Sympathy for the Steubenville Rapists? No Way! (VIDEO)

Rant 13

steubenville rape sympathy cnnShould we have any sympathy for teen rapists Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond? Headlines for the convictions were still fresh when I noticed my friends expressing outrage over the sympathy reporters gave the Steubenville rapists. CNN's Poppy Harlow said she found it incredibly difficult "to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart."

Watch what happened to them? Poppy, what the hell are you talking about?!? This is something Mays and Richmond did to themselves! They sexually assaulted a girl, and now they're facing the consequences. Will their actions haunt them for the rest of their lives? God, I hope so. But if I do feel any sympathy for them at all, it's that they were apparently raised in a community that set them up to rape.

Last week I wrote about Zerlina Maxwell's call for men to be taught not to rape. And while a lot of people get that, many others seemed to think that was just a crazy, irresponsible idea. Why do we need to teach men not to rape? Don't they already know? Isn't that common sense? 

No, it's NOT common sense. Not for everyone. When Mays and Richmond raped their victim they didn't seem to recognize what they were doing as rape. They probably had this one rape scenario in their minds: Rape is when a stranger holds a knife up to a woman's throat and forces her to have intercourse with him. If she says "no" clearly and loudly and maybe a bunch of times so you know she's not just a dick tease, then you know it's rape. But rape can take many different forms.

Richmond and Mays didn't act in a vacuum. They were surrounded by friends who witnessed the rape and did nothing. Their friends laughed and passed around photos and video of the victim. It was all just a big joke to everyone until arrests were made.

Reports on Steubenville have painted a portrait of a town where football stars can do just about whatever they want. They can party as much as they want, they're entitled to sex, and they can treat women as props for their jokes -- and there will always be a grownup who will clean up the mess and keep them out of trouble. That's not just a parenting fail. That's a whole community fail. 

Meanwhile, all over social media people are sticking up for the rapists and blaming their victim. Houston, we have a problem.

You would think everyone would have learned something here about how rape is defined by the law and how it's wrong to have your way with an unconscious girl, but it'll probably happen again. Why? Because too many people don't believe you can teach boys and men not to rape. Because too many people refuse to believe "nice" boys rape girls and women they know. Because too many people are in denial. Because it's always easier to blame the drunk girl for putting herself in danger. Because we still lack the courage to change our culture of rape.

Do you feel any sympathy for Mays and Richmond?


Image via CNN

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nonmember avatar Rory Gilmore

Sympathy? No. What they did was horrific. I do, however, pity them. It is sad whenever people do such horrible things at young ages. And from what I've read of their testimonies, they just don't get the severity of what they've done.

Bloom... Bloomie79

Nope no sympathy for the rapists, they knew at the time what they were doing was wrong, their friends told them in the moment that it was wrong. I don't believe that the digital penetration is all that happened to her and I don't believe that only two boys assaulted her. The punishment in this case is not even close to harsh enough.

LeeshaE LeeshaE

I agree with Bloomie. No sympathy for those boys from me, they should have been charged as adults.

Melan... MelanieJK

It's not a zero sum issue.    The boys are 100% responsible for what they did.     That doesn't mean we should ignore her behavior.    In a couple of years she's the girl who leaves a bar falling down drunk to "sleep it off in her car" never to be seen alive again.     Or the kid who kills himself and/or friends on the way home because nobody was sober enough to take his keys.   

Drinking is fine.   Drinking irresponsibly is not.    Either teach your kids that or be prepared to seek solace for their fate in the justice system.   

lobus lobus

Im glad I wasnt he only one who noticed. I was listening to CNN on my radio when she was interviewing the boy's dad and I was like am I missing something here?? These boys raped her. They admitted to it by saying sorry to her. And the reporters seemed so sad for If they ruined their lives, they have themselves and perhaps their shitty parents to blame. I was appalled at the sympathy CNN was showing.

Todd Vrancic

Someone should slap those rapists upside the head repeatedly, Gibbs-style.

Rene' M. Guenther-Beseler

These boys should have known better with all the media discussion of what constitutes rape and therefore deserve being labeled for the rest of their lives! Shame on CNN for this biased coverage, but this is not the first time nor the last, I'm sure.

Brandi Nelson

  I feel bad all around. I feel bad that these boys couldn't or didn't want to recognize what they were doing was wrong. I feel bad that the girl didn't know her limit on drinking or didn't have a buddy system in place with other girlfriends. I know they still are not clear if it was just to much alcohol or if she was drugged to. Keep in mind people feeling bad  doesn't mean I don't think they deserve what they get. I think they should have been charged as adults for the crime the committed was adult like.  Maybe this school and others need to go over in classes or an assembly about what is rape.

Betsy Ryland

No I don't feel sorry for them! You have to know the town and its "football" status to understand that the football boys don't have to follow the same rules as everyone else! Whooooops, you got caught this time! Suck it up cupcake and take your medicine like a man! You should have been charged as adults!

Kediset Kediset

I think the worst part if that they figured it wasn't rape if they weren't being forceful about it. Dude, what the heck? -facepalm-

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