Serena Williams Implies 16-Year-Old Rape Victim Should Take Some of the Blame: ‘Maybe She Wasn’t A Virgin.’

Written by thejasminebrand in Blog
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serena williams-comments on 16-year-old ohio rape victim case-the jasmine brand

Some interesting comments by tennis champion Serena Williams, have some fans and critics scratching their heads a bit. During a recent Rolling Stone interview she was asked about the Steubenville rape victim case. [Here’s the backstory about the case. A 16-year-old girl was raped and assaulted by two Steubenville (Ohio) High School football players. The girl says that she was drunk at the time and doesn’t remember the incident in its entirety. Later, a video surfaces of her being raped. There’s also a video of another teenager watching her being raped and joking about it. Click here to watch the shocking video. High school football players Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond were each sentenced to a year in juvenile detention in March for raping the intoxicated teen.]

16 year old girl-rape victim-ohio-the jasmine brand

A blurred video image of the rape victim and accusers

In short, Serena’s comments about the case are a bit, ummm, questionable. She suggests that the victim

shouldn’t have put herself in that position

and described her as ‘lucky.’ Specifically, the interviewer, asks Serena if the sentencing that the two rape accusers received was fair. To this, Serena replied:

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.

Serena, who recently won the French Open, has caught a ton of backlash about her comments. She’s yet to respond. What are YOUR thoughts on Serena’s comments? Were they taken out of context? And does Serena have a point that perhaps the rape victim may be to blame, for putting herself in that environment? 

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UPDATED: Wednesday morning, Serena released the following statement on her personal blog:

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.


[Rolling Stone]

  • K.

    I just…wow. Smh at her comments.

  • Dubb-B(female type)

    Don’t try to take it back now. Smh. Her comments were ridiculous and out of line. Makes me look at her differently. The victim is NEVER at fault and there’s video footage as proof. Smh

  • aBluesForDanie

    I hate when ppl in the media do this; say something and then later say that was they CLEARLY meant, they didn’t mean. If you said it, OWN IT.

    On the flipside, I’m not afraid to say that I feel her to a certain degree. Although, I put most of the blame on the parents for teaching their child how to conduct themselves. The hell is your lil 16 yr old a** doin’ gettin’ pissy drunk!? And around nothing but boys!? At 16, I woulda been TOO scared to be the only girl. That made me feel uneasy. Doesn’t matter if this is 2013 or 1513, a woman is hardly ever safe under those circumstances. That’s why we HAVE PARENTS and don’t come out the womb full grown adults; because the parent’s job is to prepare their children for situations like this in life. Who she is, how old she is, where she was, what she wore, what she did, who her parents are, or even how they raised her gives NO ONE the right or makes it okay for someone to rape her. So please do not misconstrue my comments to mean that she DESERVED to get raped. No one deserves to get raped. But, owning up to the role you played is important. Doing so will help you decrease the risk of something like that happening again. People are crazy and the only person who’s actions you control are your own. Obviously this girls’ parents didn’t teach her that.

    • Siobhan

      Hmmm… If we are going to put blame on anyone other than the perpetrators or the victim, I wonder why folks are not blaming the parents of the rapists for FAILING to teach THEIR sons to not have sex with someone unless you have received consent first. How about that?

      Also, I would not be so quick to blame parents of either of the boys or the girl. Ever met a family with many children and notice that they come out VASTLY different? That is because despite our training, our inborn personalities also dictate the choices we make. Clearly, all involved need to rethink they ways in which their action may have contributed to what happened, but the blame, IMO, should be put on the two boys… and maybe our society too, for not doing more to make sure that our young people understand that not saying “NO!” doesn’t not equal consent.

      • Phil stevens

        “make sure that our young people understand that not saying “NO!” doesn’t not equal consent.”
        whoa, I’ve heard of double-negatives, but this would be a ‘quadruple’ one! I actually don’t know what the f. you’re trying to say here, Siobhan.

  • m&m

    Her publicist earned his/her money bc she had no choice but to offer a rebuttal.

  • Miss AG

    Ok wait, the only thing she should NOT have said is “maybe she wasn’t a virgin” Not smart but…….

    Why she drinking at 16
    Why she 16 and so drunk she can’t remember

    All valid to me……
    The parents should have/needs to teach her

    • Kay

      Teenagers don’t always make the best choices for themselves. Their still kids. Those questions are true, but they should be addressed in a more sensitive matter. As adults we tend to think things out more than kids. It’s a moment to teach not have her get beat over the head along with the emotional issues she dealing with with being raped.

  • DIVA

    Serena should have just left this one alone. I think she should have just replied no comment. Her publicist wrote a good rebuttal. When I see Serena I do think of her as a woman that show “women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields” but making comments like this makes me look at you in another way. Those parents should have also taught them not to go around raping people I don’t care what state she was in it did not give them the right to rape. I am just sadden by this whole situation. Prayers go out to the victim as well as the boys that did the crime and anybody else involved.

  • M.Dot

    Serena is being a Coward about her initial statement, now.
    Say it with your chest and mean it. That young lady had no business being drunk at 16, I would not blame her parents for her behavior or lack there of. Call it what you want.

  • Marissa

    she didn’t really phrase that well ,what she meant is not to put yourself in a situation where you can be taken advantage of ,for instance ,you wouldn’t leave your car or your house door open right?Because you re aware that would make it easier for a thief to rob you . You wouldn’t leave your 5 year old playing where you can’t see him right ?Same principle applies for rape ,the perpetrators should have never done what they did ,however ,she shouldn’t have ended up in a vulnerable state .People are not all empathic,there are the “bad guys ” out there aswell .and that is a fact .

  • Phil stevens

    Serena was just trying to put forward a balanced opinion, but you can’t do that these days. You have to gush 100% in sympathy for the victim, and bleat ‘rape is rape’ and gush 100% condemnation of men.

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