This letter is an apology. An apology for being an adult who has failed to make the world safe for you. Because you should be safe. Even when you make the sometimes stupid, often naive choices that teens make, you should be safe.
Your vulnerability should not invite assault and attack of your body or your spirit. And so I am sorry, because we have failed to teach your male peers that they have no right to touch you without your consent or to use you to meet their needs or to discard you if your victimization does not fit their life plan. I am sorry we have failed you.
This letter is also a note of gratitude for your willingness to report this crime, to take the stand, and to endure the viciousness hurled at you this week. I know the words that run in a loop in your mind. Don’t tell. If you tell, no one will believe you. If you tell, everyone will think you are a whore. Sometimes he is the one who says them first, spewing the words like mold spores that grow in the darkness of your silence. Sometimes it’s your own voice telling you, I can’t tell. No one will believe me. It’s the reason 54%of survivors never report the assault. It’s the reason I kept my secret for nearly a decade. But not you, beloved. You demanded the right to be heard.
You may have lost your voice that night, but you found it again when you told the truth–even though you knew, didn’t you? You knew just how relentlessly they would try to silence you.
You knew that neighbors, and friends, and even members of the national media would mourn the loss of your attackers’ football careers more than the loss of your innocence. You knew that even those who claimed to be sympathetic would pass along the pictures of your assault with a tone deaf voyeurism that seeks to make you a thing instead of a person. I think maybe you knew, or suspected these things, but you spoke out anyway.
And that…that is astonishing. And I want to say thank you, because you did what so many of us never find the strength to do. You spoke for yourself. You spoke for the 44% of rape victims who are under 18–and you spoke for my 14-year-old self, who still hears that threat echoing in my head, “Don’t tell. No one will believe you.”
So, this is my apology and this is my gratitude. This is me saying, “I believe you.”
And I believe you are inherently valuable. Not as a character in some grotesque news cycle where your assault is all we know, but as a girl with hopes and dreams and ambitions and vulnerabilities and so much more growing up to do. I never need to know your name, but I need you to know you are not alone. Surviving is not a single occurrence, it is a lifetime of making choices that honor you and your right to speak. You have begun surviving. You will continue surviving. And if you ever get down, or wonder how you will go on, take out this letter and read it to yourself.
Here is the video of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond apologizing and crying in court. Sorry about your entitled upbringing and incredibly destructive behavior young men. Welcome to the awful world you’ve been sheltered from.
TRIGGER FUCKING WARNING RAPE AND THE STATE OF THE UNION
DO YOU FUCKING REMEMBER HOW A GIRL IN OHIO WAS DRUGGED AND GANG-RAPED REPEATEDLY AT SEVERAL DIFFERENT PARTIES IN ONE NIGHT?
BTW - When Ma’lik says ‘No one will want me now.’ HE’S TALKING ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Gross. Click for a detailed account of what happened to the VICTIM and why. Also, why Anonymous got involved.
Judge Thomas Lipps told the Steubenville, Ohio court that he reviewed the case’s documents and text messages again. He said that many of the things learned during the trial were “profane” and “ugly.”
Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, were both sentenced to at least one year in juvenile jail and could be held until they are 21 years old. Mays was sentenced to an additional year for a charge related to distributing nude images of a minor.
Both teens were told to avoid contact with the victim at least until they are 21 and both were required to register as juvenile sex offenders.
Mays’ attorney called him a “family-oriented, loving, young man” and asked the judge for leniency.
Mays briefly addressed the court saying, “I would truly like to apologize to [the victim] and her family.”
Richmond cried as he approached the front of the courtroom. ”I would like to apologize,” he said, struggling to speak through his sobs. “I had no intentions to do anything like that. I’m sorry to put you guys through this.”
Ma’lik’s lawyer and father cried as they spoke about his difficult family history involving alcoholism.
A reason rape continues is that communities refuse to hold perpetrators responsible while closing ranks to defend or even celebrate the rapist.
In Aug 2012 a 16 year old girl was raped in a High School Football dominated town. The self titled “rape crew” may have planned the assault as revenge after the victim broke up with Cody Saltsman who sent messages stating that “nobody breaks up with Cody Saltsman, Ill ruin that bitch”. This was a month before the rape. Saltsman’s best friend,Trent Mays, started texting the victim asking her for a date.
‘mammabear’, tweeted: ‘The plan began. Your friend will pretend to like her. You will have her bring him to the party where she can be… kidnapped, raped, sodomized, defecated on, photographed, videoed, HUMILIATED publicly OVER and OVER again.
