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Anonymous Comes to Town: Hackers Take On Sexual Assault In Ohio

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Anonymous Comes to Town: Hackers Take On Sexual Assault In Ohio

A new documentary has revisited the case of a 16-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted in Steubenville, Ohio in 2012, and how Anonymous came to expose her abusers. The small Ohio town was well known for its high school sports teams, and the teams brought pride to the town. Although, as this case exposed, there are many extremely abusive people on these teams, and their crimes had been covered up by the town for a very long time.

The description for the documentary reads:

The sleepy rustbelt town of Steubenville, Ohio, was once best known for high school sports and as the birthplace of Dean Martin. But when a teen sexual assault committed by two members of the football team surfaced, the shadowy hacker group Anonymous caught wind of the story and decided to intervene. After publishing videos and social media from the night of the assault to their millions of online followers, they sparked viral outrage and demands for #JusticeforJaneDoe. They unleashed a passionate mob and their actions divided the small town, but in the process gave strength to generations of women forced to hide abuse. This film asks, when it seems like nothing will change, when is it OK for outsiders to intervene?

Even after An0nymous exposed the crimes of these individuals, the people of the town still tried to cling to the legacy of the teams, and many of them were upset that more attention was being brought to the situation and their town. However, this was not a problem that is isolated to their town, this is a national, if not global problem. This is not something that is limited to just sports teams either, but it is true that the frat boy lifestyle is notorious for this type of abusive behavior.

Anonymous Comes to Town: Hackers Take On Sexual Assault In Ohio 7

Photo Credit: CNN

In the Steubenville case, two teenage members of the local football team raped a 16 year old girl and then laughed and bragged about it on video afterward. Anonymous obtained the video and published it for the world to see.

One of the themes of the new documentary “Anonymous Comes to Town” is that citizens of the town don’t believe that outsiders have the right to come in and try to intervene and fix their problems. However, there were in fact many members of the community who reached out to An0nymous to help bring about justice in the case, and the local police department was not doing what they should.

An0nymous was later vindicated though, when their protests emboldened generations of women in the town to speak up about similar abuse that took place and was ignored by the local police.

The director, Nancy Schwartzman, is a documentary maker, producer, and media strategist who uses storytelling and technology to create safer communities for women and girls. She also made a similar documentary on the same subject called Roll Red Roll.

One of the most alarming things about the case is the fact that one of the An0nymous hackers who exposed the rape case was sentenced to two years in prison, which is longer than the sentence that one of the rapists received. One of the suspects in the case received two years, and the other received a one year sentence. Meanwhile, the person who exposed their crimes, 29 year old Deric Lostutter, of Winchester, Kentucky received a two year sentence.

“The sexual assault case was already getting local attention by that time, but KnightSec defaced the hacked website and left a message threatening to expose the names of those involved in the assault, and of various school and law enforcement officials, which the hackers believed had covered up the case. They followed through with their threats at the start of 2013, when they leaked videos from the night of the sexual assault, which they found stored on the hacked website. The videos sparked a wealth of interest in the case from national media, and KnightSec followed through with a series of interviews for CNN, Rolling Stones, and others,” Bleeping Computer reported.

In a statement on Lostutter’s case issued by the Department of Justice, authorities claimed that the sentence was for conspiring to illegally access a computer without authorization and lying to an FBI agent.

Anonymous comes to town

The sleepy rustbelt town of Steubenville, Ohio, was once best known for high school sports and as the birthplace of Dean Martin. But when a teen sexual assault committed by two members of the football team surfaced, the shadowy hacker group Anonymous caught wind of the story and decided to intervene. After publishing videos and social media from the night of the assault to their millions of online followers, they sparked viral outrage and demands for #JusticeforJaneDoe. They unleashed a passionate mob and their actions divided the small town, but in the process gave strength to generations of women forced to hide abuse. This film asks, when it seems like nothing will change, when is it OK for outsiders to intervene?

Posted by The Guardian on Wednesday, April 17, 2019

David Cohen is a long-time independent journalist and expert in geopolitics, technology and finance. Cohen began his career as an activist, and then began writing articles as a freelancer for numerous websites. Cohen is a native of Brooklyn, New York and a graduate of Cornell University.

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