The Steubenville rape victim in the alleged sexual assault attack perpetrated by two members of the Steubenville "Big Red" football team is speaking out through her attorney. And the Weirton, West Virginia, girl has a lot to say according to the HeraldStaronline.com news report Friday.
Robert Fitzsimmons, the 16-year-old girl's attorney, says his client lost friends and became a social outcast after her alleged victimization at the hand of football players in the Ohio community. But on the other hand, she also gained supporters who want to send donations to help her with getting counseling after the trauma and to meet her legal needs.
The girl's mother reports that she sometimes hears her daughter crying in her bedroom over the terrible ordeal she endured when she was taken advantage of during an alcohol-induced state. The rape alleged may or may not also turn out to have been premeditated and as a result of a date rape drug. But that hasn't been revealed as anything more than speculation at this point in the case.
Fitzsimmons says that given all the media that has surrounded the case, in addition to the actual emotional cost of such a victimization, that his client and her family are "doing the best they can" to deal with the rape's after effects on their lives. The attorney, who is working for free, says both the girl and her family wants to "move on with their lives, like most families probably would." But he also added that moving on with their life isn't going to be happening anytime soon, since the court case is scheduled to begin in February.
In addition to that, there is also the matter of the media, which continues to draw outrage from the public over a possible mishandling of the case in the early stages of the investigationÂ—or a lack thereof to bring the culprits to justice. But the victim's attorney says his client is in no way a part of any negative attention being directed at Steubenville, and she does not wish to undermine a community of people not involved in her attack.
What the alleged victim in Steubenville is doing, however, is having her family direct donations to two worthy organizations in the hopes that other victims of sexual assault will be brave and come forward to report it. Her attorney likely played a role in that request, stating that "I think the attention...can help other people that have been victimized by this type of crime and give them some strength and assurance that people are there to help them when that happens."
Victims of sexual assault, especially young victims, don't always have the strength sometimes found in older women after such a terrible violation. But the Steubenville rape victim and her family thankfully did, and now they seek to aid the Wheeling, West Virginia YWCA Madden House and the Sexual Assault Help Center with monies they are receiving from supporters nationwide. How admirable of them!
(Justice photo credit: Gus Chan for the Plain Dealer)