“A message of respect” video responds to Steubenville rape and goes viral

March 27, 2013

The rape trial in Steubenville, Ohio, earlier this month gave me yet another opportunity to remind my 20-year-old daughter of ways to avoid getting raped.

“Why don’t we teach guys ‘don’t rape?’” she asked me.

A video made by a University of Oregon sophomore is trying to do exactly that — in just 26 seconds. Called “A Needed Response,” it’s for “the Steubenville rapists…or any rapists out there” and has more than 1.4 million views after being posted on YouTube March 22.

Samantha Stendal, a cinema studies student from Sammamish, Washington, said the media response to the Steubenville rape trial inspired her to make the video. “I was reading about Steubenville and getting more and more angry about the coverage,” she told KGW News. “I wanted to make something that was more positive than what was being shown. We should be treating each other as human beings not blaming victims.”

The discussion asking what the victim could have done differently frustrated her, she told KVAL news. “I’m upset that in our culture that is one of the first questions asked.”

In the video, filmed in the style of a public service announcement, fellow student Justin Gotchall says, “Guess what I’m gonna do to her?” referring to actress Kelsey Jones, playing a woman who’s passed out and lying on a couch. It’s a scene eerily reminiscent of what happened in Steubenville in August when two high school football players raped a 16-year-old West Virginia girl who was unresponsive at times after drinking too much at a party.

But what happens next is the surprise.

Diana Reese is a freelance journalism in Overland Park, Kan. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.

Diana Reese is a journalist in Overland Park, Kan. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.
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Diana Reese · March 27, 2013