And thats just what they did; allegedly drugging her, dragging the victim from party to party, exposing her breast for photographs, penetrating her with their hands, gang raping her vaginally and anally, urinating on her, etc. All the while sending pictures and video over social media.
While Steubenville, Ohio tried to keep this story quite Anonymous has kept a spotlight on the case, claiming officials are covering up the crime that may involve other football players. Anonymous has organized protests including another one for Saturday, and recovered some online posts that were deleted by students.
Nearly 1 in 5 women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Three women a day die at the hands of their boyfriends or husbands.
And yet the media wants us to take the men’s word… she had given consent.
The “rape crew” includes Trent Mays, Malik Richmond, Michael Colin Nodianos, Charlie Keenan, and Cody Saltsman. All Big Red Football players. Cody was initially charged with the other two. Trent and Malik are no longer being tried as adults and are out on bail.
A video shows Michael Nodianos talking about the rape and referring to the teen involved as a “dead girl” for over 12 min. Others in the video tried to explain the situation. “What if that was your daughter?” someone asked. “If that was my daughter, I wouldn’t care. I would just let her be dead.” He went on to ask “is it really rape if you don’t know if she wanted to or not? She might have wanted it. That might have been her final wish.”
After hacking Mr. Park’s e-mail and finding several photos of young women Anonymous claims that James “Jim” Parks, an avid fan and is the webmaster/owner of a private fan site for the team, might have been hiring the players to go to parties and send him pics of girls they take advantage of. James “Jim” Parks E-Mail Files
Watch Sheriff Abdalla lie to protesters. He states that being aware of the attack is not a crime. Wrong! Witnessing a crime and failing to report it is in itself a crime – if not conspiracy or being an accessory. He says that he has nothing to do with the investigation, then states that he assisted the local police department in confiscating cell phones and other electronics. Where several key pieces of evidence were “inadvertently” deleted. And finally he states that he can not investigate the attack because it is not his jurisdiction even though a Sheriffs authority, under constitutional law, even trumps the federal law enforcement agencies in his own county. Allegedly, Sheriff Abdalla runs the largest illegal gambling operation in Jefferson County – employing bookies who work out of the Spot Bar. Sheriff Abdulla’s brother is the largest importer of cocaine in Jefferson County.
The Sheriff and Head Football Coach have breakfast a couple of times a week.
Coach Reno A. Saccoccia motto to his boys is: “lie till you die”. When he became aware of the rape he attempted to hold off sheriff deputies, encouraging his “boys” to delete everything. Mr. Saccoccia has formed a social and academic bubble of protection where the players are carefully segregated and take their exams separate from other students, and encouraged to cheat. The teachers assist the players in cheating on state tests which the players have a 100% pass rate on. Assistant Coach Pierro allows the boys to view porn on his computer – and provides drugs and alcohol to those who are “extra” deserving. The “date rape” drug used on the victim of the rape was supplied by known drug dealer Nathan Hubbard, who is also a patron of the Spot Bar in Steubenville. He did not suspend or bench any player.
Prosecuting Attorney Jane Hanlin is the mother of Charlie Keenan. She represented Edward “Eddie” Lulla in a civil legal matter after which Mr. Lulla is now an agent for the BCI who was sent by the State of Ohio to lend oversight to the rape investigation. The BCI has found everything to be going smoothly. Eddie’s son recently joined Steubenville’s Police Department. When the family of the victim went to file the charges, Jane Hanlin was present. She strongly discouraged them from filing, telling them that her name was going to be dragged through the mud, she will be in and out of court for well over two years, the press wouldn’t leave any of the family alone. In May of 2012, Mrs. Hanlin’s office handled a case where Ed Wilson, a football player, and two other individuals shot out the windows of 14 vehicles. Despite being arrested, and confessing to the crime Ed was never sentenced or paid restitution. In another case Mrs. Hanlin testified as a character witness for Branko Busick, a former football player after he was charges were armed robbery. She was testifying as a private citizen but several references were made to both her position and her husband’s in the PD. Even after receiving notice from the Attorney General’s office she remained on the School Board. Her first husband is Charlie Keenan, former SHS principal and star athlete in his day.
On Democracy Now Amy spoke with rape survivor and journalist for Ebony Zerlina who had an interesting point about the climate we raise our children in.
AMYGOODMAN: Zerlina, you wrote a piece this week, “Five Ways We Can Teach Men Not to Rape.” Talk about those ways.
