With the horrific response to Zerlina Maxwell’s (who is amazing) recent appearance on FOX News and CNN’s appalling hand-wringing over the fate of the Steubenville rapists (call on them to apologize here), I’ve had just about my fill of the mainstream take on rape. But rising above the burnout-inducing articles rehashing every aspect of this case and the nastiness that continues to be directed at Zerlina from the darkest corners of the Internet, there came this incredible post from Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous:
What happened to this girl is horrible. Her life has been affected in serious ways by the unbelievably terrible actions of these boys. And CNN should not be talking as if her pain, her experience, and her life do not exist. It is unconscionable for them to do so and they need to be held to account for it. Elevating the experience of these boys above the experience of their victim is not okay.
But, you know what is okay? Also feeling sorry for these boys. [Emphasis mine]
Not in the way that CNN did it. Not at the expense of the girl who was raped by these boys. But including these boys in our feelings of sadness isokay.
I, unlike many people reacting to today’s verdict, am not just thrilled to death that two 16-year-old boys are going to jail. What they did was terrible. There is no excuse. They have to be two seriously fucked-up kids to have done what they did. But what I know for damn sure is that jail does not fix broken people. It only breaks them harder.