rapecover

‘SHE DIDN’T AFFIRMATIVELY SAY NO’

UPDATE 18.3.13: The two teenagers accused of raping an unidentified girl in Ohio last year have been found guilty.

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, two members of Steubenville’s “Big Red” football team, were found delinquent in the sexual assault of the girl in the early morning of August 12 when she was allegedly too drunk to move or speak.

Judge Tom Lipps ordered Richmond held in a juvenile detention facility for at least one year and Mays at least two years. The juvenile system could hold them until age 21. Both were required to register as juvenile sex offenders.

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74 Comments

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    ro.watson

    Thanks Tracey. I was raped by two men in my home. They were uninvited and I still do not have a clue how they got in.
    I did not say a word.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    ro.watson

    ..They were strangers…I would have thought it is obvious~don’t rape me, don’t kill me and NO I don’t want to be hurt, bashed, needled(I was), and no, not the s.t.d I got, or the post trauma stress, and amnesia.And YES they got way with this~not known, not charged. For a while there I thought about criminal injuries compensation. In W.A you can claim criminal injuries compensation if you have reported the crime to police. I did that. And got a lawyer. Fact is I could not handle my own raised anxiety and dropped it. I so admire women who go through with court cases and comp.claims.

    • Reply March 13, 2013

      Will Marshall

      Oh Ro, So sorry to hear your story, if you were one of my nearest and dearest I think I would have sent some of my friends to find them

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    ro.watson

    Another multiple post. The rapes in 1999. And another one in September 2006 which was not believed. by my nearest and dearest~because I had been drunk.I reported this rape to police too. No wonder I had a breakdown in June,2007.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    Gracie123

    So sorry that you’ve had to go through all this ro. There is a still a double standarrd out there.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    The Huntress

    This is so completely and utterly sick. I cannot adequately describe what is going on inside me now. But I will say this:

    How can any decent human being, after viewing the above picture of that girl, honestly suggest that she is in any position to be wanting sex? “She did not affirmatively say no” Is this Orwellian double-speak? Does the prosecution have a mother, a wife, a daughter? If that was his wife would he stand by the accused and say “Your honour, my wife was passed out and did not affirmatively say no. Therefore she consented and I will be having words with her about this alleged infidelity”?

    I’ve been on the womens sexual assault campaign ever since I was 16 years old. I am nearly 32 – while naive, I never thought I’d be continuing an active campaign at this age so I can freely wear, drink and move how I wish without fear of being assaulted. The only small comfort I have is during my sexology study this year I will learn more about this behaviour and will be better equipped to do more in the fight against sexual violence.

    As always, Ro my thoughts are with you.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    sami

    You know who else can’t say no? Babies. Some people with disabilities. People in a coma or other unconscious state. Does that make it okay to assault them? Of course not. Why is this any different? It’s not. How these defence lawyers, judges and supporters of these kids manage to sleep at night is beyond me.

    There needs to be more education about enthusiastic consent. Not the absence of saying ‘no’, but having a conversation with someone- ‘do you want to do this with me?’. Any hesitation, a no, or even a maybe, needs to be accepted. You don’t try and coerce someone. You don’t pressure them to change their mind. As far as I’m concerned if you pressure someone into saying yes and you know that they don’t actually want to have sex with you, it is still rape. Some men get very annoyed at this suggestion and I suspect it’s because many have been guilty of this very thing and feel bad about it. They SHOULD feel bad. Sex is supposed to be enjoyable. As soon as you’re forcing it, you’re an abuser.

    This whole situation makes me angry. That we still need these conversations is ridiculous.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    Wendy Harmer

    The inspirational part of this story is the doggedness of blogger Alexandria Goddard who “complicated” things by tracking and taking screen shots of various comments, videos and photographs posted online by the partygoers that night.

    In the face of vilification and litigation, she kept on with it and exposed the toxic culture at Steubenville – she says she had little faith the authorities would do their job- and now it is both a national and international case.
    As Tracey mentions, a full account of the event can be read in The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/sports/high-school-football-rape-case-unfolds-online-and-divides-steubenville-ohio.html?pagewanted=1&_r=5&smid=tw-share

    That this assault was played out, bragged about, in social media is one reason it has become so high-profile.

    I take away from this appalling episode that now all young people have the wherewithall to use social media to report and stop such assaults…good time to have a talk with your children about when to speak up and what to do when they see something that they know is wrong.

    Standing up against the crowd can be a hard thing to do – even for the most brave of adult whistleblowers.

