Teen girls arrested for menacing Steubenville rape survivor

Charges against the girls serve as a sad reminder that victim blaming is an equal opportunity phenomenon

Published March 19, 2013 3:26PM (EDT)


Two teenage girls have been charged with using Facebook and Twitter to threaten the life of the 16-year-old victim in the Steubenville rape case.

According to a statement from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a 16-year-old girl has been charged with aggravated menacing after using Twitter to threaten the life of the victim and a 15-year-old girl is charged with one count of menacing after making a threat on Facebook.

And an already grim story gets somehow grimmer.

The two girls will appear before a juvenile court judge in Steubenville on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

Echoing earlier statements about holding the small football town accountable for its actions (and inaction) around the sexual assault of an unconscious minor, DeWine said: "Let me be clear, threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you."

Investigators have already completed 56 interviews, including other teenage partygoers, the high school principal, superintendent and 27 football coaches.

Remarking on the scope of his investigation, DeWine said: "This community needs assurance that no stone has been left unturned in our search for the truth."

The news of the charges against these girls is a sad reminder that victim blaming transcends gender, and rape culture is an equal opportunity phenomenon.

Another unfortunate lesson from Steubenville? Girls -- and women -- can be rape apologists, too.


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Rape Rape Culture Sexual Assault Steubenville Rape Case Violence Against Women