ONTD Political

Anonymous Wants to Teach Rape Prevention in Schools

3:06 pm - 05/29/2013
In late December, Anonymous hacked the Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team's fan website in retaliation for its players' involvement in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. The hackers threatened to post students' and teachers' Social Security numbers unless the girl received an apology; someone else sent the school a bomb threat. The hactivist group's antagonistic relationship with Steubenville High quickly made headlines, but what has gone unreported until now was how Anonymous quietly reached out to the school at the same time, hoping to visit classes and teach students how to identify and prevent rapes.

In early January, the Anonymous spokesman in Steubenville, @Master_of_Ceremonies (MC for short), convinced a female Anonymous member to pitch school officials on the idea of a rape awareness class. "He believed that there needed to be someone to get into the schools to bring a new approach to the system on assault, bullying, rape, and when not to be afraid to speak up and do something when someone is in trouble,"
she wrote me via MC. The Anons also wanted to "give the kids a different viewpoint of what [the group's Steubenville operation] was all about, other than what the teachers were telling them," she wrote.

Her call wasn't well received. "Our teachers are qualified and more than capable of teaching our students about rape, not people in masks, who go around terrorizing people," the Anon recalls a school official saying before hanging up. (Administrators with Steubenville High could not be reached for comment.)

Since then, Anonymous' success in making the Steubenville rape a national story has prompted dozens of pleas for help from other alleged rape victims. MC and his friends can't possibly fact-check all of their stories, and they're reluctant to blindly become "somebody's personal army," as he puts it. Moreover, he isn't sure that investigating and publicizing another sexual crime is even the best way to cut down on rapes. The problem, as he now sees it, is a lack of education. One of the convicted Steubenville rapists had claimed in his defense that he didn't know rape could include fingering a girl's genitals. "If you don't know that," MC says, "that means you don't get taught that."

Ohio requires all high schools to offer a course in teen dating violence prevention, but it provides no funding for the job.
Some schools still don't offer the training, says Katie Hanna, the executive director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. The availability of similar courses in other states varies widely; some don't want teachers to talk about anything sex-related, besides abstinence.

MC doesn't have a background in education or sexual violence prevention, but his work with Anonymous has given him a pretty good idea of what he'd like to talk about. He'd like to say that if saw two guys lugging off a drunk girl by her hands and feet with the intent to rape her—as happened in Steubenville—he'd knock those guys out cold and drag them outside. Or that if you shoot a video of somebody joking about a rape, you should hand over that video to the cops as evidence, or else you're as much of a bastard as the rapists. Or that Anonymous is everywhere, so rapists had better be careful: "As long as they think somebody is always watching," he told me, "that might deter some things."

MC is under no illusion that schools will welcome Anonymous into their classrooms. "A lot of Anons are pro-legalizing marijuana," he points out. And then there's perhaps the bigger problem of the ones who are in prison for hacking corporate websites.

Yet I spoke with the leaders of several groups that work to raise awareness about sexual violence, and they didn't dismiss the idea of partnering with Anonymous. "We would be open to talking to them, certainly, yeah," said Hanna of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

Anonymous deserves a lot of credit for putting high school rape on the national radar, says Tracy Cox, spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Although she would be worried that victims of sexual assault might be frightened by hearing about rape from men in Guy Fawkes masks, she figures a bit of explanation about "what the mask symbolizes" could allay their fears. The question of a partnership is more about "how we get there," she adds. "I think it's great that people want to get involved. That's what we want."

It's also unclear how many Anons would be interested in taking on that type of role. Standing in front of a blackboard isn't exactly the stuff of hackers, but then, neither is a lot of what Anonymous has been doing of late.
"There's a lot of things that are totally messed up with the culture," MC says, especially when it comes to "sports and stuff." But, he adds, "if you can get to the kids in grade school, middle school, and even high school, that could change a lot of things right there."

souce: Mother Jones
hey mods, Anonymous is probably here to stay, so could we get a tag for them?
evilgmbethy 29th-May-2013 07:14 pm (UTC)
there should definitely be an Anonymous tag

Her call wasn't well received. "Our teachers are qualified and more than capable of teaching our students about rape, not people in masks, who go around terrorizing people," the Anon recalls a school official saying before hanging up.

lord.

Or that Anonymous is everywhere, so rapists had better be careful: "As long as they think somebody is always watching," he told me, "that might deter some things."

it's interesting that something like Anonymous would spring up in an age where everything at a given time can be recorded. I do think a lot of teenagers don't think about long term repercussions of things like videos being posted on the internet, but they need to think about it and think about what they do.
sio 29th-May-2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Her call wasn't well received. "Our teachers are qualified and more than capable of teaching our students about rape, not people in masks, who go around terrorizing people," the Anon recalls a school official saying before hanging up.

obviously you DON'T or you wouldn't be known throughout the world as the school/town who supports football-"star" RAPISTS, you stupid idiot.