    This is a talk I will be having with my kids tonight.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    sami

    PS, ro, I hope those scumbags cop the karma that they so deserve. You admire those who go through court cases, and I admire you for reporting your attacks in the first place. So many can’t even manage that due to the trauma. You’re brave and I hope you know that!

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    Gracie123

    This whole scenario is so warped it is sickening. This poor girl is being carted around like a piece of the furniture. There is something very wrong when the boys behaviour is not counted as criminal behaviour. How can rape, and other penetration of a non-consenting person not be criminal behaviour.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    sue Bell

    I know of a woman whose home was invaded by a number of men, they threatened to kill her children unless she consented to sex. The rape case was thrown out of court because she “agreed” to save her children. Arsehole men, magistrates and politicians making these decisions.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    Sandy

    I am so angry right now. I am angry on behalf of this poor kid whose life has been ruined. I am so angry because I can’t see a way out for her, whether these pigs-that-deserve-to-die get sentenced for their crimes or not. She has been sentenced for life. For the crime of getting pissed as a teenager. I cannot fathom what she must be going through when the whole world has seen the ugly details of this tiny part of her life story. I am so sad. I am so sick of living in patriarchy. In a culture where when a girl or woman is assaulted, a legitimate argument for that assault is her failure to be a conscious objector. I hope that the majority of stupid Americans feel this way too. I hope with all my heart and soul that this kid survives this unconscionable injustice.

    • Reply March 13, 2013

      Maureen P.

      Oh Sandy, I know what you mean.
      How exciting must the event have been for her, a “religious girl’ mixing it with the others? She’s sixteen and she had no idea of what had happened that night ’till her uncle told the family the following morning. Feeling sore, perhaps, bruised maybe, not really remembering because she feels so sick and her head hurts so badly…where were her friends?? You don’t go to these parties alone when you’re that young, you go with friends. What happened to them?
      When your face is plastered all over the net and you are villified for what people say you have done, what chance do you have to come back?
      You have immediate photographic evidence that was not available in my day, but may very well save her, and indite the rest of the developementally arrested, drunken, but perhaps badly parented others!

    • Reply March 14, 2013

      Carz

      Please don’t say her life has been ruined. You don’t know what she may still be capable of in her life. Rape damages parts of your life, your soul, so that they can never be the same and you will never be the same person, but that doesn’t mean your life is ruined.

      I am 42, a single parent to two wonderful kids, just starting my Honours year for my Bachelor of Social Science. I am a talented photographer in the slow process of building a small business, I have papers I have written published on sites of integrity where they are accessed by academics and researchers. I am also a survivor of what my psychologist calls ‘a long history of sexual victimisation’. I may not be the person I would have been without what happened to me but I am a good person, a generally happy person. And believe it or not I like my life. And without what happened to me I wouldn’t have the life or friends I do. While I wouldn’t wish it on anybody I can’t wish it gone for me either.

      • Reply March 14, 2013

        Maureen P.

        I stand well-and-truly corrected, Carz and apologise to the other strong survivors out there…thinking of my daughter…emotions got the better of me!

        • Reply March 14, 2013

          Carz

          Maureen, it would be a sad state if we weren’t allowed to show our emotions. No apology needed. It just saddens me greatly (and makes me angry) when people refer to rape victims/survivors as broken or their lives as ruined. In some ways it puts an expectation on both the survivor and the people around them that they will always be fragile little flowers who must be protected from life. What any rape victim goes through is horrendous and traumatic, regardless of the details. And yes, it is life changing. But hearing how broken they are, or how their life has been ruined does nothing to help them work their way back.

          I was first sexually assaulted at the age of 10. I didn’t even know what sex was at that point in my life. Since then I have been sexually assaulted and raped by two others, one over a long period of time. I lived my life saying “It happened, I can’t change that, move on.” Only I didn’t. I progressively moved closer and closer to killing myself. Most of my friends didn’t have a clue. I am thankful everyday for being guided to a psychologist who knew how to deal with my issues and help me through them. And I fight where I can to change things for others. But the biggest and best thing that can be done is to rip down the shroud of secrecy and shame that still envelopes sexual assault and rape victims/survivors, female or male, child or adult. Rape doesn’t have to define who you are but it is unavoidable that will influence your journey.

