Well, we might as well GET INTO IT! Maybe get your second cup of coffee and then come back. You back? Ok. A much-talked about story over this past weekend was the verdict found in the case of the two young football players/rapists from Steubenville, Ohio, each of whom were found guilty and sentenced to some time in juvenile detention — one year for Ma’lik Richmond, 16, two years for Trent Mays, 17. Mays’ sentence was increased because of a nude photo he took and circulated of the unconscious victim. The story is unique in how much of it played out on social media in the past few months before heading to court last week, with the alleged — now convicted — rapists bragging and posting images on Twitter and Instagram, and with Anonymous leaking a disturbing video of some of the young men mocking the victim, while attempting to bring to light the ways in which Steubenville had attempted to keep the story quiet. In court, many disturbing and disgusting text messages were used by the prosecution, showing the young men’s confirmation of the rape, as well as their dumby-dumb knowledge that these texts could be used against them and their dumby-dumb belief that they wouldn’t. I won’t waste too much more of your time recapping and making the same points that have been made, and made better, over the weekend about the newest layer in this total fucking piece of shit nightmare, but I would be remiss not to give another platform to it — the way some media outlets, specifically CNN, have focused their sympathetic attention on the rapists and the damage this court case and their new “sex offender” labels will do to what was once their “bright and promising” futures — as if it’s something that has been done to them, rather than the appropriate response one receives after breaking the law and being an awful piece of garbage. Take it away, CNN!

“What’s the lasting effect, though, of two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape, essentially.” The dancing-around the idea that these two young man are now convicted rapists due to their own disturbing actions is incredible and intensely maddening. “Regardless of what big football players they are, they still sound like 16 year olds.” Did “Regardless of what big rapists, who used their force to repeatedly sexually assault an unconscious 16-year-old and then used social media to unapologetically brag about it for months — and who even minimized it in the court video we just saw, showing they have not learned any kind of lesson — they still sound like 16 year olds” take up too much air time?! WHAT THE FUCK, CANDY CROWLEY, POPPY HARLOW, AND MAN?

As some have suggested, it is more likely that CNN needed an watchable angle and, without the victim appearing in court herself, found it in the young, tearful rapists, than it is that any of these people are committed rape apologists. And as those same some have suggested in response to this possibility: Are you fucking serious? In a time when so many sexual crimes go unreported, and so few of those that are reported lead to any sort of conviction, it is your responsibility to not only REACT TO THE FACTS LIKE NORMAL FUCKING HUMAN BEINGS/JOURNALISTS, but to also stress the idea that RAPE IS NOT OK. Raping someone can not only give away (GIVE AWAY, not TAKE AWAY) your “promising future” but it can also “HAVE A LASTING EFFECT” ON THE VICTIM AND TAKE AWAY MORE THAN JUST THEIR ABILITY TO LAND A JOB WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T SYMPATHISE WITH A YOUNG RAPIST, WHICH IS UNFORTUNATELY FAR FROM ALL OF THE JOBS. Talk about the victim. Mention her. Mention that it is meaningless that she was drunk of her own volition (though who knows if she even was) because the crime is the same. Mention that what these young men did was disturbing, wrong, and illegal, and mention the lasting effect their actions will have on their victim. Have someone on to talk about that. What the fuck are you doing?

Comments (132)
  1. Has Forx News declared Obama’s War On Rapists yet?

  2. Candy Crowley, Poppy Harlow and Man for House of Representatives 2016!

  3. Wow, only one and two years?? I could maybe see a lighter sentence (but still not agree with it) if they were super repentant or something, but holy shit who was in charge of this sentencing verdict?!

  4. I think Kelly may have surveillance equipment in my apartment because I literally yelled that headline at the tv/radio multiple times this weekend.

  5. I just can’t imagine it. I can’t imagine how someone commits pretty much any sort of sexual assault, let alone going all the way through with raping someone. How could you do that to another human being? And in this case we’re not just talking about committing the act, but then also going around and bragging about it after the fact. They not only failed to show remorse, but seem not even to grasp that what they did was wrong in the first place. The only way I can try and understand it is to tell myself that there must be something terribly broken inside of these people, because the alternative is too awful to accept.