Edited at 2013-05-29 07:40 pm (UTC)
tabaqui 29th-May-2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
Good on Anonymous, and fuck the school for being a willing partner in covering up rape and promoting rape culture.
milleniumrex 29th-May-2013 08:25 pm (UTC)
While the message is appreciated, Anonymous should probably stop stanning for an accused rapist before they're taken seriously on this issue.
maynardsong 30th-May-2013 12:26 am (UTC)
Who...?
maynardsong 30th-May-2013 01:15 am (UTC)
Ugh. Fuck Assange and fuck self-proclaimed progressives who defend him.
homasse 30th-May-2013 04:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, the Assange thing is what keeps me from being able to root fully for Anonymous.
bonesnapdeez 30th-May-2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
To be fair, isn't Anonymous membership "open" to anyone? We have no idea if these folks are the same ones that support Assange.
roseofjuly 31st-May-2013 06:03 am (UTC)
They're a collective, and their members remain deliberately anonymous, so they have to take responsibility for the public image they present.
crossfire 29th-May-2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
howaboutnobear.gif
zinnia_rose 29th-May-2013 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm all for rape education, but I also find it extremely unlikely that most rapists ~didn't know they were raping someone.
kittenmommy 29th-May-2013 10:12 pm (UTC)

One of the convicted Steubenville rapists had claimed in his defense that he didn't know rape could include fingering a girl's genitals.

I can sort of understand that. For lots of people, rape = penis in vagina, and anything short of that isn't rape.

PS. But pretty much anyone should realize that touching another person's genitals without permission is not OK and is sexual assault at the very least.

Edited at 2013-05-29 10:13 pm (UTC)
coraki TW: Sexual assault30th-May-2013 12:47 am (UTC)
For lots of people, rape = penis in vagina, and anything short of that isn't rape.

I was reading an article by a woman about sexual assault. A guy in the comments brought up Steubenville and how it wasn't rape, blah blah. Even though someone stated that according to Ohio law it is. He still kept on.

I was almost going to bring up what happened at my high school, with the young players getting hazed (violently sexually assaulted) by senior players. Bet the guy in the comments would agree that would qualify as rape.
maynardsong Re: TW: Sexual assault30th-May-2013 01:16 am (UTC)
I'm not sure about that, actually. Guys that are horrible about women aren't usually terribly good to other guys either.
kittenmommy 30th-May-2013 01:54 am (UTC)

Oh, no doubt!
nextdrinksonme TW Victim Blaming30th-May-2013 01:40 am (UTC)
There are a ridiculous amount of people who don't think that it's rape unless it's PIV (or PIA, I suppose, but you never hear about that, really) and only then if it's physically forced and the victim is attacked in a violent manner. And only if it's by a stranger. And then if she only physically resisted/fought back and yelled protests at the top of her voice. You'd really be surprised (and horrified).
kittenmommy 30th-May-2013 02:00 am (UTC)

Yes, that's sort of what I was getting at, but you said it better than I did.
surealistic_des 30th-May-2013 04:28 am (UTC)
Didn't one argue, that it wasn't violent, therefore it wasn't rape? Even if it wasn't violent, the fact people were doing things to the girl should have rung alarm bells. Apparently not. :/ I think people are confused to what constitutes rape and sexual assault.

To be honest, but I've got mixed feelings about this.
frelling_tralk 30th-May-2013 10:34 am (UTC)
I think a lot of the time it's a knee jerk response for teenage boys especially to say they didn't think it was rape once they actually get caught. With this case they were bragging and openly calling it rape at the time, it was only afterwards people claimed they didn't think of it as rape if it wasn't violent. In this day and age how could they NOT know it was rape if the person was so drunk they were close to unconscious
korppi_ravn 29th-May-2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
lol irl anonymous
ebay313 29th-May-2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings on this :-\
The idea for teaching rape is great, but I don't think Anonymous should be the ones doing it unless those specific individuals have training and education that would qualify them for such. That really isn't the kind of thing you should just have any random person who raises their hand and says they'll do it, do.

Also a bit uneasy about this seeming to be mostly lead by guys. The article gives the impression that women are involved that it's mostly men like MC who are the ones decided the direction to take things, which doesn't sit entirely well with me on this subject. Great for them to be involved, but the tone doesn't suggest as much "stepping back and getting advice from women and survivors" as I think this requires. But I don't know how much of that is just the way the article phrased things either :-\
Partnering with advocacy organization who have the training, expertise, and most likely (based on my experiences) women survivors working there sounds like a good idea, because I think to lead the way in the fight against sexual assault without that background and without involving those with that background is not the best idea.
sihaya09 30th-May-2013 01:18 am (UTC)
I actually think it's a great idea that men (in general) would lead in this way. Obviously, they should partner with survivors and survivors' advocacy groups is a good idea, but as much as it sucks, men have the privilege and their voices often carry more weight. Therefore, men need to be teaching other men how not to rape, and how to stand up when they see things like Steubenville go down. Privilege sucks, but if you've got it, better to use it for good.

That said, yeah, not sure that Anonymous is the group to spearhead this. As good as their intentions seem, they have an extremely spotty history with supporting accused rapists.
kittenmommy 30th-May-2013 02:21 am (UTC)

ITA with all of this.

