(June 18, 2013) In a lengthy interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Serena Williams who does not blame the victim, commented on the Steubenville rape case saying that the victim “shouldn’t have put herself in that position.”
The Steubenville Ohio rape case involved two high school football players convicted this past March for raping a 16 year-old girl. The case became the focus of national attention due to the use of social media to gossip about it. One of the boys will serve additional jail time due to photographing the girl naked.
Excerpt from the Rolling Stone interview by Stephen Rodrick:
We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV – two high school football players raped a drunk 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. 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? 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.”
Williams is currently in England preparing for the defense of her Wimbledon title. She is a five-time champion. Wimbledon begins on Monday June 24.
Tennis Panorama News made a request to Williams’ agent for a comment on Tuesday night.
June 19, 2013 update:
Serena Williams issued the following statement on her website:
“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.”
Statement updated on June 24, 2013
“I am deeply sorry for my insensitive and misinformed comments. It was not my intention to cause the victim and her family any additional pain. But I did, and I am sorry. I am grateful to them for the opportunity to personally apologize, and I am humbled by their strength, grace, and forgiveness.
“I also want to extend an apology to the millions of sexual assault victims in America whose pain could have been compounded by my inappropriate remarks. Rape and all forms of sexual assault are completely unacceptable, no matter the circumstances. Sexual assault perpetrated against women and men is never acceptable and *never* the fault of the victim.”
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