People are awful: #JusticeForJada leads to more cyberbullying and Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ football priorities

Content Note: drug incapacitation, sexual assault, victim-blaming, cyberbullying, ostracisation

On Friday the news got worse on the appalling assault and social media shaming of Texan teenager Jada (via Jezebel):

Over the last few days, the stomach-churning story of Jada — a 16-year-old girl whose rape was recorded and then shared and mocked on social media — has shown up everywhere. Now, Jada’s mother and a family spokesperson are claiming that Jada’s far from the only girl victimized by the people who allegedly drugged and raped her. And one other girl may soon be coming forward.

Suporters of the accused youths are, of course, now stepping up their cyberbullying of Jada and her friend.

The Houston News has a report where an advocate asks why police have not yet arrested anybody, given all the evidence provided on social media by those bragging about assaulting Jada. At the least they seem clearly guilty of distributing child pornography, so why haven’t they been charged with that already?

Then, in this weekend’s NYT, a report on an investigation into a sexual assault investigation at Hobart and William Smith Colleges where the victim was found by a friend apparently mid-assault with an audience recording the event on their phones, yet the college in-house investigation took just 12 days before holding a hearing that cleared the accused (all football players).

The football team went on to finish undefeated in its conference, while the woman was left, she said, to face the consequences — threats and harassment for accusing members of the most popular sports team on campus.

Rape culture? What rape culture?


Similar Posts (automatically generated):

27 comments for “People are awful: #JusticeForJada leads to more cyberbullying and Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ football priorities

  1. tinfoil hattie
    July 14, 2014 at 1:51 am

    It’s Hobart and William Smith, not Hobart and “William Mary,” as your headline says.

    • July 14, 2014 at 2:00 am

      You are of course totally correct! I caught myself making that error once in the post, but missed that I’d done it in the heading as well. The trials and tribulations of a history nerd on autopilot.

      • tinfoil hattie
        July 14, 2014 at 8:50 am

        There could, of course, be an entire post on William and Mary, which also has shitty, fucked-up, victim-blamey responses to rape. Do. i sound bitter? Yeah, it’s ’cause I am.

        Thanks for the post. I guess exposing this crap is helpful in the long run, though the fact that THIS is still the standard response to rape is just infuriating.

      • PrettyAmiable
        July 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm

        There could, of course, be an entire post on William and Mary, which also has shitty, fucked-up, victim-blamey responses to rape. Do. i sound bitter? Yeah, it’s ’cause I am.

        I’m the same way about Wash U’s b-school. I’m starting to think it would be bigger news to write about a school that wasn’t utterly reprehensible about its students committing violent crimes.

      • July 14, 2014 at 4:46 pm

        I didn’t even know there was a college actually called William and Mary, I was simply thinking about the Stuart monarchical succession the other day so it just popped out. I’m sorry they were shitty, fucked-up and victim-blamey to you, tinfoil hattie.

      • tinfoil hattie
        July 14, 2014 at 10:53 pm

        Oh, thanks, tigtog – but they weren’t that way to me. They’re simply on the list of 55 U.S. schools under investigation for shitty responses to/policies about sexual assault.

  2. Asia
    July 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I’m honestly starting to think that colleges shouldn’t offer student housing. It seems to create a insular environment where victims can’t receive support.

    • EG
      July 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Student housing isn’t the problem. Rape culture is the problem, and it exists independently of student housing.

      • a lawyer
        July 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

        Colleges are the problem.

        And it is no surprise because of the conflicting incentives. The incentive to maintain a good public face (and get more donations, applications, funding, prestige, etc.) is competing with the incentive to take care of students and keep them happy…. and the reality that when something bad happens, there’s going to be at least one person who isn’t happy. The college being the bigger weight on the scale means that the college will usually put its own preferences first.

        Then there’s the fact that even without that issue, colleges have never really been all that good at taking care of students. We have a hard enough time getting people to do a good job of care-taking in high school and it’s a hell of a lot trickier when your charges are adults, with adult desires/actions/needs/access/things.

