Because I Find It Questionable


As I write this, I am telling myself to proceed with caution. No doubt there will be much said in the days and weeks ahead about the verdict in what will forever be known as the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. Steubenville, the small town that borders West Virginia, has never seen so much press. Even for their glorious football team.

It has been reported that attorneys for the convicted football players, Ma’lik Richmond, 16, sentenced to a minimum of 1 year in juvenile detention and Trent Mays, 17, sentenced to a minimum of 2 years, plan to appeal.

I have to ask, what is the purpose of an appeal? For all the talk about taking responsibility that surrounds this case, it makes no sense to me why there is talk of an appeal. Taking responsibility means accepting consequences. In this case, minimal jail time.

Oh, and missing the homecoming game.

Additionally, further investigation may lead to charges for those who witnessed the raping and did nothing to stop it. The report states that the Ohio law which makes it a crime not to report a felony, such as a rape is a rarely used law.

I have to ask, why is the law rarely used? I don’t suppose it’s because rape rarely happens. So, is it because rape is rarely witnessed by people who find it too entertaining to report?

An emotional tirade about the shame of it all isn’t what’s called for. No, I think once the Monday morning quarterbacks have given their take on the play by play leading up to the convictions and late night TV has allowed sufficient time to pass before the kick off of clever punch lines made up from testimony transcripts there will have been more than enough skin in the game. There are lessons to be learned certainly.

I have to ask, are those lessons really that rape is not acceptable conduct? That rape is not a recreational activity? Do we really believe that people who commit sexual assault don’t know their actions have consequences? I call bullshit! We do not have people on the planet who don’t know violence against women is wrong. Dead wrong!

I have to ask, or do we?


35 thoughts on “Because I Find It Questionable

  1. I suspect that the rape law is rarely used because rape isn’t usually a spectator situation. The ones that are, like plane crashes, make headlines. But, also like plane crashes, they are relatively rare compared to, say, car crashes, which happen all the time and don’t make headlines. We are disproportionate in our responses; we should be paying more attention to the “car crashes,” since that’s were the greatest damage and loss actually occurs.

    I see rape as a kind of hate crime involving sex and violence. (Those who say rape is not a crime of sex but of violence are, I think, off the mark. It’s clearly both. Compare a beating with a beating + rape. Same thing?) You mention in another post the idea of penectomies, but I wonder what a hate-filled person who has also been “cut off” might be capable of.

    [sigh] What a world. Humans do embody the full gamut from angel to beast, don’t they.

  2. These are sad days full of sad times. That youth have ‘evolved’ into such a sense of entitlement and lacking of morals is indeed scary. How a *crowd* of people could have imagined that filming and standing by while this was taking place was somehow okay, or “not their problem” is reflective of a sad society indeed. Appealing is pointless.

  3. This isn’t new, this lack of respect, responsibility and accountability. This isn’t new, this blaming the victim. This isn’t new.

    This is the way it has been for as long as I can remember. Nothing is really different. Not really. I wrote my response this morning.

    1. Sadly, too true, Val. This isn’t new. None of it is, and I suppose it is foolish to believe attitudes from any angle will change more than a degree or two. I believe we need to keep sharing our experiences though and that maybe, just maybe one girl will realize her own strength…by degrees.
      I read your response. As I said, heart wrenching and awe inspiring.

  4. I heard on NPR this morning that the rape was fingers, not the “P,” and that most of the teenage witnesses did not consider that rape. I’m with you on your thinking. I don’t understand any of this, but I will take issue with your last statements. There are many people who do not think violence against women is wrong.

  5. This is chilling. You raise such good points. Our society seems to have lost it’s moral and ethical compass. It seems we are eroding, going backward – nothing about this shows the progress of a civilized country. I would have thought we’d be more evolved by now, right?
    Great post!

    1. Thanks Grippy. Evolved? Hmmm, let’s see. We have the haters and instigators, predator creditors, fear mongers and fiscal cliff dwellers.
      Nope, I’d say that’s about the extent of our evolution. Almost an entire species suffering from erectile dysfunction of one kind or another.

  6. What is wrong with our society? With young men? It saddens me the violence, disrespect and disregard for human life/dignity. I just don’t get it. I don’t know the answer, Honie. I’m not sure anyone does.

    1. It is one of the most sad examples of failure. I think we may well know the causes, and just collectively don’t like the answers. This level of degraded behavior is a symptom. We need leaders in all facets of society to stem the tide of violence. Leaders in homes, in schools, in communities. It will be in the doing if there is ever to be a difference.

