I don’t have to tell you that Steubenville is all over the news.
I don’t have to tell you that the fact that Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, the two teenagers convicted of raping a sixteen year old girl, were only sentenced to a combined three years in juvenile prison, is a fucking joke. Each will serve a year for the rape itself; Mays will serve an additional year for “illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.”
I probably don’t even have to tell you that the media treatment of this trial has been a perfect, if utterly sickening, example of rape culture, with its focus on how difficult and painful this event has been for the rapists who raped a 16-year-old girl then bragged about it on social media.
And I almost certainly don’t have to tell you that the world is full of seemingly nice, normal people who want to go to bat for the convicted rapists. I’m quite sure that you already know about the victim-blaming that’s been happening since this case first came to light. You know about the fact that people have actually come out and said that the real lesson to be learned here is that we need to be more careful with social media (i.e. go ahead and rape but make sure you don’t get caught). You already know that people seem to think that being a sports star and having a good academic record should somehow make up for the fact that you are a rapist.
I don’t have to tell you any of that because it’s all par for the course.
What I do want to tell you is that you need to stop using the “wives, sisters, daughters” argument when you are talking to people defending the Steubenville rapists. Or any rapists. Or anyone who commits any kind of crime, violent or otherwise, against a woman. Keep reading »
Walter Madison, the lawyer for Ma’lik Richmond, one of the teens convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, says he plans to appeal Judge Tom Lipps decision, based on scientific evidence that his client’s brain wasn’t fully developed at the time of the crime. Fully developed enough to what? Know that digitally raping an unconscious girl is wrong?
Madison said on “Piers Morgan Live” that he takes particular issue with Lipps sentencing Richmond to at least one year in a rehabilitation center and the requirement to register as a sex offender, saying, “I don’t believe that a person at 75 years old should have to explain for something they did at 16 when scientific evidence would support your brain isn’t fully developed … when evidence in the case would suggest that you were under the influence.” Keep in mind, Lipps’ sentence also leaves room for Richmond to be removed from the sex offender registration list if he exhibits good behavior in detention. Keep reading »
Feministing blogger Zerlina Maxwell is a survivor of rape. Last week, Maxwell appeared with Sean Hannity on Fox News and what she said on the show generated some racist, misogynist comments and both rape threats and death threats. Her “controversial” comment? She said, “I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there with prevention.”
That’s not OK to say, apparently: it poked the hornet’s nest of our society’s long held, deeply flawed ideas about rape as well as squeamish attitudes when it comes to discussing it.
Zerlina Maxwell, we at The Frisky stand with you. Men should be taught not to rape. Here are three misconceptions about rape that she schooled Sean Hannity and his viewers on in the exchange: Keep reading »
“Many people are angry that more time was not given to the offenders. This seems to be the prevailing sentiment. I understand the anger but don’t know if adding a decade onto their sentences would be of any benefit. To me, the problem that needs to be addressed is where in the information chain were the two offenders made to understand that what they did was not wrong on every possible level? You can execute them both tomorrow but still, there is a problem that needs to be dealt with….It is obvious that the two offenders saw the victim as some one that could be treated as a thing. This is not about sex, it is about power and control. I guess that is what I am getting at. Sex was probably not the hardest thing for the two to get, so that wasn’t the objective. When you hear the jokes being made during the crime, it is the purest contempt….So, how do you fix that? I’m just shooting rubber bands at the night sky but here are a few ideas: Put women’s studies in high school the curriculum from war heroes to politicians, writers, speakers, activists, revolutionaries and let young people understand that women have been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages and they are worthy of respect.”
––Former Black Flag singer and general punk dude Henry Rollins brings up a good point — a prison sentence isn’t going to alter the overall culture of misogyny and, as he so rightly puts it, contempt for women and girls. But changing the culture in which boys and girls grow up can have a positive impact. [Henry Rollins]
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 »
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 »