The premise is deceptively simple: A group of girlfriends reunite on a Maine camping trip for the first time in years. They come across three military men, long-ago acquaintances from school, and the groups merge for a lakeshore party. Alcohol is imbibed, and one of the girls heads off to the woods with one of the men.
This past year, rape has dominated the headlines. From front-page coverage of the Penn State trials to Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment to international outcry about gang rape in India to national focus on Steubenville, talking about rape—a long-silenced topic—is finally a mainstream conversation. We are in a unique cultural moment where the ever-present epidemic of sexual violence is being recognized.
We need to not only recognize the reality of rape, but work to end it. We need a platform to honor survivors that will forever change the way the American public responds to their experiences. We need to create a national monument to survivors of rape and abuse.
Personally, I was shocked when the Steubenville rapists were found guilty. I've gotten cynical about prosecution of rape—so few cases lead to punishment that I was excited and surprised to learn that, this time, the legal system worked.
Today we finally have something to applaud in Steubenville: A guilty verdict. Many people were holding their breath in the high-profile rape case, expecting that despite clear evidence of the two defendants' guilt, our legal system would fail the victim. We thought we'd once again be talking about how a star athlete escaped prosecution.
It's sad, but finding these rapists guilty is exceptional. According to depressing statistics, only nine percent of rapes in America result in prosecution. Though incarceration is clearly not the sole solution to rape, the fact that these two small-town stars will spend at least a year in a juvenile detention facility sends an important message that people regardless of social status can be held accountable for committing sexual violence.
• The guilty verdict is a good, major step—but as Maya Dusenberry points out, rapists are created, not born, and the culture that allows rapists to continue being created is alive and well. [Feministing]