        So I’m skeptical that this push for better college behavior is going to really pay off in the long run. It’s like “hey, college leaders, you’ve been doing a shitty job generally, across a variety of fronts from minor to major, but now we’re going to trust you to do a great job with the very major and very complex issue of sexual assault, even when it goes strongly against your own incentives to do so.” Fox, meet hen house.

        What I think would be better would be a mandatory link between the college system and the criminal system, so that when someone is raped they can have an investigating officer and nurse at the college in a short period, and start arresting students as needed. The colleges won’t like that either but at least they don’t need to use any discretion so the rules could be pretty clear cut, i.e. more like “title 9 requires that you contact the police within 60 minutes of any sexual assault report and that you provide the student with immediate free transportation to and from the police station, hospital, sexual assault center, etc.” as opposed to “title 9 requires you to investigate sexual assault.”

      • PrettyAmiable
        July 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        What I think would be better would be a mandatory link between the college system and the criminal system, so that when someone is raped they can have an investigating officer and nurse at the college in a short period, and start arresting students as needed.

        Mandatory takes away a victim’s rights.

      • AMM
        July 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        The incentive to maintain a good public face (and get more donations, applications, funding, prestige, etc.)

        Alumni donations, especially. Nowadays in the USA, colleges are mostly about money, and keeping the big givers (mostly rich male alumni) happy is a priority. This means (a) having winning teams in the major (male) sports and (b) giving the alumni the illusion that their college is the same fun place they remember it being. Effective measures against rape threaten both.

      • a lawyer
        July 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm

        Mandatory takes away a victim’s rights.

        I don’t mean “mandatory” to apply to the victim. The victim can do whatever she wants, or not.

        I mean “mandatory” as in “the college is obliged to make it as easy as possible for people to get things into the criminal system if they want to do so.”

      • Asia
        July 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

        “Then there’s the fact that even without that issue, colleges have never really been all that good at taking care of students. We have a hard enough time getting people to do a good job of care-taking in high school and it’s a hell of a lot trickier when your charges are adults, with adult desires/actions/needs/access/things.”

        Yea this is my point. The colleges have proven that the current system isn’t working. I’m not even talking about preventing assaults. They can’t seem to give basic support to victims. I really think we would be better off if college students were more integrated into the wider community. The community rape hotlines and women’s shelters would do a better job.

      • PrettyAmiable
        July 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm

        Thanks for explaining – looks like I misunderstood.

        I hate saying this, but sometimes rape reporting is stuff that should be covered in high school sex ed. Too many victims don’t know they’re getting screwed by their colleges until it’s too late.

      • a lawyer
        July 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

        Even rape reporting is more than a bit tricky. Because as a practical matter, there is a conflict between short term/individual goals, and long term/societal goals.

        From a victim support perspective, the basic (and appropriate!!) response is to do what the victim wants. That includes “don’t report,” “don’t get a rape kit,” “don’t press charges,” “don’t go to trial,” etc.

        But from a broader societal perspective, we would actually benefit immensely if all victims immediately reported, tested, pressed charges, and went to trial. Not only would this benefit society in general (and reduce overall rapes) but it would also have a tendency to decrease the negative aspects which were experienced by individual victims that went through the process.

        And that leads to the conflict. You can’t simultaneously take the best steps to deter rapists; reduce rape; make things easier for all future victims; and properly help the victims who are in need right now. Of course there’s a balance which can be struck but it is far from simple to do.

        (And of course this is not limited to rape. See, e.g., “feed people” versus “study farming;” “provide medicines” versus “research cures,” etc.)

      • a lawyer
        July 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

        Try as I might this sometimes comes out wrong, so to clarify: In NO WAY AT ALL am I trying to suggest that victims should have any obligations whatsoever to anyone else. I’m just discussing the reality that there are complexities.

      • Asia
        July 15, 2014 at 4:48 pm

        Rape culture is the problem. And I think its fair to focus on solutions that can address specific parts of rape culture.