Who knows, though? Maybe this'll be the wake up call Anonymous needs to get their heads out of their collective asses re: supporting certain rapists.

You never know!
ebay313 30th-May-2013 03:07 am (UTC)
Absolutely men should be involved and outspoken but that's different than setting the prioritues and objectives, which is what rubs me the wrong way- men deciding what's more important, and the overall direction.
ebay313 30th-May-2013 05:23 am (UTC)
Wow- how about "The idea for teaching about rape is great". I worded that really poorly up there. Just to be clear- I do not think teaching rape is great. I think I need some sleep :-\

Edited at 2013-05-30 05:23 am (UTC)
merely_a_facade 30th-May-2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
Also a bit uneasy about this seeming to be mostly lead by guys. The article gives the impression that women are involved that it's mostly men like MC who are the ones decided the direction to take things, which doesn't sit entirely well with me on this subject. Great for them to be involved, but the tone doesn't suggest as much "stepping back and getting advice from women and survivors" as I think this requires. ... Partnering with advocacy organization who have the training, expertise, and most likely (based on my experiences) women survivors working there sounds like a good idea, because I think to lead the way in the fight against sexual assault without that background and without involving those with that background is not the best idea.


My sentiments exactly. I couldn't have phrased it better.
justspaz 29th-May-2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
Since Anonymous is such a nebulously organized entity, rather than a monolith, I can't blanket statement go 'three cheers for Anonymous!' but this is good, and those involved who have revealed so much about Steubenville and similar situations do deserve recognition/praise (well, as much recognition as people who belong to a group called anonymous can get).
popehippo 29th-May-2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I'm all for rape prevention in school but I can't exactly blame the schools for turning down Anonymous. A bunch of random folks from the internet (the majority of them dudes) teaching about rape in schools with kids is not exactly something I'd want to approve either.
redstar826 30th-May-2013 12:38 am (UTC)
really though, how many schools are going to just open their doors to some random individuals (who may or may not have any actual education related credentials or experience working with teenagers) who cold-call schools asking to come in to talk to students?
ohmiya_sg 30th-May-2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
Seriously.
crooked_halo 30th-May-2013 01:13 am (UTC)
I am just sort of scratching my head and wondering at the fact that Anonymous seems to have taken up rape prevention as a cause.

I don't think that they are necessarily the right choice for rape prevention seminars, but I think that schools need to start having actual discussions on this. While, yes, I agree that everyone should 'know'/does know that it's wrong, perhaps these seminars would drive the point home since our culture gives a lot of mixed messages on the acceptability of rape. (And a lot of pro-rape messages)

At the very least, if done well, some sort of assembly to go over the responsibility of bystanders to do something to either stop the rape or provide testimony after the fact and the ways that kids should look out for each other (ie don't just look the other way when boys are carrying around a girl who is too drunk to walk) might help a bit.

Of course, what really needs to change is what parents are teaching their kids from a young age and the culture itself but I think that something needs to be done to bring the issues associated with rape front and center to the point that people (especially straight males) can't ignore it. Something that goes beyond 'no means no' because really, that just feels like lip service and doesn't get into the fact that unless someone says yes, that should also be assumed to be no. The default isn't consent unless the word 'no' is thrown in there somewhere.

Sorry, that's getting a little off-topic but this is a hot-button topic for me.
that_which 30th-May-2013 01:47 am (UTC)
On its face, Anonymous are on the side of the angels here, and I appreciate that they care about this, but I don't think this is a subject that can be crowdsourced, especially since (with all due respect to the people from Anonymous who are fighting this battle) there are a lot of griefers involved.

I'd appreciate them getting behind an existing group who educate about this, but with the best intentions in the world I can't see them as the face of fighting rape culture.
kittenmommy 30th-May-2013 03:19 am (UTC)

I'd appreciate them getting behind an existing group who educate about this, but with the best intentions in the world I can't see them as the face of fighting rape culture.

If they really want to help, maybe putting up a website devoted to education would be the way to go? Sad to say, but I bet there are dudebros and neckbeards who'd take this stuff more seriously if they read it on a website written by Anonymous.

ETA: IDK. I get that they want to help and that's awesome. I'm just trying to think of a way that they could best use their resources... and I'm not sure that reaching out to high schools and offering to educate kids is the way to go.

Edited at 2013-05-30 03:20 am (UTC)
merely_a_facade 30th-May-2013 09:23 pm (UTC)
MC doesn't have a background in education or sexual violence prevention, but his work with Anonymous has given him a pretty good idea of what he'd like to talk about.

Hmm... the fact that this man doesn't have any background in education or training in sexual violence prevention and YET, he wants to spearhead such a campaign makes me uncomfortable :\ Very uncomfortable. I also disagree with this approach of "knocking the two guys (from Steubenville) outcold" that was mentioned in the article. Violence... or threatening someone with violence is not the answer, in my (naive) opinion

Edited at 2013-05-30 09:23 pm (UTC)
This page was loaded Dec 29th 2014, 1:50 pm GMT.