Rape Culture 101: West Virginia Teaching HS Jocks How To Rape And Get Away With It


Earlier this year, two star athletes were convicted of raping an unconscious girl in Steubenville, Ohio. The Steubenville case shined a very bright light on rape culture in a very dark corner of America. This particular corner is inhabited by people who are so beholden to their local high school or college sports team that the players and coaches can almost literally get away with murder. I covered this story as it unfolded all the way up to the ridiculously light sentence of one year for Ma’lik Richmond and two years for Trent Mays. In juvenile jail. The word “justice” seems inappropriate.

We saw the same kind of disregard for the victims in Penn State where Jerry Sandusky’s crimes were swept under the rug and he was allowed to victimize more children. This is not an isolated incident and the pernicious effects of high school/college sports rape culture has left an untold number of women and men traumatized by their sexual assaults. Meanwhile, the perpetrators continue to be lionized and will most likely never face justice.

And West Virginia is working extra hard to make sure it stays that way.

The Associated Press reports that U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld is tackling (no pun intended) this problem by focusing on the true culprit of the Steubenville rape. No, not the rapists. No, not the culture of creepy hero-worship. And certainly not the blame the victim mentality that pervades these cases. The REAL culprit is social media:

The rape case “definitely played a role in causing us to think, ‘Who do we need to focus upon?’ “ Ihlenfeld told The Associated Press. “We thought, ‘Let’s start calling athletic directors and coaches to see if they’re interested.’ That investment of time hopefully will pay dividends down the road, not only because you hope the kids are going to stay out of trouble. Social media creates so many distractions off the field for coaches. Maybe we can help them avoid that situation as well.

So you see, the problem wasn’t that these two jocks raped a girl, it’s that they posted it online and got caught! It’s all so simple! Don’t get drunk, but if you and you rape a girl, for the love of Steve Jobs, don’t record it on your iPhone!

To say that Ihlenfeld’s priorities are out of whack is like saying WWII was a minor territorial dispute. But just in case you’re not sure that teaching jocks to keep their crimes off of Youtube is the specific point of this program:

The program was unveiled in Wheeling, which is 26 miles south of Steubenville. It comes on the heels of a drug education program started by Ihlenfeld’s office last year called “Project Future.” The latest program, dubbed “Project Future Two-a-Days,” includes 15 minutes focusing on drugs and alcohol and 15 minutes on social media.

15 minutes on social media. Where’s the part about not raping unconscious girls? Right, that’s covered in the 15 minute section that might as well be titled “Don’t be a fool and stay in school (and out of jail) by turning your phone off.”

Sports town rape culture: Where it’s more important to teach kids how not to go to jail than it is to teach them to not act like animals.