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Williams 'reaching out' to rape victim's family after 'insensitive' comments

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:47 a.m. HST, Jun 20, 2013


Serena Williams says she's reaching out to the family of the victim in the Steubenville rape case after the tennis star was quoted in a Rolling Stone article saying "she shouldn't have put herself in that position."

"I am currently reaching out to the girl's family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article," Williams said in a statement released through her agent Wednesday. "What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame."

The comment was made in one paragraph of a lengthy story posted online Tuesday about Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam title winner who is ranked No. 1 heading into Wimbledon, which starts next week.

Two players from the Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team were convicted in March of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl; one of the boys was ordered to serve an additional year for photographing the girl naked. The case gained widespread attention in part because of the callousness with which other students used social media to gossip about it.

"What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened," Williams said in the statement. "For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved — that of the rape victim and of the accused."

According to the Rolling Stone story, Williams says the perpetrators of the crime "did something stupid," and she asks: "Do you think it was fair, what they got?"

She adds, "I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people."

Williams also is quoted as saying: "She shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."

Williams is in England preparing for Wimbledon.

"I have fought all of my career for women's equality, women's equal rights, respect in their fields — anything I could do to support women I have done," she said in the statement. "My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent 16 year old child."

WTA CEO Stacey Allaster said the tour had been touch with Williams about the article.

"If she was accurately quoted, then Serena's comments were both insensitive and wrong," Allaster said in a statement. "We disagree with the statements and have made that clear to her."







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DA_HANDSOME_CHINAMAN wrote:
YEP, Whenever you're in the "limelight" you need to watch what you are saying to the "MEDIA". They will "eat" you up and spit you out.
on June 19,2013 | 01:13PM
MexMe wrote:
I would have to agree with you HandsomeChinaman. I don't trust the press at all. So much is taken out of context. And, to a degree, Ms. Williams was correct: young women need to be super vigilant so that their actions/inactions cannot be used against them. The world is not fair but we are moving towards fairness and women have to always be alert and prepared. As for this particular rape victim, I don't know enough to comment and I think that may be what Ms. Williams was saying as well.
on June 19,2013 | 02:28PM
ryan02 wrote:
Nope, that's not what she was saying. She questioned whether the rapists should even have been convicted at all. She doesn't think what they did was criminal, she thinks it was merely "stupid" (her word). Then, for no reason at all, she questions whether the victim was a virgin. And she says the victim was "lucky" that she was only gang-raped. So she wasn't saying women need to be careful, she's saying if the woman isn't careful then it's not a crime (blaming the victim) because then the raposts' actions are merely "stupid." And for some reason, non-virgins don't count anyway (or why else did she even bring that up)?
on June 19,2013 | 03:39PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Perhaps not saying stupid, insensitive, harmful and inappropriate things would work just as well, you think? Maybe even better.
on June 19,2013 | 02:44PM
ryan02 wrote:
What a stupid non-apology. "What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful" What does that mean? Did she say it or didn't she? I think she did, because the reporter says the conversation was recorded. So she's saying the reporter was insensitive for printing it ("What was written") but she won't apologize for saying it ("What I SUPPOSEDLY said")?! What horse cr@p. And to add to the insult, she's trying to compare what the rapist family goes through with what the victim's family went through? As if there's ANY comparison? As if the rapist are victims too?! Add this to the time she called the Asian tennis judge a "g@@k" while threatening to kill her over a bad call, and I think I can see why she sympathizes with the rapists. She obviously thinks that athletes can do whatever they want, to whomever they want, and can never be guilty of a crime. She's just a disgusting person. The Ty Cobb of tennis.
on June 19,2013 | 03:35PM
hanalei395 wrote:
A disgusting person who sympathizes with one of the rapists.
on June 19,2013 | 06:50PM
primowarrior wrote:
"What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame." Seems to me that Serena made an insensitive comment, got called out on it, and is now trying to shift some of the blame to the Rolling Stone.
on June 19,2013 | 05:24PM
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