No.-183-Jan-7-2013-Steubenville-StunnerLast month, the media was all up in arms about the Steubenville Rape case. It was circulated on nearly every news channel/site and discussed heavily on social media networks. As word of the case spread (which the town first tried to cover up), it served as a horrific dose of reality when examining rape culture and the treatment of women. On one hand, the media coverage was great because it couldn’t be ignored, like the unfortunate majority of rape cases are. It was in everyone’s face and shed light on a huge epidemic in our society – one that MUST be corrected. However, this case also received confusing and disappointing coverage and reactions. Victim-blaming and misogyny was rampant. People felt worse for the lives of the football players than the girl who had been raped. And the crazy thing is, that very few people are talking about how strong that young woman is, what a hero she is, and how she turned her tragedy into something more. I was lucky to find an article on Take Part about the rape survivor’s amazing effort to use her unwanted fame to educate the world and help protect women from domestic violence and rape. Throughout March, West Virginia women’s shelter and YWCA Family Violence Prevention Program of Wheeling Director Patricia Flanigan received letters from all over the world – donations on a scale never seen before in the YWCA of Wheeling’s 107-year history. And this is because of the heroic Steubenville rape survivor. The unnamed minor and her family stated through their lawyer, Bob Fitzimmons, that all donations to her legal fund should be sent to Madden House, a YWCA women’s shelter in West Virginia. Madden House provides housing to women affected by domestic violence, as well as their children. It is staffed around the clock, including a child advocate on hand to assist families. Flanigan calls the outpouring response “very touching,” but adds, “It’s very sad that it takes a tragedy to create this type of awareness.” I think what this girl has done with such an awful event is amazing. But why isn’t everyone reporting on this? Why aren’t people celebrating her strength and standing behind her as much as they are mourning the “ruined” lived of rapists? By directing her unwanted fame toward fixing a problem and promoting a good cause, this woman is absolutely raising awareness and improving the lives of other women (and men) who have suffered rape and domestic violence. She should be commended for it.