Republican-American blames rape victims’ parents, calls rape a ‘tryst’

Republican-American | Connecticut Newsroom

A (Waterbury, Conn.) Republican-American editorial looks to spread the blame for rape around a little bit:

Unfortunately, it’s considered bad form in today’s social climate to “blame the victim” or even acknowledge the degree to which her actions put her in harm’s way. … Certainly, young girls cannot be held to account for responding to signals from the dominant culture that it’s OK to be sexually provocative, especially if they’re receiving insufficient countervailing guidance at home or in school.

But boys and young men get the same message and respond predictably.

The editorial responds to a sexual assault case that’s roiled northwestern Connecticut this spring in which an alleged victim was bullied online. “The newspaper could have saved some space,” Journal Register Company editor Matt DeRienzo writes:

One of the students who bullied the victims following their alleged rapists’ arrest in February summed up the point they are trying to make in the editorial with this tweet: “Young girls acting like whores there’s no punishment for that men acting like boys is a sentence.”

DeRienzo oversees papers that compete with the Republican-American, a fact he acknowledged as he dinged the paper for referring to the incident as a “Tryst,” something it later corrected online. “The use of the word ‘tryst’ in the headline was not the best choice, and it has been removed from the online version because of the implications that word carries,” Litchfield County Editor Anne Karolyi wrote in a comment on the piece.

Both the Republican-American and the JRC-owned Register Citizen used the word “scandal” to describe the case, and DeRienzo accepted criticism of that from Lauren Wolfe, who directs the Women’s Media Center’s Women Under Siege project. “I guess I’m mainly weighing in here to urge all of us to be more careful, more accurate, in how we write about rape,” he writes.

Related: Why asking & answering readers’ tough questions is helpful when covering rape

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  • Matt DeRienzo


  • Clint Hobson

    She was roofied. Someone was going to get drugged and raped that night. There was intent. It was just randomly her.

  • Brian Ball

    Well… I think the Editor was only trying to point out that if you dress like a slut or strut through the poor liberal section of Hartford with a tank top. Expect to get porked.

    If I leave my keys in my car and it get stolen I have some responsibility for it happening. If I go jogging through South central LA and I get Robbed maybe I should not have gone there.
    If I leave the keys in my doorway and A burglar busts in. I have some fault.
    Look, I haven’t read the case and the rapist needs to be killed. But if its true she dresses like a slut or did something to encourage it, then she is to blame. Lesson learned. But the politically correct media unfortunately wont allow it.

  • Peter Miller

    The Republican-American is somewhat of a laughing stock among Connecticut journalism outlets, let alone serious daily newspapers. Glaring errors, typos and ambiguous headlines are the rule not the exception.

  • Alfred Ingram

    When did Republican, as in Republican-American, become a synonym for inhumane, even inhuman?