“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.”
– Allow me to parse this quote from Serena Williams‘ about the Steubenville rape victim, which she shared in an interview with Rolling Stone. By asking if the sentencing for Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays was fair — they got one year and two years, respectively, by the way — Williams’ seems to be implying that she thinks the punishment might be harsh. After all, “they did something stupid, but…” Because raping someone is just “stupid”? Not the first adjective I would use, but okay. Williams then goes on to criticize the victim who, by all accounts, was doing what all her other fellow classmates (including the rapists) were doing that night — drinking at a high school party. Should parents have serious conversations with their children — girls and boys — about underage drinking and binge drinking? Of course. Does that mean that the victim is responsible for the despicable things those young men did to her while she was passed out? Absolutely not. And what does her virginity or lack thereof have to do with anything? But what I find most bothersome about Williams’ statement is that she starts off by calling what the rapists did “stupid,” but then says that the victim is “lucky” it wasn’t “much worse.” So which is it, Serena? Are the rapists in this case simply “stupid” or are they capable of “much worse”? Also, saying “I’m not blaming the girl” before BLAMING THE GIRL doesn’t negate the fact that you’re, in fact, blaming the girl. [Rolling Stone] [Photo: Fame/Flynet]
UPDATE: Annnnd Serena has already released a statement apologizing, sort of, for her comments. Read it after the jump:
“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.
I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child.”