“You are a felon.” Those were the words texted by one high school kid to another after the boy bragged via text about raping an unconscious 16 year old girl in Steubenville, Ohio. The phrase was echoed again on Sunday when the verdict was handed down – guilty. “You are a felon.” It is a powerful phrase, an accurate phrase and we are undeniably caught in its crosshairs.
The case came to light through social media – images of a passed out girl being dragged from one party to the next to be violated. Real time text messages gave a moment-to-moment account of the atrocity witnessed by countless teens. One of the rapists sent a text describing his victim as “a dead body.” Yet the girl’s level of intoxication ended up at the center of the trial – the determining factor in whether this was rape or not. “How drunk was she?” And somehow, even asking that question sounds stomach-turningly similar to “what was she wearing?” The text says it all, “a dead body.”
When I read that phrase, “a dead body,” images instantly flashed through my mind – snippets of scenes I’ve seen on screen a million times. Rape scenes, sex scenes, violence passed off as sex – a limp body beneath a thrusting male. It was all too familiar.
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Aimée Lagos is an award winning writer and director, a storyteller, an activist and an entrepreneur dedicated to a life of adventure and raising her daughter with her soulmate.