The hacker group known as Anonymous has stepped in to demand a public apology for a 16 year-old gang rape victim in Ohio.
According to prosecutors, members of a high school football team in a small Ohio town repeatedly raped the girl while she was passed out drunk. They even posed for photos, according to the New York Times.
“Twitter posts, videos and photographs circulated by some who attended the nightlong set of parties suggested that an unconscious girl had been sexually assaulted over several hours while others watched. She even might have been urinated on,” they reported.
“In one photograph posted on Instagram by a Steubenville High football player, the girl, who was from across the Ohio River in Weirton, W.Va., is shown looking unresponsive as two boys carry her by her wrists and ankles. Twitter users wrote the words ‘rape’ and ‘drunk girl’ in their posts.”
Unfortunately, in an all-too-familiar story, the community is reportedly rallying around the team, not the girl.
“Some residents” the Times says, “and others on social media blamed the girl, saying she put the football team in a bad light and put herself in a position to be violated.”
But earlier this week, the girl found an ally in “KnightSec,” an arm of Anonymous, who took over the Steubenville High School Big Red football team website and replaced it with a demand for an apology. If the offenders don’t step forward, the warning said, according to Salon, KnightSec would release private information about team members, like their social security numbers. As what they called a “warning,” they started by releasing the names and phone numbers of the boys.
It’s risky for an outside party to get involved, in a case like this before the trial is concluded, before the football players have been found guilty or innocent. If this were a he-said, she-said, case, Anonymous could find itself on the wrong side, ruining innocent kids’ lives for nothing.
But, something, or someone, needs to break the cycle of stories like this, which we’ve heard all too many times, of idolized young athletes thinking they can get away with anything. And in this case, there are photos. The evidence is against them.
If Anonymous can make examples of perpetrators in such a high-profile case, can show the world that just because your small town thinks you’re a big shot doesn’t mean you can rape high school girls, maybe the next team at the next drunken party would think twice.