It is hard to imagine the power of 26 seconds.
I can walk to the end of my deck in 26 seconds and think nothing of it. They are seconds that have no overwhelming effect on my life, but as I watched the 26-second video “A Needed Response,” I was overcome with emotion.
In that very short amount of time, a very powerful message was delivered. I was filled with emotion and literally brought to tears watching the video.
Created by a female film student enraged by media response to the Steubenville gang rape trial, Samantha Stendal's video is a gift to a world horrified by the coverage of the two football players convicted of raping a drunk, passed-out 16-year-old girl.
The message was powerful, but what saddened me deeply was the realization that this message is even needed in this day and age.
It is frightening to think that young men have to be reminded that they should treat women with respect. Then there is the tragedy of this entire story: the culture that created it.
The Steubenville gang rape could have been avoided if the boys had the sensibility to not commit such a hateful, abusive act toward this young female, known forever as Jane Doe.
Not to mention the special set of rules for student athletes -- and without the generational coddling and failure to hold them accountable for bad behavior, would we even know about Steubenville?
Every athlete, every man, every son needs to see "A Needed Response."
In Steubenville, it is no longer a secret that athletes are treated differently.
Gino Atkins told Dr. Phil that football players are held out as celebrities in his little town of 18,000. Brian Mays, father of Trent Mays, told Elizabeth Vargas that his son always wanted to play for Big Red even when he was a young child, and he bragged about the Big Red Nation.
Sadly, not only football culture but rape culture thrives -- and is being proven every day by some of the comments of its residents, on my blog and so many others, along with hateful, threatening and abusive messages to me, to Jane Doe, to anyone daring to speak out against this case.
We need this "Needed Response."
The problem in Steubenville is much bigger than “not knowing what rape is."
Children emulate the adults in their lives, and the message that some in Steubenville are sending to their kids is protect football culture -- in this case, Big Red -- at all costs. This behavior by the adults has spawned teens who thought it was OK to make death threats to Jane Doe after the verdict was announced. Because it is easier to make accusations than to admit there is a problem, and sadly there are adults who are still unwilling to accept the reality that a rape happened in their town or that the culture may have played a substantial role in creating this violent environment for women.
Rather than utilize the precious seconds in their lives to create change and to begin educating their children and themselves about rape culture, they are holding steadfast to the belief that outsiders have destroyed their town and are now trying to ruin their beloved coach, Reno Saccoccia, by demanding his termination.
Do you know what happened after 500 letter-invitations were sent to the community for a parent-educator meeting discussing sexual violence and presented by the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center? Only 18 people showed up. That number speaks for itself in terms of denial.
Let's fight back with numbers. Right now, after a week online, almost 2 million people have seen "A Needed Response." Let's make it 2 billion.
And for the 18 people who did show up in Steubenville, please know that each and every one of your voices matter and are making a difference. It breaks my heart to see the reaction to the trial in Steubenville.
You would think that if your town was involved in such a scandal, the residents would spring into action to do whatever was necessary to ensure that this never happens again.
Unfortunately, that’s not happening in Steubenville. Rather than using their voices to demand change and to educate their children about sexual violence, they have taken to the Internet to malign anyone who speaks out against the inaction of their coach. Residents have planned a rally to support Coach Reno, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 30th at 4:00PM at Harding Field House.
You mean a rally to support the man who is implicated as having knowledge of the night in question in text messages sent by Trent Mays on August 13, 2012?
They are having a rally for the man who is bound by the State of Ohio to mandatorily report even the suspicion of child abuse.
Comments in a petition supporting him online are very telling of the mindset of this terrifying athletic entitlement culture and denial. There is nothing mentioned about his legal responsibilities to mandatorily report. There are no comments about how Coach Sac taught his “boys” to respect women and that it’s not OK to rape, but there is a lot of woeful commentary about unfair treatment and “ROLL RED ROLL, NOW AND FOREVER!!!!!”
This case has proven that football culture exists at a high-school level in Steubenville. It has also brought light to the fact that rape culture exists all over the world. That’s why people are angry. We’ve had enough.
That’s all it took to command the attention of over 1.7 million viewers.
It is a needed response. Now let's share it with the world. And start with Steubenville.