  • Reply March 13, 2013

    melissa

    So telling that there is a ” drunk’s defence” available to those who commit crimes, but victims miss out on this loophole. What a joke – this scum will most likely walk free, a person caught smoking a but of grass in some parts of the US can find themselves in jail and burdened with a record that tarnishes their future prospects of employment,

    Ro, I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you – in particlar the fact that you weren’t believed the second time.
    I know what it’s like to feel unsafe in my own home and I also suffer from ptsd – mine resulting from prolonged and severe childhood abuse. Something that I’ve found to be hugely helpful is having a dog; not only does it elp you feel safe, but also helps one get out of one’s own head. Forstering dogs for a rescue charity is a great option for people not in a position to take on a dog long-term,.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    ro.watson

    Very grateful for your care Hooplarians. I had a wonderful dog at the time Melissa.xx

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Leda Burt

    WELL DONE TRACEY!!!!!! This story makes me feel sad and sick, but you articulate the argurements so well & the story must be told. Thank god for women like you in the media, thank you.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Vanessa

    This article sickened me. I kinda wish I hadn’t read it but I did. I was raped when unconscious back in 2007. I don’t know if I was drugged or just very drunk (although I have never blacked out before). I lost 7 hours of my life that night and woke up with some disgusting stranger doing things to me that I would never have consented to. Three days later I went to the police and underwent something similar to being raped, by being integrated for 13 hours by several police until 3am. I was living in London at the time and had no family there.

    As I couldn’t remember how I got to be in this person’s flat my word was questioned over and over. Doubt fills me to this day. I felt completely responsible for what had happened to me for a very long time, despite telling myself that I could not possibly have consented if I was unconscious.

    The police just made me feel like a drunken slut who had regrets about a one night stand. I didn’t bother going through with the investigation as everything I said was doubted and questioned. In the end I had a breakdown and had to return to Australia where I ended up in and out of psych hospitals for over a year.

    Men need to be educated that unconscious does not equal consent. The photo above makes me sick to my stomach. I’ve spent the last five years trying to fill in what happened to me in those 7 hours. I’ll never know, but I’ll always wonder.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    aussieblonk

    Right about now, I am once again mortified by the male gender. Yes, thankfully, it’s only a minority, yet each case like this leaves a mark. But we all know, men , albeit on a smaller scale, suffer these atrocities too. If you have been on both sides of the legal system, it may sound hypocritcal to be judgemental, yet I cannot help feeling cases like these need more than one adjudicator. Reading this story, Tracy, I count numerous criminal offences, what is wrong with Criminal Justice these days? Being, in my opinion, non violent, it scares me to think of the revenge I would seek as this girls parent…

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    R

    Poor Ro. I feel for you more than I can say here. Thank you Tracey, I will be showing this article to my fourteen year old twin boys this afternoon and expect a vigorous discussion afterwards.

    • Reply March 15, 2013

      R

      Addendum: If it was not for this article it would not even have occurred to me that I would have even needed to have this conversation with my boys, and I was startled/appalled to discover that the ‘asking for it’ zeitgeist was already present in their consciousness I am confident that reframing, questioning their ideas and concepts has changed this. But the more disturbing thing is that it was present at all. Their father is a gentle & respectful man. I have raised them to be ‘good boys’ and yet there is the underlying and all-pervading sense that women are more to be blamed for rape than the rapist was still there. Perhaps society does condone this on some level. I think that some sort of conversation MUST be held with mothers of sons. What does ‘no’ mean? Judgement of girls and women for what passes as acceptable behaviour by boys and men. I can’t begin to even fathom this save that I will remain vigilant for these attitudes that seemed to be ingrained. I am ashamed that the attitudes were there but I hope that I have nipped it in the bud.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Heather

    Thankyou. Great piece.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    bigwords

    The photo of the girl being carried around horrifies me. The proceeding events anger and sadden me. I have three girls, I fear for them.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Hannah

    You should have victim support numbers at the end of the article

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Joanne

    We see this & our reactions are quite similar… My reflection: It seems that Women (of all ages sadly) have being raped since God knows when! My first sexual experience was date rape; spiked drinks … horrible! ( I’ve wondered over the years when I hear of the relentless abuse of WOMEN of ALL AGES, every country, worse in some places but all over the world… why we don’t resort to donning “Zena the Princess Warrior” outfits & start rounding up all men & make them pass a “he’s ok let him go” test! The ones that fail…. well… Thumbs down! just a fantasy girls ) – It’s such a shame that this sort of thing goes on – I’m very lucky to have a very beautiful husband who shakes his head & feels just as bad when he hears of this sort of thing.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Tracey Spicer

    Dear Ro,

    I am so saddened to hear your story. That is absolutely shocking. Thank you for speaking out. We need to talk about this, as a community, to send the message that rape is rape, regardless of whether the victim was incapacitated. x

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Adrienne

    Is there somewhere we can write to protest against their moronic legal system? This is infuriating and disgusting. In a culture where it’s commonplace to call women ‘ho’ and ‘bitch’, this is just one more example of America’s ignorance and stupidity

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    June

    We are in a culture where a right to having sex is seen as a basic male right. Simple as that.

