Citizens need to set their priorities straight

The Prairie. Art by Chris Brockman.

The Prairie. Art by Chris Brockman.

Two teenage football players in Ohio were convicted of raping an intoxicated girl at a party on March 18. The boy’s posted explicit images of the rape on several social media outlets that night. The girl, whose name has not been released, said she does not remember anything from that night. The boys were prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to two years in jail and then probation until they are 21.

Controversy surrounds this case, however. Some members of the Steubenville community believe community leaders are trying to cover up misconduct by players of the popular football team and that other students took part in the crime or didn’t do enough to stop it. The punishment does not fit the crime.

Are people willing to forgive athletes for being involved in sexual assault cases? It would seem that, because they are football players from important high schools, half the town was willing to overlook their lack of recognition for sexual assault. The fact of the matter is, no matter how important or influential a person is, the raping of another person should not be disregarded as something that just happened because an adolescent does not know any better. They knew better.

Being intoxicated is no excuse either. All teens were at the party. All were drunk beyond logical recollection of the crime. Just because the girl was so intoxicated she doesn’t remember any actual rape being performed doesn’t mean her testimony can be thrown out the window. A girl has declared she has been raped. Weather it’s true or not, the declaration needs to be taken seriously and with no regard to any influences from powerhouse football players and community leaders. If she is telling the truth, the criminals should be punished accordingly. If she is lying, she should be punished accordingly. If there are any community members who wish to water down the terribleness of the crime because their reputation is on the line, then good luck living with your selves.

The most infuriating part of the situation is how quickly some members of the town are willing to forgive their football playing teens for raping a girl who was so intoxicated she couldn’t recall anything that had happened that night. When the boys were tweeting everything, they showed no remorse for their actions.

It doesn’t matter if a rapist is a super star, an amazing athlete or an average person, the fact remains that the person is a rapist and should be treated as such. However, the boys are being punished, even if the punishment does not seem to completely fit the crime, since they are juveniles.

It seems as though they saw nothing wrong with what they did until they were tried and convicted. That raises the question of if they knew what they were doing was wrong. It would seem to be common sense that rape is wrong and taking advantage of a drunken girl is out of the question. However, they didn’t act as though they knew that was immoral.

All this aside, two teenage boys took advantage of a teenage girl. Period. Forget the fact they were all drunk. Forget the fact they are football players. Rape is rape no matter who does it and all criminals should be punished in accordance to their crime.

If someone is trying to cover something up in this case in order to save their reputation or the reputation of the school, or even of the football team itself, then perhaps priorities need to be evaluated again. Don’t teach teens that a reputation is more imporant than morals.

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