Josh Harkinson has written an excellent essay on the digital direct action involved in the documentation of the Steubenville rapes and a Canadian instance of sexual assault and cyber-bullying which resulted in death of Rehtaeh Parsons.
I didn’t know that Anonymous had helped to document the evidence about the Steubenville Ohio assault (much of it drawn from social media).
About two weeks later, the Anonymous subgroup KnightSec hacked RollRedRoll.com. The hackers posted the incriminating tweets, Saltsman’s Instagram photo, and the names of 11 bystanders. “This is a warning shot,” said a video communiqué featuring a computer-generated voice and the group’s trademark Guy Fawkes figure. The video (watch below) warned that KnightSec would release the phone numbers and Social Security numbers of the entire football team unless “all accused parties come forward by New Year’s Day and issue a public apology to the girl and her family.”
One result of the increased focus was the visibility of community support for the rapists. In some ways the hacking made community accountability in Steubenville possible. And after the evidence had been released, Anonymous hosted at least nine protests to force police action against the perpetrators. After one significant video was released the numbers swelled to what might be described as critical mass and in front of thousands of angry protesters, the women of Steubenville spoke about other rapes.
And vent they did. For four hours, there was a catharsis of personal pain and grief that nobody in the small town could have imagined. Women who had been raped stood in front of the crowd, clad in Guy Fawkes masks, to share their stories. Some of them unmasked at the end of their testimonies as they burst into tears. Rapes at parties, date rapes, rapes by friends and relatives—their pent-up secrets came pouring out. “It turned into this women’s liberation movement, in a way,” MC recalls. “And it just changed everything. There was nothing anybody could do against us at that point because it was so real and so true.”
The audio clips are available on the Mother Jones site.