ABC News aired new video of teen partygoers in Steubenville, Ohio, being questioned by police regarding the sexual assault of “Jane Doe,” the then 15-year-old girl whose story has entranced the nation. On the night of her assault, Jane Doe was raped and carried unconscious to multiple parties all while pictures were taken; last week, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays received one year and two years, respectively, in juvenile detention facilities for participating in her abuse. ABC’s video shows teens (their faces not obscured, for some reason) describing how Jane Doe got increasingly drunk throughout the evening — meaning she was less and less able to consent to any sexual behavior. “She was a mess,” says one boy interviewed by cops. “She wasn’t responding. She was passed out.”
Everyone wants to know why all these kids remained bystanders — enablers, even — while Jane Doe was left at the hands of Richmond, Mays, and whoever else has managed to not get caught. I think these kids, immature as they may be, were likely acting the way a lot of grownups would, too. It’s easy to talk with bravado about how you’d do the right thing; that doesn’t translate into actually doing the right thing. People like to think that if they saw someone being hurt, they’d rush in like a white knight — there’s even a clip featuring Ma’lik Richmond himself describing how he would jump in and stop someone if they were trying to rape.
Riiight. As kid after kid after kid at the Steubenville party proved, that fantasy says more about who we’d like to think we are than who we actually are.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.