    Until this attitude changes; that this right, like so many others, becomes bound around with caveats and thoughts and context (“you only have the right if the other person explicity says yes”, for eg), this law cases will continue.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Melanie

    There seems to be a percentage of the population who see girls wearing little clothes or out having a good time as whores who deserve all they get. They don’t see the predatory behaviour of men, they don’t see the crime and they don’t want to. I was mortified recently when a woman was raped in a town close to me. The local police chief came out in the local paper and ‘warned girls not to be walking on their own late at night’. How about warning men not to go out molesting woman walking home late at night? That mentality to blame the victim by putting herself in a vulnerable position infuriates me and has me wondering how far womens rights has actually come in this country.

    Ro, thank you for sharing your story, that takes an enormous amount of courage and it is people like you who put a human face on such an odious crime.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Rhoda

    If the shoe were on the other foot…

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Alex

    Happened to a very good friend when we were in mid teens. She was out with friends, got very drunk (easy to get drugs and alcohol for underage kids), separated from her friends by young men she knew (in hindsight, with intent), taken to a quiet place and raped. She came to my place afterwards – I recall my father waking me up and saying “X is here to see you – she looks upset.” Police advice was to drop it – 5 versions vs. hers and in hindsight they were probably advising the low probability of obtaining a conviction in such circumstances. Now, of course, we know that this is not their job at all – it’s the job of a court.
    Some observations from my experience:
    I knew the girl very well. It was a gang rape, plain as day.
    She knew the perpetrators – your acquaintances are not always your friends.
    Most males, young or old will not be party to such a thing – most have been taught right from wrong – there will always be exceptions.
    Most females, young or old, have a sense of caution and don’t get caught in these situations – most have been taught risk avoidance by their parents but there will always be exceptions.
    Excessive drugs and drinking is very risky behaviour because there ARE predators out there.
    If there is evidence of assault, then let it be charged as an assault first and worry about what kind later. At least that gets it on the books. Most courts aren’t completely stupid.
    Report ALL such assaults – times have changed and it is now much more likely that it will get to court. That’s not saying it is going to be an easy experience.
    The preponderance of internet pornography has tended to normalise such behaviour as in the incident in the USA. This is a big concern.
    Being a parent is a constant worry.
    And finally, some footnotes:
    The girl in this story went on to live a happy, fulfilling life, funnily enough, with her future husband and kids in the USA.
    I, for one, have an aversion to drunken and drugged people to this day.
    Sometimes, where legal justice fails, there are other options, and to borrow from the USA, I’ll take the 5th on that one. There is a certain irony in knowing that they will never report it either.

    • Reply March 14, 2013

      Maureen P.

      Thanks for your post Alex. Appreciated your considered thoughts.

    • Reply March 14, 2013

      Tracy

      “Most females, young or old, have a sense of caution and don’t get caught in these situations” –

      Victim blaming like this will never change attitudes and outcomes for women and girls. I find so much wrong with the response from Alex.

      • Reply March 18, 2013

        Joe

        “Alex “Most females, young or old, have a sense of caution and don’t get caught in these situations” –
        Victim blaming like this will never change attitudes and outcomes for women and girls. I find so much wrong with the response from Alex.”

        I don’t think Alex is blaming the victim – I think he’s stating a simple point. We all take steps to reduce our risk. I doubt, for instance, that you leave your home in the morning with the door unlocked, left wide open and with that brand new entertainment unit you bought sitting in the doorway. No, you lock your house up. You take *sensible* precautions to protect yourself and your property from damage.

        Likewise if you’re watching the news and the weather report says a large hailstorm is expected tonight, your car is parked out on the street, and your insurance policy doesn’t cover hail damage, are you asking for it? Of course not. Nobody asks for it. Have you significantly increased your risk though? Absolutely.

        What we have is a young woman who went to a party (risk+), her friends left her (risk++ so much for them), she was surrounded by drunk (risk+++) male (risk++++) footballers (risk+++++) and she got so drunk herself (risk++++++) that there’s a video of a people talking about her as if she’s a “dead body”. Forget rape for a moment – she opened herself to an incredible number of risks including drowning in her own vomit, falling in the swimming pool in a drunken stupor or any number of other things that could have occurred which might have resulted in serious injury or death.

