Former Steubenville NAACP President Royal Mayo - an admitted friend of the family of one of the two Steubenville convicted rapists - came out against the 'Jane Doe' victim this week by placing the blame on her rather than the two young men who sexually assaulted her. According to an interview Mayo participated in with International Business Times:
“They’re alleging she got raped; she’s acknowledging that she wanted to leave with Trent,” Mayo said. “Her friends say she pushed them away as she went and got into the car, twice telling them, ‘I know what I’m doing; I’m going with Trent.’” [SNIP]
“You hear local people saying, ‘We got this out of the way, let us just heal, let the community start to heal.’ It’s like these two were sacrificed, the poor black kid and the white kid who is from the next county, in the next town over, who were sacrificed over all the other dirt and corruption that would be uncovered if you come into Steubenville.”
Parties associated with Mayo have already made an effort to disassociate themselves after his raucous and rape culture endorsing comments. The NAACP had this to say:
“The NAACP abhors the remarks attributed to Royal Mayo regarding the rape victim in the Steubenville. The remarks are Mayo’s own, and do not reflect the position of the NAACP and its membership. Rape is a despicable crime of violence. The NAACP understands that comments that blame victims for the actions of their attackers contribute to and perpetuate a culture of acquiescence to rape. The NAACP advocates strongly for a society where victims of rape and sexual assault can come forward and seek legal redress without further retribution from the community, media or society at large.”
That's not to say that everyone is in disagreement with Mayo. In the wake of the conviction of the two young men who raped Jane Doe, hordes of victim-blaming cretins like Mayo have bullied, threatened, and harassed the victim (just as Mayo did in his interview). They've made death threats, rape threats, and more.
The most telling part of all of this - more than the rapist sympathizing, more than the victim-questioning - is the refusal to believe the act was actually committed even after photographic and video evidence of the rape was provided. Even after the two young men were convicted, people like Mayo are still using the word "allegedly" to describe the rape. It's repugnant and despicable.
Furthermore, Mayo should be ashamed of himself for furthering the pervasive rape culture by suggesting Jane Doe "asked for it" by getting into a car with someone she knew. When did accepting a ride from a classmate become permission to have sex? (Hint: it didn't.) Much like the arguments that "she wouldn't have been raped had she stayed away from the party," Mayo shifted blame from the two young men that actually committed the sexual assault and placed it on the victim.
As investigations into the other guilty parties continues in Steubenville, the victim-blaming culture we live in will continue to blame women for the violence committed against them (while lamenting the promising careers of two rising football stars). The victims in this aren't two young men who were coerced into physically assaulting an incapacitated young woman. The victims in this aren't the grieving families or cable networks that spend more time questioning how a guilty verdict will affect the men who raped a young woman. The victim is the Jane Doe who was sexually assaulted - and who continues to be assaulted by the press, her hometown, and misogynists across the internet.