“Do you think it was fair, what they got? 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.”
– Allow me to parse this quote from Serena Williams‘ about the Steubenville rape victim, which she shared in an interview with Rolling Stone. By asking if the sentencing for Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays was fair — they got one year and two years, respectively, by the way — Williams’ seems to be implying that she thinks the punishment might be harsh. After all, “they did something stupid, but…” Because raping someone is just “stupid”? Not the first adjective I would use, but okay. Williams then goes on to criticize the victim who, by all accounts, was doing what all her other fellow classmates (including the rapists) were doing that night — drinking at a high school party. Should parents have serious conversations with their children — girls and boys — about underage drinking and binge drinking? Of course. Does that mean that the victim is responsible for the despicable things those young men did to her while she was passed out? Absolutely not. And what does her virginity or lack thereof have to do with anything? But what I find most bothersome about Williams’ statement is that she starts off by calling what the rapists did “stupid,” but then says that the victim is “lucky” it wasn’t “much worse.” So which is it, Serena? Are the rapists in this case simply “stupid” or are they capable of “much worse”? Also, saying “I’m not blaming the girl” before BLAMING THE GIRL doesn’t negate the fact that you’re, in fact, blaming the girl. [Rolling Stone] [Photo: Fame/Flynet]
UPDATE: Annnnd Serena has already released a statement apologizing, sort of, for her comments. Read it after the jump: Keep reading »
accountability, noun — the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
It must be nice to be Steubenville, Ohio, football coach Reno Saccoccia. Coach Saccoccia is required by law to report child abuse and is said to have known about the rape of an unconcious teenaged girl by two Steubenville football players — a text message from Trent Mays, one of the two football players convicted of rape last month, said “I got Reno. He took care of it and shit ain’t gonna happen, even if they did take it to court. Like he was joking about it so I’m not worried.” Saccoccia also did not punish the players involved nearly harshly enough, allowing them to play eight games of the 10-game season. Yet he has had a two-year contract with Steubenville City Schools renewed; in addition to coaching the Steubenville football team, which is a separate contract, Saccoccia is newly confirmed as the director of administrative services, a position which requires Board of Education approval.
In other words, even though this man is roundly considered to have done next to nothing to hold the convicted rapists on his football team accountable for their actions, the city of Steubenville still wants to give him a paycheck. It’s mind-boggling. [WTOV9, The Atlantic Wire]
ABC News aired new video of teen partygoers in Steubenville, Ohio, being questioned by police regarding the sexual assault of “Jane Doe,” the then 15-year-old girl whose story has entranced the nation. On the night of her assault, Jane Doe was raped and carried unconscious to multiple parties all while pictures were taken; last week, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays received one year and two years, respectively, in juvenile detention facilities for participating in her abuse. ABC’s video shows teens (their faces not obscured, for some reason) describing how Jane Doe got increasingly drunk throughout the evening — meaning she was less and less able to consent to any sexual behavior. “She was a mess,” says one boy interviewed by cops. “She wasn’t responding. She was passed out.” 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 »
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]
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.
Keep reading »
A teenager testified in the Steubenville rape trial today that he’d personally witnessed defendant Trent Mays put his fingers inside the victim’s vagina as they drove from one party to another, and even recorded it on his cellphone—though he says he deleted the video the next morning, realizing he’d done “something stupid and wrong.” The 17-year-old testified only after the judge gave him immunity from prosecution, the AP reports. Witness accounts are crucial to the trial, because the victim doesn’t appear to remember what happened. Read more…