        She was clearly in a state where she could not take care of herself. And she was surrounded by people who were also clearly in a state where they couldn’t take care of themselves. Does this excuse anyone’s behaviour? Absolutely not. But it does ask: Who was she expecting to take care of her? If she had started to drown in her own vomit, was it expected that anyone else would be sufficiently sober enough to notice and then able to do something about it?

        The rape is clearly not her fault and the legal defense being offered is down-right pathetic. But the fact remains, if she’d left with her friends, chosen to not get as drunk as she did, or made sure there was a responsible adult around to supervise the party, she would have been a lot safer.

        It’s why you lock your doors.

        I note the police now are being chastised for daring to suggest that people should reduce their risk by “not being stupid and going out drunk, alone with no friends, down dark unfamiliar alleys”. Is it their fault if something happens to them? No. But you are significantly increasing your risk.

        The other option is to advocate some sort of society where we’re free to get so drunk, we pass out in the middle of the road and expect to wake-up, warm and safe in our own beds the next morning – instead of in a morgue after being run over.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Bev

    Sad for their mothers but case closed – I want nasty boys dead – they raped a girl – they will always be capable of doing it again. Just die.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Lala

    I was drugged by my ex. I told a police officer some time later and was told I should have done something about it at the time. I was not the first person he did it to but no action was taken.

    A quote that came back to me when I read the article and comments: ‘I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak’

    That was said by our leader of the opposition. Is it a sentiment shared by so many that it won’t harm election chances. It is not that these attitudes exist that scares me so much as how widespread and publicly acceptable they seem to be.

  • [...] Those words are part of the defence argument in a US rape trial where the victim was drugged and drunk and raped. Tracey Spicer deals with it here. [...]

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Carz

    If people are looking for a place where they can find some peer support from other survivors of rape and sexual assault please check out http://www.pandys.org This is an online community of survivors. It isn’t there to replace helping professionals but rather to share experiences and feel not quite so alone. It is American but there are plenty of Aussie members. You just need to go to the forums and sign up. Supporters of survivors are also welcome to join as secondary survivors.

    If anyone is looking for more information about rape and sexual assault by a partner then http://www.aphroditewounded.com is a great website. Owned and operated by an Aussie it has a wealth of information for survivors and for professionals and academics. I think the most important thing to remember is that you are never alone. Reaching out for help can be hard but it can also be life changing.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    deb

    and the difference between the US justice system’s treatment of rape victims and Pakistan’s, India, Saudi Arabia’s? sickening.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Suzanne McGhie

    How do we know that the young woman was drunk? perhaps she had been mickey finned? perhaps she had had some sort of fit… and the photo of the woman on the couch, was that another tweeted photo? perhaps that woman had not drunk that bottle of wine? who knows, the issue is not whether a woman is drunk, stoned, intoxicated, unconscious, the issue is about men raping and sexually assaulting women, there is plenty of evidence that it is on the increase and not being dealt with adequately at any level, otherwise it would not occur. The fight must continue with excellent articles like this as a trigger for action and expose of discriminatory laws.

    • Reply March 14, 2013

      Carz

      As it says in the article the photo of the woman on the couch is part of an anti-rape campaign.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Alex

    Ah, crap, I forgot the most important point in this debate …
    The defence is that “She didn’t affirmatively say no.”

    The test of admission of the defence should therefore be:
    “Was she affirmatively asked?”

    Seems to me, that this would require the defendant(s) to list the actions he(they) wished to perform, individually, specifically and in detail, and obtain an affirmative response to each. Quite reasonable, yes? There would also necessarily be a duty of care obligation on the defendant to demonstrate that the person asked the question was given reasonable opportunity to consider the request before answering.

    From a logical standpoint therefore, one cannot possibly use as a defence, the premise of an implied answer to a question that was never asked.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings us neatly back to a fundamental point. No-one in these situations ever asks to be raped. To assume an affirmative answer is an assumption that clearly no-one has the right to make.

    Ergo, it’s an assault. Off with his head.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Rosslyn

    Realistically I am not surprised!
    Unfortunately our women are trained at a young age to be all about their sexuality not their achievements and boys are trained to see them that way too.
    I hope this poor girl is able to move past this and those boys who watched and commented take a long hard look at the people that they have chosen to be. Sexual crimes are still the prevalent incidence that women need to be scared of as it’s not only morons like those at the party but their own friends, family members and associates!
    Our boys need to be taught from a young age that this is NOT ok!

