Recently I attended a screening of a documentary directed by Nancy Schwartzman called “Roll Red Roll”, and I walked out thinking “holy shit, how does this happen?”. I was lucky enough to be able to sit through a Q&A session with Schwartzman and also the blogger who helped to expose this story, Alex Goddard. Afterwards I spent the next couple hours discussing thoughts on the documentary with a friend who had also attended the screening, and I felt so encouraged that things were finally moving in the right direction; the direction of change.
So before I share my thoughts on the matter, let me quickly review the storyline and also say this….EVERYONE NEEDS TO WATCH THIS FILM!! Every man. Every woman. Every coach. Every teacher. Every parent. Every child (I’d recommend no younger than 13, but that is for you to decide). Every Single Person. This is not an isolated incident. This is happening daily, in all types of cities, to all types of children. If your initial thought is “My child is a good kid and would never do this”….you are down right wrong. When a culture has made things such as sexual assault seem acceptable in certain situations, all kids are susceptible to fall victim to it. Peer pressure can make the best of people do the worst of things. But to continue….
“Roll Red Roll” is the story of the sexual assault that a 16-year-old girl fell victim to at the hands of high school football players. They had been partying and alcohol was involved. The girl was not from the same school as the football players, and throughout the night she became very intoxicated to the point of vomiting and passing out. Photos were taken of her being carried by the arms and legs as if she was no longer a person, but instead of piece of furniture. Although other boys were involved, two of them were physical with her during a point in time at which she was far from being able to consent. She was passed out while these two boys touched her private areas and put their genitals on her body. This was documented with photos, social media posts on Instagram and Twitter, and a video taken by one the of boys in which a boy is seen and heard saying “She’s deader than OJ’s girlfriend. He just raped a dead girl“. There are many more quotes and posts that make me too sick to my stomach to type. If you watch this film, you will understand. The victim told her parents and charges were filed; however the town placed his priority in its love and identification of football and began harassing and blaming the victim. Things were said such as “She (the victim) needs to take responsibility for her part. She went to a party and was drinking”.
……….. What in the flipping f*ck???? You have got to be kidding me??………
Crime blogger and fellow Ohio resident Alex Goddard read the story and began digging deeper. Soon she found numerous social media posts that showed just how disgusting this incident truly was. Goddard published her findings on her blog, which drew the attention of the national media and an extremely upset football town. Upset that this happened?? NO. Upset that someone exposed them?? Yes. Disgusting. Simply disgusting .Goddard was sued for defamation (bullshit lawsuit initiated by parents who wanted to save whatever reputation was left of their son who posted a photo of the girl being carried by two boys and tweeting the comment “I have no sympathy for whores” ).
Then things got real. On Christmas Day the group “Anonymous” hacked into the school website demanding that something be done and justice be served. Along with this demand was the horrifying video of the boys laughing about the rape just after it had happened. The global media began paying attention and soon arrests were made. Two young men were charged, found guilty and spent one year in juvenile detention. One of whom I believe made a horrible mistake and felt remorse deep in his soul. The other of whom I believe made a horrible mistake and will likely do it again. Although I pray that does not happen.
So what does this all mean? What does this documentary show? That a RAPE CULTURE DOES EXIST in our country. That somehow society has deemed it not to be rape when a women (or man) is intoxicated or impaired and sexual acts take place without their consent. And the scariest part of this is that this mindset starts at young ages. Sometimes before kids even reach their teenage years. We have to do a better job! We have to continue to promote change and overcome this idea that rape is only rape when it is done by a man forcing himself on a woman as she kicks and screams in a dark alley. It is uncomfortable to talk about. The simple word “rape” is horrifying to many. But we owe it to younger generations to teach them the values of what is right and what is wrong, and apparently what is rape…
Rape is the “unlawful sexual activity carried out forcibly or under threat of injury to a person’s will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception”.
Thank you Nancy Schwartzman and Alex Goddard for bringing this story to light and sharing it with so many. It is not just a story of a small town in Ohio; it is the story of a rape culture in America. And we will continue to be advocates for awareness and change.