“Sometimes grief itself (what Jayant Kamicheril describes as ‘that kaleidoscope of broken feelings’) must be our source of solace. . . .” I wrote these words in the introduction to Solace in So Many Words mainly in reference to grief experienced after loss of a child or loved one. But recently I have been struggling to find the solace in the news relating to Steubenville, Ohio rape case. There is only grief.
Usually in this blog I cite what I have been reading, and that’s the case today, only my reading lately has been related to rape, and this case in particular. I became familiar with the case when Anonymous began tweeting about it and leaked the video pertaining to it. I did not watch the video and I did not watch the trial. I have been reading essays about the case and the media coverage of it. I went to Wikipedia to research statistics and came across this quote. Citing a USA Today article from November 19, 1998, Wikipedia quotes reporter Kevin Johnson as writing “no other major category of crime–not murder, assault or robbery–has generated a more serious challenge of the credibility of national crime statistics” than rape. It is considered the most under-reported violent crime.
Under-reporting may hamper the collection of statistics, but that doesn’t account for how we as a society view this crime. How crazy is it that in the 21st century the facts about rape are still distorted? How messed up is it that term “legitimate rape” is now part of our lexicon? How is it that we still are defining it? And how much worse is it when the rape and its circumstances are recorded and shared over social media?
Someone who did watch the video and commented on it is Henry Rollins. I am not big into Black Flag, but over the years I have been impressed with Henry Rollins and what he has to say. You can read his Dispatch on the Steubenville case.
Over at Slate, Amanda Marcotte responded to CNN’s coverage of the trial. Her essay “The Steubenville Rapists Are Not Tragic Heroes” includes the CNN videos.
At Gawker Mallory Ortberg also comments on the CNN coverage in her post “CNN Reports On The ‘Promising Future” of The Steubenville Rapists, Who Are ‘Very Good Students.'”
On The New Yorker website Amy Davidson posts a blog on “Life After Steubenville.”
At Salon Anna March talks about the definition of rape as far as she is concerned in the post “My Bad Sex Wasn’t Rape” whereas earlier in the year (February 14, 2013) Mary Elizabeth Williams writes about the semantics of rape in her post “We Need to Call it Rape.”
In his “Dispatch” Henry Rollins links to the HBO documentary The Invisible War, which is about sexual assault in the military. This documentary is the subject of a recent post at “Jaclyn Writes” a blog about literature and life by writer Jaclyn Lyons. Her March 20, 2013 post is “Women in Combat: Fighting the Invisible War.”
I wish I could end this post on on an upbeat note. But words fail me on this topic. I struggle to find anything positive about it. The only thing I could think to do is share what I’ve read, with the hope that we all can try to make this world a better place. Rape is a shame that we all share.
Peace, love, and solace.