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    DJ

    Yesterday I saw new CCTV footage of Jill Meagher walking down the street before she was raped and murdered. A young male reporter made the comment that she was clearly intoxicated. It was obvious to me he was insinuating that if she had not been drinking she might not have been targeted. I felt sick to think that there is still a perception amongst men that if women are drunk and alone they are setting themselves up for attack. Do they think a man who is drunk and alone is fair game for rape and murder?

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    jodi

    My blood is BOILING after reading this article!!!!! How do these young men ‘learn’ total lack of respect for another human being???

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Rhoda

    Thank you, Alex.

    Ro, I don’t have the words but I have the tears.

    One thing said stood out for me and that was the comment supposedly said by Tony Abbott. That sex is a man’s right to demand. There we have it.

    I would like to ask this man if he has since changed his mind because if he hasn’t women have a right to a please explain.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Mary

    I had a friend who always got wasted when she was out..she would be found passed out somewhere, sometimes barely dressed. She rarely remembered what she had been doing and with whom. One time we saw her at a party as she was on her way to a bedroom to have sex with a guy, nothing unusual. But when he finished 5 of his mates decided they wanted their turn even though she yelled at them to go away(I can’t write what she actually said). We went to investigate what the noise was about, the guys barred our way and wouldn’t let us in until they finished.
    She reported it, we were witnesses, but the 5 guys got off with a slap on the wrist because of her previous “actions”. This was when courts where allowed to bring up your past. The guys admitted what had happpened, but said they didn’t think she meant it as she was always having sex with whoever wanted it.
    While her mother and father were talking their lawyer, the parents of one of the guys came up to her and the mother slapped her across the face. The father abused her for dragging their son through all this and ruining his reputation. (That his son had raped her was acceptable behaviour to him I guess).
    Basically the Judge said “that if she didn’t want to be raped, then stop getting drunk”.
    The justice system dealing with rape was atrocious back then.
    Now police and other councellors have training to deal with it, let’s hope our justice system doesn’t become the weak link.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    ro.watson

    I just wanted to say many of us women are incredibly resilient as survivors~ but there is a breaking point,and to come back from that breaking point is tough,incredibly tough. But possible.xx.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Narelle Matheson

    I’ve taken the time to read the article carefully and all the responses. Most women that I know have had some sort of experience of assault, including myself. What has always bothered me is that on every single occasion, the victim has been interrogated, and then cautioned in some way to modify her behaviour, whether or not it progressed to court.
    My question has always been, why don’t we caution men to change their thinking, behaviour and attitude? Why do we not have a fully fledged educational program for men involved in these criminal activities, to try to change their attitude? Not all these men are simple- minded. They know right from wrong. Where in their conscious mind is the expectation that assaulting a drunken, semi-conscious young woman is an okay thing to do? Or that a “gang-bang” is acceptable social behaviour? Somewhere, somehow, we have moved the responsibility for men’s bad behaviour from men to women!

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Zelda

    It’s not only sex crimes but devious people like sociopaths and narcissists that can cause critics to blame their victim.

    Their deeds are hidden and covert to even family members in some cases, and when there are questions the victim is blamed. As one with a narcissistic mother I run into walls everywhere in the mother taboo. We apparently must not condemn mothers who for some reason are seen as perfect. “Oh she wouldn’t do that – it must be your fault” Well, she did do that and I left to protect myself.
    It also puts extra pressure on mothers too – to be perfect when they are far less than so.
    Isn’t it time we stopped all this biblical nonsense of man being the power, idealising holy parenthood and innocent children and women being harmed because of it ?

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    shelley thomas

    Why do guys want to ‘have sex’ ( I uses the term broadly) with someone who is unconscious? Having sex is about (usually) 2 consenting people, so if a guy is ‘fucking’ an unconscious woman then he could just as easily be doing the same thing to a dead body. Guys and their dicks and their needs. Sure it is not all men, but in my 52 years experience it is a lot of them. The guys in the article then ridiculed the girl. None of their behaviour makes sense, why would anyone in their right mind be involved in a very intimate activity with someone who seemed like they were dead and whom they had no respect for? This seems to me to be very telling about these kinds of people.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Nicoll

    Shelley I think it might be more about the power. I was raped by an acquaintance at 2pm. I was not drunk, not dressed inappropriately (although if I was – I was still not asking for it to happen!). He did not ejaculate, and I believe this is quite common – it’s the power they get off on, not the sexual gratification. Two years later I’m still dealing with the trauma. The case did not go to court as although there was some compelling forensic evidence there were ‘no witnesses’. Who the hell has a witness to such a secretive crime? The justice system is not set up for these crimes, and I think the way forward is through education. Mr Abbott needs a new education – his comment is appalling.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Ann