    Also, fuck CNN and their story angle. These kids are fucked up, and if anything we should all just be happy that this came to light before they hurt someone else.

    • Honestly, I think the CNN angle was a (very bad, lose-your-job-worthy) attempt to look at the alternative that may be true. In Boston, we recently had a widely publicized case where a 20 year old male went away for life without parole for brutally murdering his ex girlfriend and dumping her body in a swamp. That’s the sentence that I would go with! But looking at this, well, kid, who did something so truly horrifying, it was disarming. He wasn’t this perfectly hatable villainous character. He wasn’t some other species, or had a different brain than me. He made a choice that makes me sick to think about, and maybe that makes people hate him, and that’s probably ok up to a point. But to create some kind of barrier of differing humanity here… I don’t know.

      I’m getting older and I think that means I’m becoming less of an ass hole. I do, however, think there is something about a new level of moral vacuum in youth culture that is making young people positively ignorant of consequence. I mean, durrr, everyone who has turned my age has automatically started saying that about younger people since dirt first went on sale. I don’t think these two ohio rapists are broken, I think they felt entitled to the point of stupidity and total apathy. I mean, if they had people to brag TO about this crime, they had to have anticipated how those around them would receive the news. That, to me, establishes a culture of malignant selfishness and moral retardation. They are absolutely responsible, and I don’t think we should feel pity for their sentencing, but I think looking at the whole picture, we can see the broad swath of tragedy and wastefulness that evil is, and in being reminded of their humanity, remember that justice is usually never really achieved, and is always totally fucking sad.

      • I don’t think apathy or amorality is a new thing. Previous generations have done, and accepted some pretty atrocious stuff i.e. slavery, lynching and rampant rape-before-it-was-called-rape to boot. It strikes me that, like most things in the Facebook era, it’s just sooo much more public now. Stuff the used to just circulate the dank sanctum of the locker room is now spread its bacteria and hormone ridden idiocy into the sunlight of the wider media world.

        • No, I don’t think it’s new either. I think the point is, philosophical environment matters, and we are all complicit in establishing it, because it has real effects on people. I mean, I don’t think India has this bizarre and horrifying rash of GANG RAPISTS by virtue of simply being Indian. It comes from ideas and beliefs. I think there is something in the broad American mindset, or whatever, that is creating more men that are absolutely incapable of processing stress and adversity, and also men that are allowing their sexual instincts to dominate all other motivations to a gross new kind of will-to-power. I think just saying “fuck them, the punishment is the end of the discussion about them.” is premature and we only do it to make ourselves feel better, and to avoid looking at the fact that society does play a role here.

          • I wholeheartedly agree that a broader, societal view of the source of their actions is absolutely necessary, and that efforts to change both the thinking of the individual and the overall culture must both happen simultaneously. Otherwise they’d take away my soc. degree… BUT I would still argue that the evidence is weak that suggests that this is in any way a new or even accelerated phenomenon. I also would balk at the idea that this is somehow particularly American. There are a lot of corners of the world preeeetty scarily supporting the equation of “domination and disregard of women = real men.” I would agree that as Americans, given the kinds of values we regularly tout as evidence of our superiority, SHOULD be doing A LOT better though. Maybe I’m reading the wrong thing from your “a new level of moral vacuum in youth culture” statement, so stop me for sure if I am, but I think that this kind of culture-wide acceptance and even encouragement of rape culture is cross spectrum in both time and place. Smaller social networks always existed, and in their day created the philosophical environment for these behaviors to exist in just the way you’re describing, just as they do now in places with more conservative / less publicized places. If anything, I would imagine this is our real opportunity to change it, now that it’s out in the open. CNN, though, is certainly not helping in this case.

          • I mean, I’m totally open to the possibility that what I see as an acceleration is simply me becoming more aware of things, or if there is an acceleration, I’m not prepared or qualified to quantify it. I don’t think whatever it is that I’m talking about is directly addressing violent crime frequency among young people, which is apparently down significantly from peaks in the 90′s. I just see a very deep form of anesthetized nihilism in young people, augmented by hyper-individualism and materialism. When everything exists for your own pleasure (which is often equated with success), I think we’re going to start to see a kind of criminal that makes us even more uncomfortable than the statistic-cycle criminal-born-of-criminals stereotype that we’re used to.

