria Goddard describes her role in uncovering the documentation of the assault on social media.
It’s not wrong to feel sympathy for two boys crying over their ruined lives. Because of the perceived stigma, we don’t name the victim or see her image. I’m not suggesting that we change that, until victims voluntarily ask us to. But we in the media have to do more to put a face on the victims of childhood rape. We need to find ways to tell their stories, the way David Holthouse did in his moving first-person stories for Westward and This American Life.
“But we in the media have to do more to put a face on the victims of childhood rape.”