ZERLINAMAXWELL: Yes. We need to teach people what consent is. And, you know, this week we’re seeing in Ohio the Steubenville rape trial with two high school football players, and the defense attorney is basically arguing that she was too drunk in order to say no, and so that means she’s implying that she consented to everything that happened when she began drinking that night. And, you know, number one on the list is, we need to teach young men about consent, because I think it’s not that people don’t know that rape is wrong. I think we all can agree that, you know, people know that it’s wrong. But I think a lot of people don’t know what rape is. And so, there are times when young men will be in a situation where they do something that they think is ambiguous, but in—legally, it’s classified as rape. And, you know, it all comes down to consent and knowing what that is.
AMYGOODMAN: One of the things you talk about and you raised on Fox and you talk about in your piece on the Steubenville case, which is headlined “Why Acquaintance Rape is Not a Myth” —
Zerlina who has been told women should carry guns to prevent rape points out that 80 percent of women, are raped by someone they know. If you are a responsible gun owner the weapon would be locked away while people you trust are in your space.
During his “We Saw Your Boobs” song Seth MacFarlane listed off women who’s breasts he’d seen in their movies. As if this isn’t grotesque enough four of the instances he listed were scenes of rape or the character was raped during the movie.
Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry.
Jodie Foster in The Accused.
Jessica Chastain in Lawless.
Charlize Theron in Monster.
Holy SHIT. This is new information to me and wow just so not okay
Jesus fucking christ.
First of all, it’s really fucked up that he would sing a song called “we saw your boobs” anyway. How about a “we saw your dick” song? I wanna hear that shit. And then to take his objectification a step further and sexualize brutal scenes depicting rape? You’re a real fucking prize, Seth MacFarlane.
A rape victim lives in every other house in the slum, say the residents of Kasturba Nagar. He violated women to control men, ordering his henchmen to drag even girls as young as 12 to a nearby derelict building to be gang-raped.
When one 22-year-old reported being raped by Yadav, the police accused her of having an affair with him and sent her away. Several others were sent away after being told: “You’re a loose woman. That’s why he raped you.”
On the day of Yadav’s hearing, 200 women came to the court armed with vegetable knives and chilli powder. As he walked in, Yadav spotted one of the women he had raped. He called her a prostitute and threatened to repeat the crime against her. The police laughed. She took off her sandal and began to hit him, shouting, “We can’t both live on this Earth together. It’s you or me.”
Akku Yadav was lynched by a mob of around 200 women from Kasturba Nagar. It took them 15 minutes to hack to death the man they say raped them with impunity for more than a decade. Chilli powder was thrown in his face and stones hurled. As he flailed and fought, one of his alleged victims hacked off his penis with a vegetable knife. A further 70 stab wounds were left on his body. The incident was made all the more extraordinary by its setting. Yadav was murdered not in the dark alleys of the slum, but on the shiny white marble floor of Nagpur district court.
The story inside follows up on the juries’ refusal to convict now former NYPD officer Michael Pena on charges of rape for allegedly raping and sodomizing a schoolteacher on her way to work in the morning (because victim couldn’t remember color of parked car) he was convicted, instead of predatory sexual assault, a higher charge that may mean life in prison but still makes the layperson wonder: Why not rape?
She described in graphic detail how the cop threatened to shoot her with his service revolver if she resisted.
She told the court how he violated her repeatedly on a raw, wooden table.
She said she knew for sure it was rape because she begged him not to — and because “it hurt.”
But a Manhattan jury made up of highly educated professionals refused to convict Officer Michael Pena of rape for a startling reason —
“If she doesn’t remember these details, how does she know she was penetrated,” one of the holdouts reportedly said, according to sources.
It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too: I spoke out about sexual harassment among atheists and scientists. Then came the rape threats.
“When I first started finding a large audience on my skepticism website, on my podcast, and on YouTube, I wasn’t terribly bothered by the occasional rape threat, sexist slur, or insult about my looks. There was something downright amusing about a creationist calling me a cunt while praying that I’d find the love of Jesus. The threats were coming from outside of my community. Outside of my safe space. It wasn’t until I started talking about feminism to skeptics that I realized I didn’t have a safe space.”
If you’ve a longtime New Yorker, you likely remember the case of the Central Park 5, 1 just fourteen, 3 fifteen, and one 16, who in 1989 were accused of the rape of a female Wall Street banker. The boys were Black and Latino; the woman, white.