      • Spend a little time on the various free porn aggregators out there and you see that “rape culture” is real – there is definitely a population that thinks of sex as some depersonalized thing that you “get,” and that it doesn’t really matter how you get it. People fetishize all sorts of creepy things that are actual crimes.

        Or at least…so I’ve heard…from people who look at porn…

        The problem is, ironically, that we are puritanical about teens and sex, and can’t have an adult conversation about it. So this shitty below-the-lowest-common-denominator locker room fantasy bullshit flourishes.

        Despite some efforts like “make love not porn” I think the culture is drifting in this direction, and teens have unfettered access to it.

        • See, I think the puritanical thing is a myth. That was certainly true 20 years ago, but it’s definitely talked about on a broad cultural scale without a hint of bashfulness. MTV runs 2 series about teen pregnancy/parenthood on repeat for hours a day, which I think would be more positive if it wasn’t such a soap opera feeling thing. Pop music is RAMPANT with misogyny and sexual degradation, and I do think pornography absolutely plays into all of this. We’re all just feeding this system that is pumping very bad ideas about male sexual indulgence and entitlement into young people’s heads, coupled with this insane idea that all women are sexually insatiable servants. We’ve attempted to cure sexual repression, which was a very bad thing, with commercialized sexual oppression where it’s inescapable on any popular level. The idea that sexuality is an appetite that behaves like any other appetite and should thus be treated so is one of the great errors of the sexual revolution and the nature of the crime being discussed is one of the results.

          • The puritanical thing is still at play though. For most people growing up, and heck, for people who have already “grown up” the conversations about sex are either “Let’s have an orgy because orgies are the best and we all should be comfortable with them, otherwise you obviously aren’t okay with your sexuality” or “Do not have sex. Ever. Why are we still talking about this?”

            I mean, of course feminists are off having honest conversations about sex and sexuality, but who listens to them?

          • I hear you, I think there are definitely people out there in localized authority who have a repressive approach to sexuality, but I think by and large their cultural relevancy is more or less gone, so I don’t think it’s as much of a contributing factor to the kind of case that we’re looking at here.

        • POPULAR SCIENCE HAD A LINK TO a relatively SFW Pornhub infographic of the popularity of different search strings that porn-searchers use around the world. Rape stuff was definitely in there in more than one case… (capitalization used to show where I did, and did not get the link…)

  6. Not only is this more appalling than a Muse concert, it doesn’t even make sense! If you think that sex offenders have rough lives, just ask Doug Hutchison!

  7. So I made it to 1:46 before I shut it off because it isn’t appropriate to scream with rage and hit something in an office setting. “My life is over, no one is going to want me now.” Are you sure that the rapist said that? You sure it was him? You may want to check in with the victim, you know, the innocent person who might feel that way to no good reason, except what these monsters have made her feel.

  8. They ended the assault by dumping her unconscious body on her parent’s lawn and then took turns urinating on her.
    Poor kids.

    • Wait, seriously?! I’ve been avoiding the details of this case, because it’s gross, but is that something that really happened?! Why are you filling my headstuff with these facts that make me hate everything?!

      • Yes, that is something that happened. I suggest you ignore all other details, it is disgusting and horrifying. Also, there were parents at many of these parties. FUCK THEM.

      • I don’t think that’s right, actually. “The next thing she remembers, Jane Doe said, is waking up ‘embarrassed, scared, not sure what to think,’ under a blanket in an unfamiliar place surrounded by three boys…. Two of her friends picked her up, and after a short trip to drop off the two defendants, they started yelling at her over what they were hearing about the night before.” And one of the rapists sent her a text about how it wasn’t urine but a different bodily fluid. (I hate having typed that sentence.)

        It’s not like it matters, though. This case doesn’t exist on some gradient of badness. It’s all just question-your-faith-in-humanity terrible.

        http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/steubenville-victim-testimony/63192/

    • I think the lawn was just some other person’s house… She woke up in a car and asked what happened and the guy said he protected her or something super disgusting??? The details are horrifying, so I have been zoning in and out of paying attention. And yesterday, after getting a push alert from AP (I need to unsubscribe from that crap), I fell into a whole reading all the people defending these boys… the worst being females — moms and messed up teen girls who were hysterical about their friends going to juvie for rape.