    The article sickened me and I keep wndering when wil this ever change? I have a few woment friends who have teenage sons and I know they would never be part of this – even with peer pessure because these boys have been taught respect for women. Maybe that’s what needed that boys are taught respect at an early age from their fathers

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Christine Gates

    Four UN agencies interviewed 10,000 men across seven countries in the Asia-Pacific, with startling results.
    One in four said they had raped a woman or girl, while one in 25 admitted to taking part in gang rape.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2013/03/201335205155725918.html
    We have a global epidemic of violence against girls and women. And we are making no inroads to changing men’s attitudes or behavior toward women. Preventing rape is everyone’s business

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Bec

    And we are trying to teach teenages not to Sext and this judge says that the boys that watched and shared videos and photos didn’t doing anything criminally wrong?? i don’t get that! Of all the people who saw this girl getting carried from one party to the next didn’t one person stop and say – hey this girl needs to get home??

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Sarah

    I get so angry at the double standard that gets applied to people’s behaviour. When a bloke go out drinking enough to pass out and vomit on himself everyone cheers, he’s just being a lad! But when a women does the same thing it is interpreted as meaning that she wants to be assaulted and humiliated. Assaulting anyone who is incapable of defending themselves is one of the most cowardly acts imaginable, but it is even more appaling to see it being defended, and actually justified, by those who actually hold real power. I agree with previous comments that fathers educating boys to respect people from a very early age is a crucial element of overcoming this, but I think we also need to stop glorifying this kind of ‘masculine’ behaviour. These guys need to be shamed as the puny cowards they really are.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Rhoda

    It’s such a brutish act. The victim is nothing more than a sex object to the perpetrator. A soft target. The harm inflicted is incalculable.

    And despite the terrible human harm, one hears extraordinaryly little from the Church.

  • Reply March 14, 2013

    Lucy's Mum

    Got a bit drunk one boxing day 15 years ago – passed out on the couch, just like the girl in the Canadian advertisement. My husband took it as his given right to assault me and I now have a divorce and a beautiful 14 year old daughter. Marital rape is just as common and goes unreported as no-one believes you because, well, you’re MARRIED!! My daughter is well aware of how she came into the world as I want to warn/protect her from any kind of predator, even a blood relative.

    • Reply March 15, 2013

      Carz

      It really is a special kind of betrayal, isn’t it Lucy?

    • Reply March 15, 2013

      Sandy

      Lucy’s mum. The most common form of rape. Never punished. When I was 18 I started going out with a man 10 years older than me for 5 years. He raped me occasionally. I got upset and tried to educate him. Would he want his sister to be treated that way. When I broke up with him he raped me at gunpoint and told me that if I didn’t get back with him he would kill me. I went to the police. They told me my wisest choice for survival was to leave town which I did. He was never punished. There are a gazillion such stories in the naked city. When will they be at their end?

  • Reply March 15, 2013

    ro.watson

    My only fightback was playing dead. How cringeworthy is that? I had been asleep on the last rape. But better to play dead~ than be dead.

    Zelda, I feel your pain( though my Mum was loving).For those who have not seen narcissists and sociopaths in action, their control efforts and effects often go hidden.

    • Reply March 15, 2013

      Zelda

      Appreciate that !
      The victim does get the reputation of being whingey whiney for daring to mention the emotional abuse.

    • Reply March 15, 2013

      Carz

      Ro you did what you had to to survive. Nobody can expect more. It is a long road back. A very long road. And it can become rocky at any time unexpectedly. I admire your strength and hope that when times are tough you can remember that you have it.

  • Reply March 15, 2013

    R

    Addendum: If it was not for this article it would not even have occurred to me that I would have even needed to have this conversation with my boys, and I was startled/appalled to discover that the ‘asking for it’ zeitgeist was already present in their consciousness I am confident that reframing, questioning their ideas and concepts has changed this. But the more disturbing thing is that it was present at all. Their father is a gentle & respectful man. I have raised them to be ‘good boys’ and yet there is the underlying and all-pervading sense that women are more to be blamed for rape than the rapist was still there. Perhaps society does condone this on some level. I think that some sort of conversation MUST be held with mothers of sons. What does ‘no’ mean? Judgement of girls and women for what passes as acceptable behaviour by boys and men. I can’t begin to even fathom this save that I will remain vigilant for these attitudes that seemed to be ingrained. I am ashamed that the attitudes were there but I hope that I have nipped it in the bud.

