UO student's 'Steubenville trial' response video goes viral

EUGENE, Ore. -- The rape case and conviction of two Ohio high school football stars last week captured national attention - and now a counter message is also grabbing plenty of attention since it was posted on Youtube by a University of Oregon student.

Filmed by UO sophomore Samantha Stendal, the 26-second video simply entitled "A Needed Response" is fast approaching 700,000 views after only two full days on Youtube.

The Cinema Studies student said she felt compelled to take a stand on the Steubenville rape trial issue. So she wrote, cast and directed what she calls a response video in the style of a public service announcement.

In the video, a man (UO student Justin Gotchall) points to a woman passed out on the couch (played by actress Kelsey Jones) and says "Guess what I'm gonna do to her?"

Gotchall then brings the woman a blanket, pillow and glass of water and says "Real men treat women with respect."

KVAL News talked to Samantha over the phone Saturday night while she was on a train home to Sammamish, Washington for spring break. She said the video is meant to deliver a simple message.

"The message I hope that people can get from this video is that we need to treat one another with respect," said Stendal. "No matter what gender, we should be listening to each other and making sure there is consent."

Stendal, who is the events coordinator of the University Film Organization, posted the video with a simple tag line - "To the Steubenville rapists...or any rapists out there."

In that case, two high school football players were convicted a week ago of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in Steubenville last summer after an alcohol-fueled party. One was sentenced to a minimum of one year in juvenile detention, the other to two years.

Stendal said her interpretation of how the media covered the Steubenville trial motivated her to make the video.

"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," said Stendal. "I'm upset that in our culture that is one of the first questions asked."

Stendal said she was shocked to see so many people have seen and shared her video.

"I'm so surprised with how quickly this has grown, so I'm still trying to figure out exactly what comes next!" said Stendal.

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