      Also, lots of people are blaming her for getting really drunk? When it very much sounded like she was drugged? Gross. Everything was gross. And then this fucking CNN thing showed up and I got really sad about the world.

    • Just nice boys.

  9. When I saw the reaction of the rapists at the verdict, my first gut reaction was to feel for them because nobody likes to see anyone sobbing. But then i thought about it for, oh, 1.5 seconds, and I was like “Wait. These guys raped an unconscious girl and then bragged about it online. Fuck them”

  10. Can someone explain to me the “controversy” behind this? That’s the word the news keeps using, but I think they mean “outrage,” because a controversy would require differing points of view. I have not heard ANYBODY defend those guys. Not even the terrible person I keep on Facebook for laughs, and she once started a Facebook group to support some people getting their children back from CPS, despite never claiming their innocence! EVEN SHE IS AGAINST THESE DUDES!

    • Oh CNN is doing a good job of defending the poor little rapists from the unfairness of being known as a rapist for raping someone. Dammit CNN, I knew you were garbage but FOX NEWS HAD A MORE ACCURATE HEADLINE. FOX NEWS. CNN go to your room. You never get dessert again.

    • Right. If CNN really thinks it’s a tragedy to “ruin this kids’ lives,” why not hire them? C’mon, CNN, you’re a Gazillion dollar company. Two years fly by. If you really think they’re good kids just hire them, become liable for them, and give them the second chance you think they deserve.

    • http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/
      The first few are dedicated to people feeling bad for the guys, because the girl “deserved it.”

  11. The worst part is that this exact thing has been happening forever. The only difference is that this time there was the internet and they were stupid enough to blog about it.

  12. Obviously this entire video was vom-inducing, but one of the things I found particularly gross was how they were talking about the one guy’s dad being an alcoholic. It seemed awfully like trying to make an excuse for him in a really emotionally manipulative way. When they talked about how his lawyer said he had never heard the dad say “I love you” to his son… um, you are his lawyer. That is meaningless unless you have been stalking him his whole life. And not like I have the stats to back this up or anything, but I’m pretty sure that having a crappy father doesn’t lead most people to become disgusting rapists. Just saying.

    • Also the way they overemphasized that there was alcohol at the parties. GOD FORBID. Because teen drinking is super rare and always transforms otherwise upstanding children into rape monsters.

      • Dude, I read the comments on one CNN article (pro tip guys, don’t do that) and they were outraged the victim wasn’t charged with underage drinking. The phrase ‘She got away scot free!’ was used. And then I had a rage seizure and died.

        • I have a strict “never read the comments” policy for all non-Videogum websites. I think it has preserved years of my life that would have been taken away by impotent rage.

          • That was part of my new goal this year–not a resolution, those suck–which was to either a) avoid articles that upset me and b) don’t read troll comments.

            Videogum is my safe place, and I thank you all for contributing to my well being.

      • What makes me so angry is that no one helped her. No one. Some girls claimed they tried, but honestly no one did. You fucking help someone who clearly needs it. You stay with her. God, I didn’t think decency was such a rarity, apparently my friends in high school and college were all saints.

        And the whole “she put herself in that situation because she got so drunk.” Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that me getting drunk means I should get raped. Fuck all of you people in the world that use the excuse of “guys can’t help themselves” for this. If I am drunk I should not be assaulted, easy as pie. Especially at fucking party with fucking adults at it.

        (so much rage)

      • I especially love this idea that so many shitty horrible people, I mean people saying something on social media have that this is why kids should be taught not to drink until they’re 21. Because OBVIOUSLY men at parties don’t commit crimes on drunk women AFTER 21. Because OBVIOUSLY rape ONLY happens when a girl gets drunk. Because OBVIOUSLY learning NOT TO RAPE REGARDLESS OF ANYONE’S LEVEL OF DRUNKENNESS isn’t something you’re capable of until you’re 21.

    • How unfortunate that his father was an alcoholic. It might help him if he gets some therapy.
      WHILE HE’S IN JAIL. FOR RAPING SOMEONE AND HAVING NO REMORSE.

