Prior to and in the aftermath of the Steubenville rape trial verdict, donations have poured in from supporters wishing to contribute to the rape victim’s legal counsel. But “Jane Doe”‘s attorney Bob Fitzsimmons says he is doing the case pro bono. Since he is not charging his client for his services, she and her family have asked that any donations be sent to the YWCA’s Madden House in Wheeling, West Virginia, an emergency safe-shelter for women who are rebuilding their lives. Fitzsimmons says that they hope “the attention … can help other people that have been victimized by this type of crime,” Fitzsimmons said, “and give them some strength and some assurance that people are there to help them when that happens.” You can check out the organization and donate as little as $2 via PayPal here. [Madden House; Create Our Own Light]
There’s no defense for rape. And there’s no defense for defending rape — be that minimizing the crime, blaming the victim or focusing so exclusively on the perpetrators that the victim is rendered invisible, as in CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville guilty verdict. As I read over the case, the verdict, the media response and the backlash to it, I feel sick and I feel sad. Like the rest of you, I want these boys to be made to understand exactly what they did. I want everything that was taken from the victim to be restored to her, somehow. There is no defense for the crime of rape.
There is, however, a good argument against sex offender registries. Keep reading »
Sweet mother of God, what the hell is happening with teenagers today? Two teenage girls have been arrested for allegedly making threats — on social media — against the Steubenville rape victim, following Trent Mays’ and Ma’lik Richmond’s convictions on Sunday.
“Let me be clear,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (above) said in a news release on his website announcing the arrests this evening. “Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you.”
A 16-year-old girl was charged with aggravated menacing for allegedly threatening the life of the victim via Twitter, and a 15-year-old was charged with menacing for allegedly threatening bodily harm via Facebook. In addition to being fucking disgusting, can we talk about how utterly stupid it is to be threatening someone on social media where everyone can see it? Especially when you consider that much of the evidence in the Steubenville rape case — which led to Mays’ and Richmond’s convictions — was gathered on social media. So baffling and depressing. [ABC News]
UPDATE: It turns out MSNBC and CNN also did not bleep out the victim’s name when showing clips of Trent Mays’ statement in court yesterday. I’ve changed the title of the post to reflect that and my ire at Fox News in the text below is now directed at them as well. Additionally, I have pulled the video from my previous post about CNN for the time being, as I believe at one point in the eight minute segment, you can hear Mays use her name. I’ll try to replace the video with a version where her name is bleeped out ASAP.
To quote my good friend Ice T, Fox News can eat a hot bowl of dicks. The conservative news network has rightfully come under fire today for airing the name of the accuser in the Steubenville rape case, which concluded yesterday with a guilty verdict for both of young men accused. During yesterday’s sentencing, both Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were given the opportunity to apologize and plead for leniency. “I would truly like to apologize to [redacted], her family, my family and the community. No picture [of the rape] should have been sent around, let alone even taken.” Those who were watching the proceedings on the live feed could hear the name, but TV news networks are typically expected to bleep out a rape victim’s name, as it is considered journalistically unethical to reveal the identity of those who have come forward with sexual abuse and assault allegations, given the stigma associated with such crimes. This is particularly true when the accuser is a minor, as Jane Doe in the Steubenville case is. Print news outlets have followed the same protocol.
Yet in a segment today, Fox News [UPDATE: And CNN and MSNBC] showed Mays’ apology and did not bleep out the victim’s name. Jane Doe has already been the target of harassment in her community — revealing her identity on national news opens her and her family up to further harassment and threats. It is absolutely unconscionable that Fox News would expose Jane Doe’s identity, adding further injury to what has already been a deeply traumatic experience, one that the teen has faced with more bravery than I could imagine. Keep reading »
CNN’s coverage of Sunday’s Steubenville rape trial verdict was so offensive and abhorrant that it would be worthy of being parodied by comedy news website The Onion — except The Onion already did a parody of CNN’s rape coverage … in 2011! Check out this piece from The Onion’s SportsDome, which ran on Comedy Central, called “College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed,” and shudder at how eerily similar it is to CNN’s very real Steubenville coverage yesterday morning. It would be funny if it wasn’t so goddamn depressing. [HyperVocal]
UPDATE : Okay, I’ve put the video back, in two parts, minus Trent Mays’ testimony.
UPDATE: I have pulled the video from this post for the time being, as I believe at one point in the eight minute segment, you can hear Mays use the victim’s name. I’ll try to replace the video with a version where her name is bleeped out ASAP. Further info on how Fox News, MSNBC and CNN did not bleep out the victim’s name here.
Yesterday morning, I watched with knots in my stomach as the Steubenville rape verdict was delivered. The evidence — including three key eye witness testimonies, photographs and incriminating text messages — against Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond was vast and it seemed hard to imagine that Judge Tom Lipps wouldn’t convict. Because there was so much evidence that physical contact had occurred between the victim (Jane Doe) and the defendants, the defense focused on trying to prove that while the victim was drunk, she wasn’t so drunk that she couldn’t consent to these acts. Therefore, the verdict in this case, which has drawn international attention, would do much to define when consent can be given in the eyes of the law. And given that this is hardly an isolated incident in one small football-loving town — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine emphasized that rape is a societal problem that is happening in towns and cities all across this country and the world — the decision in this case would be sending a clear message to victims and perpetrators far and wide.
Luckily, Judge Lipps rendered a guilty verdict on all three charges, sentencing Mays to a minimum of two years served consecutively and Richmond to a minimum of one year. At maximum, both could serve time in jail until they are 21. Both will have to register as juvenile sex offenders. Considering the pair could have been tried as adults and thus could have faced much harsher sentences, Judge Lipps ignored their parents’ and attorneys requests for further leniency, saying the sentences were practically a slap on the wrist.
That didn’t stop CNN, however, from being all torn up about it.
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