Steubenville Followup from The New Yorker

I’ve been swamped this week, Vagina News friends, but wanted to share this article.

It’s long, and problematic in lots of ways, but it does a good job of a few things:

  • Explaining what rape culture is, and that yes, it exists
  • Providing several examples of ongoing protectionism and victim-blaming in Steubenville
  • Illustrating the complicated nature of misogyny and rape culture, in which there are rarely clear ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Let’s play pretend, Vagina News friends.


Let’s pretend that you posted an ad on Craigslist saying you’re a chemistry teacher looking to make some extra money as a tutor. So I tell you I’ll pay you $150 to tutor me. You arrive at night, I give you $150, and then ask you to make me some meth. You say no, but thanks for the $150, and leave. I shoot you in the neck, paralyzing and eventually killing you. Did I do anything illegal? 

Um, yes Vagina News, what kind of idiot are you? It is illegal to shoot someone for refusing to commit a crime.

Not so fast, smartypants.  Because in Texas, Lenora Frago posted an ad on Craigslist offering paid escort services. So Ezekiel Gilbert told her he’d pay her $150 for escort services. She arrived at night, he gave her $150, and then asked her for sex. She said no, but thanks for the $150, and left. He shot her in the neck, paralyzing and eventually killing her. 

This week, a jury acquitted him of all charges. 

In related news, the Anonymous hacker who brought national attention to the Steubenville rape case is facing 5 to 10 times more jailtime for hacking-related crimes than either of the convicted Steubenville rapists got for committing the rape and distributing photos of the attack on social media.

Our law enforcement and legal systems do not consider sexual assault to be a serious violent crime. It’s that simple.