STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (KDKA) – It’s a case that ignited a media frenzy like no other for the small Ohio town of Steubenville. As the trial begins for two teenage boys, news satellite trucks and protestors surround the courthouse.
Protestors gathered outside the juvenile court building in Steubenville, masks hiding their faces, but their purpose clear.
“I’m here because I’m against rape culture,” said one protestor. “I want to see this victim get justice.”
The victim is a 16-year old girl from West Virginia. The case got national attention after a photo of her being carried by her wrists and ankles surfaced online.
“It breaks my heart,” another protestor said. “Nobody should have to go through this.”
Two Steubenville high school football players, 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond, were charged with the rape in August.
Protestors say the case was initially brushed off in a town where football is king.
“I think 18- to 20,000 people live here, and the stadium holds 10,000. They hold football Friday nights as a big deal, and that’s a problem when you hold it so big that things like this go on and the community’s like well, ‘don’t hurt our football players,’” a protestor said.
Those football players now have their day in court.
Media from near and far are lining the sidewalks and filling the courtroom for a case that has divided a small community.
“Stop blaming the victim, stop blaming the victim… rape culture has to stop,” said a protestor. “It’s not the victim’s fault. She was unconscious; unconscious does not mean ‘yes.’”