The following is a Q&A conducted by The Emerald’s Craig Garcia with Samantha Stendal. Stendal is a sophomore cinema studies major at the University of Oregon. She recently made a video titled, “A Needed Response” – a 25-second video that was inspired by the Steubenville rape case. The video has gone viral and is getting national news attention.
The video is almost at 2 million views. Are you pretty shocked?
Yeah, I’m still pretty surprised. I’m really happy that the message is getting out there and that people are taking an interest.
And has the video been up for even a week yet?
Yeah, I came up with the idea for the video Monday or Tuesday of finals week, and I shot it Wednesday of finals week. We put the video up Thursday night or Friday morning, and then things started to get crazy by Friday afternoon.
So you made this video for it to serve as a response to the Steubenville case?
Yeah, during finals week while I was studying I was reading up on the Steubenville rape case and it was just frustrating to me how the media was covering it and just seeing the general victim blaming that was going on online and I just wanted to put something positive out there.
Even with the multiple sexual assault cases that are on our campus, was the Steubenville case the only motivation to do the video?
Definitely part of it was in response to the Steubenville rape case but there is a lot of sexual assault that occurs on [the UO] campus and sadly we only hear of the ones that are reported while there are plenty more going unreported. In general, I hope that people that were sexually assaulted can see this video and see how popular it’s gotten and hopefully it’ll show them that they do have a support group out there and that people do support them. I just want this to promote being a decent human being.
Has anyone involved with the Steubenville case contacted you since the video?
I actually had a phone interview with WTOV [local Steubenville channel] and it was pretty crazy to be speaking from someone directly in that area.
The video has over 6,000 comments on YouTube. Have you seen any structured criticism towards the video?
I haven’t read through all of the comments, but it is interesting to see the response that it’s getting. I appreciate the people who say things like, “You should’ve brought her a bucket” or “You should’ve called 911 in that type of situation.” That’s the kind of discussion I want to happen. I want people to go away with what the girl could’ve done and to focus more on how we should be treating a person when they’re in such a vulnerable state. Seeing the positive responses is, of course, wonderful but also seeing the negative responses with people going online and saying, “No, drunk girl should’ve been raped.” It’s horrifying to me but it’s also eye-opening to people that are interested in this video and to show that there still needs to be a discussion about what consent looks like in this community.
And of course, there are also people who just write outrageous comments on YouTube just because they can take claim to an anonymous name, and get away with writing something terrible.
Exactly. There are a lot of trolls online so I don’t take it to heart.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about the video?
Yeah, I mean, my video is directly about a boy and a girl but despite your gender you should be treated with respect.