        Rape culture has caused college communities to repeatedly fail to provide basic levels of support to rape victims. Therefore, we should consider fundamental changes to the way people live within college communities.

      • EG
        July 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        Because larger society is doing so much better?

      • Asia
        July 16, 2014 at 11:39 pm

        “Because larger society is doing so much better?:”

        Yea. I’m saying that it is. The college not only didn’t provide support but she was harassed. A wider society at least provides the opportunity for a victim to build a social support network that doesn’t care about football.

        Steubenville did pretty much the same thing and it’s worth noting that the younger girl that lived outside of the community had a much more positive healing environment.

      • EG
        July 17, 2014 at 12:56 am

        Yes, and here we are at my point, because Steubenville? Isn’t a college. The Catholic Church? Isn’t a college. The US military? Also not a college.

        The wider world does no better a job than colleges or universities. And there are plenty of colleges/universities, public and private, that couldn’t give two shits about football.

      • Asia
        July 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm

        “here we are at my point, because Steubenville? Isn’t a college. The Catholic Church? Isn’t a college. The US military? Also not a college.”

        What do all of these things have in common? Small insular communities where the perpetrator has more social capital than the victim.

        The catholic church and the military are fundamentally insular. They rely on a strict hierarchy where a small exclusive group of people command much larger groups of people over the course of lifetime. Steubenville included families that had lived together for generations. They saw their sons as victims.

        Colleges don’t have to be as insular. It only lasts 4-8 years. There is far less focus on blind obedience to authority. I’m not attacking colleges. I think a more open community is healthier.

      • EG
        July 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        I think you’re massively optimistic about the kinds of larger communities colleges usually find themselves in. Unless they’re major metropolitan centers, in which case the student population is already less isolated and often not living in student housing, they’re not any less insular than any other random small- to mid-sized town. And the idea that such a community would be interested in taking care of interlopers who are there only for 9-month stretches for 4 years or so is naive. The first time a long-time resident rapes a student, who do you think will get the support?

      • EG
        July 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm

        Basically, the world, including big cities, is made up of small, insular communities. All you’re doing is suggesting exchanging one for another.

      • Asia
        July 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

        Optimistic and naive huh? I’m not saying that a situation where a resident rapes a student wouldn’t end badly. Nothing is perfect but it can’t it much worse can it.

        The world is made up of many small insular communities. And people can become part of multiple communities. I said a wider social network could help everyone involved gain perspective. I’m not exchanging one for the other, students would still live together just not in dorms. On a basic level if the college can’t create a safe living environment. We stop pretending it can. I think people would be better off attempting to create their own safe environment. And of course, not everyone is going to be able to do it.

  3. Drahill
    July 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    The story about Jada breaks my heart on a fundamental level. It’s bad enough to be victimized. When I was involved in a DV situation, I realized that, for me, the worst part of the whole thing was not the actual assault (which took seconds). It was seeing friends, people who I believed might support me, laugh about it or minimize it. That made it feel like a seconds-long incident turned into a long-term attack.

    Its unnerving to see people who clearly, pretty obviously, take such a profound sense of – what I call – GLEE in this crime. People who very likely don’t know Jada in any sense basically enjoying her victimization. I also read the article that noted that her attack is now being memoralized in a rap song by a rapper in Texas. I know that generally, survivors have to get used to people either minimizing or ignoring the crimes against them, but to see the crime done against you basically celebrated must be something else entirely.

  4. C. Auguste Dupin
    July 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    This is unbelievable. They have pictures for crying out loud. The jury would be out 10 minutes, and most of that time for coffee. Is there no one to go to in order to force the police and prosecutors to do their job?

  5. Yup
    July 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Does anyone know what kind of penalties the people who record these assaults on their phones face? I understand that distributing the video can result in charges, (only if the victim is underage?), but shouldn’t they face some kind of bystander charges, at least? I sort of feel like this is a new type of crime that needs a new law specific to it.

Comments are closed.