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


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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