x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

No double standard over rape case

Rape is a crime that has grave physical and psychological consequences. There needs to be outrage over every rape everywhere.

Last year, India was rocked by days of protests following the death of a Delhi gang-rape victim. As a symbol of India's treatment of women, the crime drew condemnation in media around the world, including in the United States.

But now a case in the US state of Ohio, involving the rape of a drunken 16-year-old girl by two high school football players, has brought out a different reaction.

Media organisations usually do not lament for youngsters convicted of violent crimes, but this case proved to be an exception. Several big media outlets sympathised with the criminals, not the victim, after the boys - 16 and 17 - were convicted and sent to a juvenile detention facility.

Some news reports described how hard it was to watch the young men break into tears as they admitted to the crime. Others blamed their act on their intoxicated state; still others mourned the loss to Big Red, Steubenville High School's American football team.

Now, fortunately, there has been a reaction against this disproportionate sympathy for the rapists. That first reaction was unwarranted.

Rape is a crime that has grave physical and psychological consequences. There ought to be outrage over every rape everywhere.