  13. Uhh, could we get Lord Licorice’s take on this? Queen Frostine? Anyone from the Peppermint Forrest?

  14. From Seamus Gallagher on tumblr:

  15. gross all around but continuing to bring up that she was drunk is so fucking gross in addition to everything else. What the fuck is it going to take to teach people that rape when the victim is drunk or wearing a short skirt is THE EXACT SAME (i.e. just as bad) as chasing a nun down and raping her?

    • It’s really disgusting to me all of the people who say “she chose to get drunk” and say she obviously knew what she was doing while drunk. Not to sound like an alcoholic (but okay, maybe), but I’ve been blacked out drunk before and easily could have had things done to me without my knowledge during that time. The girl had been puking multiple times.
      ALSO- why was no one concerned that she was puking multiple times and saying she looked dead?!?! She may actually have been dying of alcohol poisoning!!

  16. Help Poppy Harlow complete her sentence about what she witnessed in the courtroom. Below you will find something that Poppy Harlow actually said, and five potential completions to her thought. Identify which completion is NOT reasonable.

    “It was incredibly emotional. Incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me to watch, as…”

    a) “…the assailant approached the victim in the courtroom.”
    b) “…a humiliating act of rape was punished with a one year sentence.”
    c) “…it was revealed that a dingo was responsible.”
    d) “…the rapists went to fake prison.”
    e) Whatever the fuck she actually said about the bright promising students.

    • I got very nervous as the one kid started walking across the room towards her during his apology. If I was that nervous, I can’t imagine how she felt.

  17. Also, maybe convicted rapists should be labeled “sex offenders” and have to inform their neighbors and stuff.

  18. Not going to watch the video because I really like my job and don’t want to lose it by shouting expletives at my desk, but just wanted to point out that CNN(.com) did mention the victim. Except it was a few days earlier, with a headline of “Alleged Victim Breaks Down in Court” or something along those lines. It talked about how two days ago (before the sentencing), the victim went on the stand and, understandably, began to cry as she went over her horrendous experiences.
    So now, as I’ve come to expect from the 24 hour need for news, they’ve completely disregarded the old news and are focusing on the new news, which is that these two young rapists have been sentenced. Then CNN’s talking heads spoke about it, probably honestly, and people disagreed. Because, yeah, it’s sad that two young guys are going to forever be labeled as something negative, but it’s their own fault for doing something extremely terrible.
    So once the talking heads said these insensitive comments (which at least point out that there are consequences, although the recaps I’ve seem to point out that they don’t highlight the most important aspect: Rape Is Bad), the internet latched onto them. I can’t tell you what they’ve said in the past 72 hours, because the blogs I read and my Facebook friends weren’t posting about it.
    Maybe when they covered the victim’s break down in court, the talking heads also said stuff like, “it’s incredibly difficult to watch a young girl’s life ruined like that.” Or something along those lines. At least I hope they did. If anyone has all of CNN DVR’d, that would be really helpful in pointing out the news conglomerate’s mistakes.

    • There is just no need to feel sympathy for these boys and talk about their lives being “ruined” when they are the ones who did that by raping an unconscious girl. It is disgusting for CNN to be talking about the boys being labeled as sex offenders as if it was some kind of terrible thing that happened TO them and not BY them because they raped someone.

  19. So how about that one-way trip to Mars, you guys?

  20. Yes it is sad that these kids lives are ruined but not as sad as that girl’s life. She didn’t have a choice in the matter they did.

  21. There’s a reality show in the Netherlands where people will compete to populate the first mars colony:
    http://www.space.com/16300-mars-one-reality-show-colony.html

    If we go this route, we could escape rape-apologist earth and Max Silvestri could write recaps about our progress! win win!

  22. Wait, so, like, I know all the people on Videogum are like super upset about this case, and also (especially) this coverage, but, like,

    WHY AREN’T MORE PEOPLE UPSET ABOUT THIS?! WHY ISN’T EVERYONE EVER REALLY FUCKING UPSET ABOUT THIS?!

