In a wide-ranging interview for ‘Rolling Stone,’ legendary tennis player Serena Williams joins a growing list of famous apologists by speculating on the morals of the 16-year-old rape Steubenville rape victim, the effectiveness of the teen’s parents and questioning whether the punishment the two rapists received is “fair,” reports Deadspin.com.
Read quote below:
We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV—two high school football players raped a 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. “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.”
So non-virgins place themselves in positions to be raped?
As previously reported by NewsOne, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, were sentenced to at least a year in juvenile jail after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video, suggested that they sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl who was extremely intoxicated.
Testimony from other party-goers confirmed that the duo did, in fact, digitally penetrate the girl.
“They kept telling me I was a hassle and they took care of me,” she testified. “I thought I could trust him (Mays) until I saw the pictures and video.”
The case became a lightning rod in the dialogue surrounding rape culture, and led to calls for a shift in focus from victim-blaming to educating potential attackers not to rape.
While there are many people who share Williams’ belief that parents must educate their children on the dangers of alcohol, questioning the girl’s sexual status — which has absolutely nothing to do with rape — and wondering if the boys’ punishment was “fair,” is probably not going to gain her any fans.
UPDATE 06/19/13–11:52 A.M. EST: Serena Williams has posted a response to criticism of her comments on her website:
“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.”