Culture

Serena Williams Offers Up Half-Ass Apology For Victim-Blaming Rape Comments

Culture

Serena Williams Offers Up Half-Ass Apology For Victim-Blaming Rape Comments

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Rolling Stone published a lengthy profile of the tennis great Serena Williams this week. What was it about? Hard to remember, because everyone has focused on one inflammatory section in which Williams and author Stephen Rodrick turn to the Steubenville rape trail.

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.”

As you can imagine, this victim-blaming did not go over well on the internet.

[Here’s the part where we cherry-pick a handful of tweets to illustrate that point.]

Today Wiliams has walked-back her opinions in response to the criticisms she received, sort of. She released a statement on her site:

“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!

Other ages might have been less of a tragedy, one guesses?

For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused.

Those poor families of the gang rapists and onlookers who posted jokes about the rape on social media.

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.

Sorry for what was written, not what she said.

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.”

Prayers and support, but not, of course, my words, which, as you’ll remember, insinuated that that drunk slut was asking for it.

 

@lukeoneil47