  23. “I feel bad for/actually like these fucking rapists. I think their raping problems are the result of a rough childhood or something(?) and they’re just no good at handling them, like a lot of people. Plus, they make some really good football. No bullshit.” – CNN

  24. At the end of the day, though, forget this CNN blip (which, yes, I get that it’s an outrage, but in terms of the 24-hour news cycle, it’s a blip) and focus on the fact that the two who were charged were ultimately convicted. That’s the good news in all of this. Let’s not make our own (legitimate) outrage the story here. The fact is that in spite of the collusion of the adults around them, these two minors who had every social advantage over the victim (hometown sports heros, etc), were nonetheless unable to escape the justice system. That’s a very good thing. So maybe let’s try to make this less about US and how outraged WE are by some shitty network’s reporting and instead focus on the precedent set by this case and it’s outcome.

    • ITS outcome, obvs, ITS outcome, goddammit

    • Idk, they got one and two year juviesentences. There’s cases of teenage weed dealers getting harsher punishments. I prefer to be upset about every aspect of this case and the culture it reflects.

      • But the sentences adhered to the sentencing guidelines as mandated by the state of Ohio; it’s not as though the prosecutors sought a mild sentence because they didn’t assign any seriousness to a crime of this nature. So, under the law as it exists, they got the sentence that they could. At least, that’s my understanding.

    • Well said. I only wish you posted this sooner so it appeared further up the thread and more people would see it. Even though they should have gotten longer sentences, the fact that they were convicted is a very good thing. Especially when you factor in the horrifying statistics regarding the percentages of cases where the rapist gets away with it.

    • Well, I wouldn’t say so much “good thing” so much as “thing that at least provides a small amount of grim satisfaction, because a truly good thing would not involve a young girl being violated first.”

  25. 2 things that bother the hell out of me about this case besides the rape:

    1. One of the guys apologized, not for the rape, but for the fact he recorded naked pictures of the victim with his phone. Basically, his apology was the teen rapist version of “I would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for those kids and their dog” aka the Scooby-Doo villain apology. APOLOGIZE FOR RAPE!!! THERE’S ALWAYS TIME FOR THAT!

    2. The football culture in Steubenville. Supposedly when the school caught wind of this their coach confiscated their phones to wipe incrimination information from them. DO NOT COVER UP A RAPE! GIVE EVIDENCE TO THE POLICE!

    As a woman, the lack of progress concerning the prosecution of rape crimes kills me.

    • On the slight positive side, think that the people who tried to cover it up failed, think that for all the rape-culture world that encloses this case on all sides, the public outrage, the most consistent, fierce public voice was on the victim’s side, and even if the quality of the victory isn’t what we want, there was still a victory.

    • You don’t have to be upset as a woman. In this case, it’s fine to be upset as a human being.

  26. Fuck those dudes (figuratively, financially, etc. Not literally).

  27. Good lord, athletes are like flawless god-emporers to some people, aren’t they?

  28. In the UK the Oscar Pistorius murder case is being handled the same way. All the papers say things like “perhaps he’s being punished enough because the woman he wanted to marry is dead” which makes no sense, because he’s the man who killed her. Everyone is also always talking about what a fallen hero he is … and all they say about Reeva is that she was a model alongside a full page photo of her in her underwear.

  29. “Rape, essentially” is OUR generations “rape-rape”.

  30. Holy shit. There must be an Onion article in the works that mashes up the exact sentiments of this video with the horrifying details of the rape. This is truly absurd.

  31. Has CNN responded to the (internet wide) hatred directed at them for this? They owe everyone an explanation (if not apology) for this, right??

  32. She chose to get drunk. So did THEY. I chose to put half-n-half in my cereal today because a friend told me it would be better than milk. He was right, but I forget where I’m going with this.

    Oh wait, I remember, I was just posting a list of THINGS THAT DON’T FUCKING MATTER JESUS CHRIST STOP PERPETUATING RAPE CULTURE.

  33. Just watched the video for the first time and wanted to say that, on top of every other fucked up thing you guys have recounted in these comments, it’s also REALLY fucked up that CNN left the victim’s name uncensored in that footage. UGH.

  34. You notice how everyone bristled about that poor, Indian girl dying after being raped and viciously sodomized, and how it was all over the news and no American defended the attackers. Well, here we have a less violent/deadly version of that and the perpetrators are getting sympathy.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.