A University of Oregon film student felt compelled to respond to some of the issues surrounding the Steubenville rape case -- and has 1.3 million views on YouTube.
Samantha Stendal, 19, directed “A Needed Response” and addressed it to “the Steubenville rapists … or any rapists out there,” in order to show the world how real men treat women.
"It is horrifying to me that some people can say that people deserve rape when they are passed out," said Stendal to the NY Daily News.
In Stendal’s 26-second-long video, a woman (Kelsey Jones) pretends to be passed out, and a man (Justin Gotchall) gets her some water and places a pillow under her head. Then he faces the camera and says, “Real men treat women with respect.”
"I was studying for my finals, and on the side I was reading about the Steubenville rape case. I grew very frustrated with the media," Stendal told NBC News on Tuesday. "That's when I came up with the idea for this video."
Gotchall, who is a philosophy major, added, "After we saw the media coverage of the Steubenville rape cases, we just had to do this."
"I think this video is powerful in its simplicity," Desertra87 posted as a comment on YouTube. After being up only four days, the video had more than 4,000 comments and more than a million views.
Last week, Steubenville High School football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl at a raucous house party in the small Ohio town.
The story had already made headlines because of the issues surrounding the case, such as social media harassment and teenage partying gone wild. But media coverage following the convictions generated even more controversy and angered many when some reporters seemed to focus on the loss of the two football players’ bright future -- and not on the victim’s trauma.
"What really upsets me is what the news is going to, what the Internet is going to … which is asking what the victim could have done differently," Stendal told KVAL 13 News in Eugene, Ore. "I'm upset that in our culture that is one of the first questions asked."
Stendal, a sophomore, added, "The message I hope that people can get from this video is that we need to treat one another with respect. No matter what gender, we should be listening to each other and making sure there is consent."
Stendal, now on her spring break, is applying for video internships.