I read a phrase this week I had never heard in my life —“digital rape.” It came from news accounts of the two high school football players who were convicted yesterday of raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio. The case has attracted international attention due to students texting photos of the naked girl and sharing her assault through social media channels.
I first thought digital rape meant that a cell phone had been used forcibly in the girl’s genitalia. But I was mistaken. Prosecutors charged the football players — Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16 — of penetrating her with their fingers. According to Ohio law, the definition of rape includes digital penetration.
The boys have been sentenced to at least one year in juvenile jail and could be held until they are 21 years old.
Teenage witnesses at the party perpetuated the sexual assault with texts, tweets and video to spread the victim’s shame and demise. Sadly, in my opinion, she was raped not only by the boys, but was “digitally” raped by her peers as well.