Steubenville Rape Defense: It’s Not Rape Because Drunken, Barely Conscious Girl Didn’t Say ‘No’

Author: March 12, 2013 10:26 am
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In rape culture, this is consent.

In January, Anonymous made headlines for decidedly nonpolitical reasons as they exposed yet another sports town as a safe harbor for rapists. Two local jocks, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were stupid enough to take pictures of themselves sexually assaulting an intoxicated and unconscious girl while several of their friends were not only stupid enough to record themselves joking about it, they put it online. But the defense team for Mays and Richmond have a very peculiar notion of how to keep their clients out of jail. Via The Atlantic Wire:

The very public trial of the very publicly shamed “rape crew” will begin on Wednesday in Steubenville, Ohio, and despite pre-trial testimony from three as-yet-untried high-school athletes who say they witnessed an unconscious 16-year-old dragged around by her hands and feet, and slurring her words, and at one point lying on the ground before she was penetrated, it appears that the lawyers for Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond will say the case’s Jane Doe consented to the whole thing. We’re not kidding. “Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer‘s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.”


It’s clear that the defense is banking on rape culture carrying the day. In the alternate reality of rape culture, rape isn’t rape if the girl was “asking for it.” They’re hoping for a jury where at least of few of them will subscribe to Bill O’Reilly’s personal theory of responibility. Said theory states that a drunken woman that gets raped really has no one to blame but herself. She was, after all, drunk and everyone knows that drunk people deserve to have non-consensual sex forced on them. Victim blaming is a prime component of rape culture.

This is going to be a tough sell for even a disgusting misogynist like O’Reilly. The pictures from that night are clearly of an unconscious or barely conscious girl. The video from the “Rape Crew” clearly indicates that the girl was not able to communicate in any meaningful fashion. One particularly vile segment of the video shows one of these upstanding citizens making joke after joke about how “dead” the girl was.

“…an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.”

Really? Good luck with that.

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3 Comments

  • So getting a 16 year old GIRL drunk and taking advantage of her sexually, is neither statuatory rape, nor the standard rape? Not even the crime of supplying alcohol to a minor?

    Since they’re jocks, I’m surprised they made it to trial.

  • It’s interesting how the story has changed. When it first came out, there was no time for the young woman (not a girl) to have gotten drunk, as her first drink was allegedly spiked with a date rape drug. Which is probably why she had no recollection of what happened to her the night before.
    But, you go on ahead perpetrating the story that she drank so much she passed out. She didn’t even want to go to the party and had to be coerced into it by “friends.”

  • Gee, I hope the boys parents are really proud. Such fine, upstanding citizens seeing to it that their son’s take full responsibility for their actions. Why, I’m SURE they’ll demand their son’s attorney’s not stoop to such vile and disgusting levels and allow them to victimize the CLEARLY BARELY conscious victim! I’m sure they will direct said attorney’s to enter guilty pleas on behalf of their clients and said clients will man up and face the results of their piss-poor actions!

    Uh, wait … oh, that’s right. Many of today’s parents are completely ignorant to what their ‘little darlings’ do when out eye sight all while whining, “My child would NEVER do such a thing!” regardless of the evidence to the contrary …

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