Serena Williams Blames Steubenville Rape Victim for
Putting Herself in That Position, Sh**tstorm Ensues,
Issues Lame Apology
Photo Credit: Neale Cousland/Shutterstock.com
It can, alas, be unfortunate when athletes open their mouths.
Serena Williams is the latest to suffer from a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease. In a recent interview, the dominant women’s tennis player freely opined on the Steubenville rape case, for some reason, expressing sympathy for the rapists.
“Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
There’s so much wrong-headedness in that statment that it is difficult to know where to begin. Like, for starters, what does virginity have to do with it? The boys were merely stupid, and the girl lucky.
When the predicatable firestorm erupted over these ridiculous, and harmful comments, Serena issued her version of an apology on her website. Here, too, she reveals her underlying attitudes. “For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy.” To which many would respond that rape gets a whole lot better with age.. She also says the incident was a “tragedy for both families” setting up a false equivalency between victim and perpetrators.
Finally, it is the reporter’s fault for quoting Serena and what she “supposedly said,” i.e., no real responsibility taken or lesson learned. The reporter is said to have her statements on tape. The rest are on her website.
Serena should stick to tennis. And we should stop thinking that physical talent makes someone worth listening to on important issues of our time.
This is a classic case where the media is attributing more credence to a celebrity than going to the sources that can give an informed opinion on these questions. I believe the media/reporter’s aim is to trip up celebrity and again make them the story. In this case Serena Williams became the story rather than what to do with the rapists out there. It is true that while there should be a level of personal responsibility in these matters, it is unfair to lay any blame on the girl. In fact it is a reflection on the bestiality of our society where a woman get’s drunk and some man jumps at the chance to take advantage of her. What kind of man finds pleasure in having intercourse with a woman who maybe couldn’t even respond to his aggression. Wouldn’t it have been better for him to just go somewhere and masturbate? No, there is something more sinister going on in these circumstances, it is misogyny and the disrespect for women in general which we as a society have to deal with and find ways to create a more equitable society. Women are still treated as just a thing for men to play with. How do we change that is the big question when this attitude is reinforced in all sectors of our society.