The younger boys — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam — were sentenced to 5-10 years and each served 7. Sixteen-year old Kharey Wise was sentenced to 5-15 years and had served 13 when Matias Reyes confessed in 2002.
Neither the police who questioned some of these children without their parents nor the prosecutors who obtained convictions have been held to account for the 41 cumulative stolen years or the irreversible harm done by incarceration during their coming of age.
Rather than lift the sexual offender label and offer some financial recompense, the City of New York has spent the last 7 years fighting the Five’s efforts to get some measure of cure.
These men go back to court on Monday, September 24 at 3:30 PM. Please stand with them. They are our sons, brothers, fathers, neighbors, friends.They are you. Tell the city to, finally, do the right thing.
Monday 9/24/12; NEW TIME 3:30 PM Federal Court House 500 Pearl Street - Room 18 D Magistrate Judge Ellis
here are some of the arguments that i edited for a defense attorney who specialized in defending men accused of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence
* these cases work in a peculiar way — the jury won’t be swayed if the lawyer seems to be attacking a victim (especially female). so the defense plays up how smart and well-balanced the woman seems and how helpless and naive the guy is. if you’re cross-examining a woman and ask her nicely about a string of achievements — “you graduated summa cum laude from an ivy league school, correct?” “you started your own business, correct?” “you are in charge of over 40 people at your company, correct?” “if one of your employees behaved inappropriately, you would have no problem reprimanding or firing them, correct?” “a smart woman isn’t likely to stay with a man who beats her every night, right? does that sound right to you?” — the jury ends up having sympathy for her, but believing that she’s too smart (or pretty or accomplished or whatever vein the attorney picks) to let bad things happen to her
* when he cross-examines his own clients he emphasizes that they’re either too morally sound or too confused, “it was just a mistake,” so that sometimes you can admit that there was an altercation but (he tells the jury, shaking his head) you can’t call it rape because that’s too strong
* “victim pretended to be unconscious following alleged rape to avoid answering friend’s questions” - that’s a section heading for a case summary
* “friend did not initially believe explanation” - that’s the heading of the next section. in this particular case, the attorney cross-examined the victim’s friends and got them to admit that she was just a dramatic person, or flustered, pointing to signs that she either lied about this case or chronically lies/exaggerates * “victim had time to consider her circumstances before accusing client of rape” - she took until the next day to go to the police station, soooo * point out all the different ways she could have resisted or every possible sign of resistance that wasn’t there — the prosecution will focus on the few signs they have, but the defense can be really smarmy here and list every single way she did not resist
* if the woman was drunk, and the prosecution says she was unable to consent because she was drunk, the defense can call in experts on alcohol absorption and grill them until they admit that there’s a margin of error (“Since it was our contention that the alleged victim had exaggerated her level of intoxication to attract attention, and was not, therefore, too intoxicated to consent to sexual relations, the main goal of this cross-examination is to undermine the credibility of the chemist’s retrograde extrapolation calculations.” that’s a quote from a book i edited)
* and of course the good ol focusing on her sexual history, any flaws she could have, emphasize that these are human flaws and that nobody in this case deserves any punishment these are very convincing arguments to juries and that’s why we hesitate to report our sexual assaults and rapes, because “it’s not that big of a deal,” because there’s no way we could “let” that happen to us; because once we get to the police station they ask “what took you so long” and “how could you let that happen to you”; because when you get to the courtroom you’re subjected to this; and the time and the money and “i just want this to be over.” and then…the jury is so easily convinced. they say 1 in 4 women has been sexually assaulted, but i really think it’s more, and i don’t even want to know how many sexual assaults and rapes have happened with absolutely no mention — or even recognition — of them happening (from either party). let alone retribution
And people tell me that our society doesn’t perpetuate rape culture.
Our society perpetuates rape culture like no other. It makes me sick. Do you know that most colleges don’t have zero-tolerance policies in place against sexual offendors?
What does this mean? It means that a male student can assualt a female student, in her dorm, on college property, and be found guilty of it, and still be allowed to finish their education there and receive their degree there.. while the person they attacked is more likely to never finish their degree than their assualtant.
Fuck the denial of rape culture - it contributes to more sexual assault and more people feeling like they won’t be taken seriously, or treated with respect, if they do speak out.
it’s okay guys rape jokes are totally cool after all it’s not like normal people would ever condone rape right????
You know who thinks all Gus rape? Rapists. There are studies and nearly all rapists believe all men don’t require concent. Fact.