Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Serena Williams Thinks Steubenville Rape Victim ‘Shouldn’t Have Put Herself in That Position’ [Update]

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 18: Serena Williams arrives at Burberry Menswear Spring/Summer 2014 at Kensington Gardens on June 18, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry) Serena Williams.

If Rolling Stone's profile of Serena Williams had ended a few paragraphs earlier, there might have been some buzz among tennis fans about her criticizing a competitor who may or may not be Maria Sharapova, and writer Stephen Rodrick comparing her to Kim Jong-un. However, when Roderick accompanied Williams to a nail salon, a report about the rape of a 16-year-old girl from Steubenville, Ohio by two football players happened to appear a TV screen, and Williams decided to share her breathtakingly insensitive take on the case. "Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don't know," Williams remarked. "I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people. She's 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn't remember?"

Williams added, "It could have been much worse. She's lucky. Obviously, I don't know, maybe she wasn't a virgin, but she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."

Her remarks were widely condemned on social media, with journalist Jamil Smith providing the best takeaway:

While Rodrick emphasizes in the beginning of the article that, "Serena's dominance has been fueled by not giving a shit what you or anyone else thinks about her methods," we'd be surprised if a statement clarifying her remarks doesn't appear soon.

Update, 10:45 a.m.: As predicted, Williams released a statement on her website this morning clarifying her opinion about the Steubenville victim. Williams also implies that she never said things she was reported to have said:

“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.

I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child.”

View the original article here


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