WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - An alleged rape of an unconscious girl by two football stars in a small Ohio town is one of the most talked about, and tweeted, stories this week.
Many say the victim has been dragged through the mud, and the two Steubenville High football stars and alleged rapists, have been put on pedestals. But what really happened that night?
Bottom line, it's for a court of law to decide whether this teenage girl was raped, and if so, if the two defendants did it or not. But people all over this country, and right here in the D.C. area, are asking , 'what if this were your daughter?' And what if video emerged showing fellow football players heartlessly making fun of what they are calling her rape.
In the video, taped at the now-infamous allegedly alcohol-fueled, end-of summer bash, the teenage boys are overheard saying, "That's rape. They raped her harder than that cop raped Marcellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction." It's meant to be a joke, but it shows callous behavior, and no one offering to help the 16-year-old girl, who was apparently passed out.
The disregard of the seemingly unconscious girl continued with a snapshot of two teenage boys holding the girl. One has her by her hands, the other, by her feet. Lawyers confirm the teens holding her are football stars and alleged rapists Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, both 16-years-old.
Apparently, the girl was so out of it, she didn't know she was allegedly raped and humiliated. Tweets, texts and compromising pictures told the story instead. One tweet reads, "Song of the night is definitely Rape Me by Nirvana." Another read, "Some people deserve to be peed on." Many tweets blamed the victim and called her a whore. A family member of the victim saw evidence of this misconduct online, and, days later, the family went to police. Police arrested the two star players 11 days after the alleged incident.
Jeffrey Dion helps victims. It's his reason for being. He's the Deputy Executive Director of The National Center for Victims of Crime located in D.C.
He says so much of this case disgusts him, He said, "Here we have people not only looking away, but videotaping it and taking pictures and sharing it through social media. We as a country have to understand that consent means yes, I want this, and anything short of that means that this type of contact is non-consensual and that's rape."
The case comes to trial in February. Lawyers for the two players say they didn't rape the victim. Dion says it bears resemblance to another famous sex abuse case, the Penn State sex abuse scandal."People saw a sexual assault taking place and did not act and did not intervene, and I think the general response from the public at large was that they were outraged, that people cannot stand by and watch someone being assaulted."
There's so many nuances to this case, including how football rules this small town, an alleged previous relationship between the victim and one of the players, the interjection of bloggers and the activist group Anonymous, and the role social media played in bringing this to light, as well as the darkness of the blame game.
Dion said, "Nobody asks to be sexually assaulted. I think that we are still seeing those archaic attitudes is really what's really the most disappointing thing."