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Serena sorry for controversial comments about 'lucky' 16-year-old rape victim

The tennis star reportedly questioned the fairness of jail sentences handed to the teen’s assailants.

Serena Williams arriving at the Burberry Prorsum fashion show, held in Hyde Park during London Collections: Men this week.
Serena Williams arriving at the Burberry Prorsum fashion show, held in Hyde Park during London Collections: Men this week.
Image: Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

Updated at 15.54

SERENA WILLIAMS HAS released a statement in response to an article that attributed controversial comments to her regarding an infamous case involving a 16-year-old rape victim in Steubenville.

Williams allegedly labelled a teen rape victim ‘lucky’ and queried the fairness of jail sentences handed to the 16-year-old’s assailants.

However, in a statement released via Williams’ Twitter account today, the current world number one tennis player denied implying that the girl was in anyway to blame over the incident.

“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only 16, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. 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. 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.

“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. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent 16-year-old child.”

In a profile piece in Rolling Stone, Williams commented on the case from last year where two high school gridiron players in Steubenville, Ohio, were found guilty of raping the 16-year-old girl.

Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays received jail sentences of one and two years respectively for taking their drunk victim to a number of parties and then disseminating text messages, tweets, pictures and videos of their acts.

During the interview, Williams saw news of the Steubenville rape trial on television, before seemingly questioning whether the two teenage boys had deserved such punishment and allegedly claiming the victim ‘shouldn’t have put herself in that position’.

“Do you think it was fair, what they got?” Williams is quoted as saying. “They did something stupid but I don’t know.

“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. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember?

“It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

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