  • Reply March 15, 2013

    helen b

    Thankyou Tracey for bringing this story to our attention. Clearly, it has touched a deep nerve in many women here. For many of us we have had lucky escapes. But for my ‘sisters’ here who tell their stories of rape, my heart goes out to you for speaking now and giving insight into your experiences. I have no doubt of your courage and resilience in speaking now and in continuing to come to terms with this in your life and continuing to choose life.

    This quote from Bene Brown popped uo for me this morning. It seemed to capture what is happening here on Hoopla and is particularly pertinent to this topic, but relevant whenever people talk about their deepest feelings.

    “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~Brené Brown

    Thankyou Hoopla and all who bare their souls here!

  • Reply March 15, 2013

    Josephine K

    Anyone who stands by when these horrific acts occur is accountable. The high numbers of women who are raped here in every state of Australia will stay high unless there is more responsibility taken. ‘I didn’t want to get involved’ doesn’t qualify … if you were there and didn’t do anything to stop it – you were involved.

  • Reply March 15, 2013

    Cherie P

    I have read this girl’s story before and it’s an extreme version of what happens to girls and women every single day. This girl was lured and drugged on the demand of a boy she had broken up with. Smart girl, obviously he is a sociopath as he vowed “to ruin her”. What is more disturbing than the actual acts done to this girl, was the fact that the local police backed the boys, aiding in destroying evidence and slut shamed her into no chance of justice. These boys were pack animals. If my son ever did anything like this to a girl I would turn him in myself and question where I went wrong raising him. Boys need to learn respect for girls and women. No means no and not being able to say no is also a no. For the record, I was raped on a camping trip by my boyfriends best mate. I don’t normally drink alcohol, but they bought alcohol and insisted I had to drink it too. They got me drunk and the asshole took advantage of my state of intoxication and the darkness and my being 3/4 asleep to initiate unwelcome sexual advances and rape me in my sleep. I didn’t even realise it wasn’t my boyfriend until the next morning.

    This has to stop. Women should be allowed to be safe when surrounded by people they should be able to trust. Teach our boys it is not ok to take advantage of that drunk girl, take her to her home, leave a note, be a man and let her sober up and call you.

  • Reply March 16, 2013

    Wendy Harmer

    Thanks to Ro Watson for this: There are Centres Against Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Resource Centres as well as national rape crisis phone help lines
    like 1800737732.

  • Reply March 18, 2013

    Mum of Adult Kids

    I will never understand why any person thinks they have the right to violate another… or how any legal authority could even contemplate that this kind of behaviour is acceptable. Under any circumstances. Ever.

  • Reply March 22, 2013

    presactly

    I’m sorry to say that events such as this are not too rare in my 30-something crowd (as many of you have attested here)

    However, for the parents among you, you might find this woman’s approach helpful, and for more than just ‘not raising a rapist’ but for interacting with people generally.

    http://www.xojane.com/family/i-wish-i-had-a-parenting-book-about-how-not-to-raise-a-rapist

  • Reply April 1, 2013

    koalaburger

    It seems that there are a lot of women replying to this story and that is understandible. I don’t think a lot of men understand the trials women go through from rape to unwanted attention. I thought I would give a male point of view as to why it may seem that men are a bit reticent to forcefully come out against rape. I will try to be sensitive but want to help understanding not create controversy,

    Just say no is not as straight forward as it seems. I and my friends have all had the experience of a girl in bed saying no. When we rolled over they got angry because they wanted us to “take them”. I think this is a hangover from not wanting to seem too easy. There have been several stories in the US media in the last year about false rape claims. One was a girl whose strict father found out she had sex. She finally admitted it after the guy had been in jail for 3 years. Another girl confessed to lying because she wanted her girlfriends to feel sorry for her. I also know of a mates friend who was an A grade footballer who was discharged when it was found the same girl had made false claims several times before trying to get cash. There was also the case of a Manly player. Women have been told by divorce lawyers to make a false claim of child sexual abuse to help with custody. The big secret men know is that there are a lot of bunny boilers out there.

    Again, there is no excuse for these boys in this case and rape is appalling and stiff penalties should be imposed. Most men hate rapists and I believe they are a minority of men. I hope this helps you understand why men are a bit wary but don’t confuse what I have said to excuse these bastards for one second.

  • [...] girl who was raped by two football players at a party in Steubenville, Ohio, last year. A case I wrote about back in [...]

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