Favorite

Don't gloss over the booze in Steubenville case 

If I were attorney general of Ohio, prosecutions in the Steubenville rape case wouldn't end with the conviction of two high school football players. In interviews, Mike DeWine indicated that he might seek additional charges, possibly obstruction of justice and failure to report child abuse.

Too bad Ohio has no law against criminal stupidity, or he could indict that Steubenville football coach who allegedly told a New York Times reporter "You're going to get yours. And if you don't get yours, somebody close to you will."

No wonder his players acted like louts. The guy sounds like he's auditioning to play Coach Knuckledragger in "Fast Times at Neanderthal High."

But the adults I'd really like to see brought to justice are those who helped a bunch of 16-year-old high school kids get knee-walking drunk and provided them unchaperoned party houses to do it in. Alas, for reasons having to do with our willfully shallow national conversation about "gender issues" as the deepest thinkers style them, it's considered controversial to point out that both the victim and her assailants were drunker than...

Well, drunker than what? Than Lindsay Lohan? Than a peach orchard boar, as country folks say? Drunker than Dean Martin, the late crooner and comic from Steubenville who used to impersonate an amiable sot in his night club act?

Almost all of the ways we have to talk about intoxication are halfway humorous, although the wonder of the Steubenville case isn't so much what happened at the party as what happened later on social media. That and the fact that all those drunk-driving high-school sophomores made it home alive that night, instead of running head-on into an 18-wheeler or plunging into the Ohio River in somebody's daddy's SUV.

My view is that the two perps got off easy. A year or two in an Ohio youth detention facility is nothing compared to the penalties they could have received had they been tried as adults. So no, their lives aren't over; and yes, I imagine they can be rehabilitated. Once again, probably none of this would have happened if they hadn't all three been hammered. So where did they get the booze?

Making this observation in a Facebook post, however, brought me a torrent of angry responses from individuals who imagined I was making excuses for Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, the high school football stars who molested the victim after she'd passed out drunk, vomited all over herself and ended up naked at a team bash last August. Photos and videos of the helpless girl carried about like a captured missionary in a Tarzan movie got posted online for her classmates and parents to see.

In their drunkenness, the victim wasn't a person to them; she was a thing. Possibly the kind of insatiable trollop they'd seen in porn movies, without shame, eager to be degraded; a groupie.

That's not an alibi, it's an explanation.

My saying so, however, infuriated a lot of people. To them, mentioning the victim's own inebriation was tantamount to "blaming the victim." One fellow denounced my post as "a sterling example of rape culture and everything that's wrong with masculinity in our society."

"Drunk," I was informed "does not give one a free pass to rape." Somebody else wanted to know "How about armed robbery when you are drunk. Is being drunk the most significant fact?"

No, but if you pass out in the street near an all-night bar, don't expect to wake up with your wallet.

Somebody else linked to an article in The American Prospect condemning "Toxic Masculinity," defined as "damaging to men, too, positing them as stoic sex-and-violence machines with allergies to tenderness, playfulness, and vulnerability. A reinvented masculinity will surely give men more room to express and explore themselves without shame or fear."

Yeah, well dream on. It says here that if there had been a grown man on the premises — by which I don't mean Coach Knuckledragger — instead of a bunch of drunken boys, somebody would have protected that girl. Put a blanket over her; taken her to the emergency room; carried her home.

For that matter, what about the girls of Steubenville? Why did none of them speak up? Oh yeah, drunk too. Beyond that, it would probably take a novelist like Joyce Carol Oates to render these appalling events fully comprehensible.

But no, since it's apparently necessary to spell it out, a girl doesn't deserve to be raped because she got drunk and naked with the football team. Nothing she could have done justifies the way she was treated. But hers was a reckless and stupid act all the same.

So is providing 16 year-old kids with liquor. It's also a serious crime. If Ohio authorities wanted to make something worthwhile of this case, they'd enforce it.

Somehow, I doubt that will happen.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Gene Lyons

  • The casting couch

    Long ago and far away, I had an academic superior who enjoyed sexually humiliating younger men. There was unwanted touching — always in social situations — but mainly it was about making suggestive remarks, hinting that being a "hunk" was how I'd got hired.
    • Oct 19, 2017
  • Conspiracy theories

    Hardly anybody today believes that once unsettling events like solar eclipses are caused by wolves or demons eating the sun. But when it comes to all-too-frequent eruptions of what Philip Roth calls "the indigenous American berserk," many retreat into superstition, or worse.
    • Oct 12, 2017
  • Botched recovery

    When the going gets tough, the tough go golfing.
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Never wrong

    Quite a few people make noises about leaving the country if the wrong person gets elected president. I've been making discreet inquiries in the vicinity of Kinsale, County Cork, myself — from whence my people emigrated after 1880.
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Hillary hit jobs

    It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do a bang-up job. Getting elected, however, might prove more difficult.
    • Jul 28, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Gene Lyons

  • The casting couch

    Long ago and far away, I had an academic superior who enjoyed sexually humiliating younger men. There was unwanted touching — always in social situations — but mainly it was about making suggestive remarks, hinting that being a "hunk" was how I'd got hired.
    • Oct 19, 2017
  • Conspiracy theories

    Hardly anybody today believes that once unsettling events like solar eclipses are caused by wolves or demons eating the sun. But when it comes to all-too-frequent eruptions of what Philip Roth calls "the indigenous American berserk," many retreat into superstition, or worse.
    • Oct 12, 2017
  • Botched recovery

    When the going gets tough, the tough go golfing.
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

October

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Cotton to CIA?

    Political junkies without a real election to overanalyze fill the void with "what if?" scenarios. With the State Fair underway, consider this column a helping of cotton candy for such readers.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The casting couch

    • sigh............ I would argue that the idea of 'freedom from fear' is part of the…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: Caution: government at work

    • As to the AR Chamber of Commerce-DO NOT FORGET it supports passage of SJR8, which…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: The casting couch

    • Freedom from fear is a human right.

    • on October 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation