Talk about being tone-deaf! As the mother of two sons, this is not my takeaway from the case. The issue is not how the Steubenville rapists and their peers recorded their criminal actions on social media and therefore were caught, found guilty, and sentenced for their crimes. It’s that they raped in the first place.
Even CNN committed a major gaffe in their reporting on the sentencing, focusing not on the victim’s vindication and the possible outcomes for her, but rather on how difficult it was to watch the young rapists’ lives falling apart. According to The Huffington Post’s report on CNN’s coverage:
"[T]he effects of the rape on the victim seemed to be an afterthought: 'It was incredibly emotional, it was difficult for anyone in there to watch those boys break down,' Harlow said. '[It was] also difficult, of course, for the victim’s family.'”
The victim shouldn’t be an afterthought in the media coverage. Her vindication despite our broken culture of rape, her prognosis for a recovery from her trauma, and the possible consequences she and her family may face in their small town as they move forward should be central to the coverage.