  7. I want to know when it became okay to declare open season on women? When did it become okay with newspeople and news casts to forget all about the victim and say “oh these poor boys”. When did it become okay the world over to rape girls and women and expect little or no consequence? When did it become okay in our society to judge women by what they wear? To say she “must have wanted to be raped because……..” (fill in the blank). When did it become okay for politicians to demean women as lower then animals and as such should be treated that way. When did it become okay for men (and some women) to teach our young girls that being a female is something we should be ashamed of, and so we should be judged much stricter and much more unfair then males. When did it become okay to push women back a 100 years?

  8. Well said, Honie. The boys are damn lucky they weren’t tried as adults. Their sentences were extremely light to begin with. I wonder who’s paying the lawyer’s bill.

  9. Like many I am weary of hearing about the ‘tragedy’ of these boy’s future. I am weary of reading in the news and hearing it on news programs about this same tragedy. I’m weary of people 16 -17 and beyond that think because they are under 18-21 they should not have to be held responsible for thier actions. I’m weary of seeing this crap posted on twitter and facebook. I’m weary of a sociaty that lets things like this keep happening. I’m weary of being a woman who always has to be afraid of going someplace alone, wearing the ‘wrong’ clothes, acting how others think I should act, and being blamed for pretty much everything. I’m weary of having to defend other girls and women from the simple fact of BEING female. I am weary of seeing the advancement of women moving backward instead of forward.

    When did it become ok in this world to be hated, reviled, mis-used, targeted, defiled and thought of less then animals just because you were born female???

  10. Not only do I not understand how people committing the actual rape could act this way – but what about the 16 witnesses who refuse to testify? How can they so completely lack a conscience?

    1. Self preservation maybe. Some of them may be the ones facing charges later. It is unconscionable to stand by and do nothing. I cannot pretend to understand it either, Mark.

  11. I don’t understand how people who not only admitted something they did, but bragged about it and have proof of it, can appeal. I mean… how? Actions have consequences. Don’t they learn that during football practice?

    I have worked with sexual assault and domestic violence survivors for decades. Sadly, we have way too many people on the planet who find all sorts of reasons and excuses for why violence against women is okay, or isn’t really “violence”… calls this morning to NPR’s OnPoint, which discussed this case, proved that point – that she wasn’t “really” raped since it wasn’t like what happened on the bus in India. Seriously? Seriously?!? Does a woman have to die, for it to be wrong?!

    What amazes me is that I’m still horrified and shocked that people can think this way. Whether it is a politician saying that women can’t get pregnant from rape, or another who says some women “rape easy” or a law that was allowed to expire before it was finally re-enacted, or anyone who says anything other than, “What can we do to stop this, immediately?” … And, honestly, when women hold these thoughts, it feels even worse. I understand the “please dear God let this be something that can’t happen to me” idea behind “blaming the victim”, but…

    Sigh. It makes me feel so sad, so defeated, that younger generations are just as culpable. I sort of hoped, prayed, that all that women have achieved, would have made a difference in the right direction.

    Sorry…. this is long (okay, all my comments are always long!) but this whole thing…

    Thank you for this post, Honie.

    1. I think it’s good to spill some serious ink on this one! More people need to do that. There needs to be serious public discourse on this topic. Reasoned and actionable discussions with youth and among youth. They are trying to tell us something here. I think it’s time we listen.

  12. I’m with you on the appeal. No purpose there in my mind. These kids were lucky they were tried as juveniles. An adult court could have resulted in much stiffer penalties. I read about the verdict in the paper, and then in the same paper, I went on to read about a Swiss woman who was gang raped in India while her boyfriend was beaten and tied to a tree, and about other rapes that frequently occur in India. Really horrific stuff.

      1. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me. Some of these stories just stay with me throughout the day. As they should, I suppose. Wouldn’t want to be the type of person from which they quickly fade, I guess.

        1. I hear ya. I just returned from Ft. Worth, the road rage out there was fierce. Can’t seem to get away from it today. I think these events make an imprint on us and we do need a calming mechanism. Yoga is excellent for that.

  13. I am so weary of hearing about the tragedy of these boys lost future – holy cow – they raped an unconscious girl! What about her future? Why is it that our media thinks this is OK?

          1. For sure – Ohio State has a history of guys bending the law and getting away with it for the sake of the team. The first article I read on this focused on the boys football prowess and what a loss for the community it would be if this girl who was asking for it prevailed – it made me ill.

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