Serena Williams joins the ranks of victim-blamers.

Via Deadspin, Rolling Stone recorded some hot, steaming word salad from Serena Williams about the Steubenville rape case:

We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV—two high school football players raped a 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.”

What the fuck does Jane Doe’s hypothetical non-virginity have to do with what Trent Mays and Malik Richmond did to her?

I’m going to turn this paragraph around. Let’s try this instead:

“Do you think it was fair, what she got? She did something stupid by getting that drunk, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the boys, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re feeling rapey like that, your parents should teach you: don’t stick your fingers up an unconscious girl’s vagina. They’re 16, why were they at that party with so many other teenagers cheering them on? They could have gotten a much longer sentence than they did. They’re lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe they just didn’t realize that rape is still a crime when you’re a star football player, but they shouldn’t have put themselves in that position, unless they had brain damage from multiple concussions, then that’s different.”

When the shit started raining down on her head (note: it is a sign of progress that the shit is raining in that direction), she put this on her website:

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

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.”

Well, at least she didn’t double down.

If you find yourself in the hot seat for saying something idiotic and irresponsible, it shows a lot more backbone to acknowledge that you fucked up than to call the magazine reporter a liar. We all make mistakes. We all grow up with some destructive ideas that we could do without. It’s okay to admit you were wrong. Rather than deny your mistakes, learn from them.

2 thoughts on “Serena Williams joins the ranks of victim-blamers.

  1. Just speculating but I think Serena’s coddled background growing up and her cushy lifestyle now may have isolated her from the many tragedies of our society. No excuse of course but it could explain her train of thought. Happens to GOP congressmen/women all the time.

    • It’s also possible that she was so busy training and competing that she never got a chance to live like a normal teenager. But then I see the same victim-blaming tripe from people who’ve lived totally unexceptional lives, so…

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