The ink is still drying on the sentence for the Steubenville rapists, and already one of them is appealing. Ma'lik Richmond, the younger of the two football players convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl, has mounted an appeal of the guilty verdict on a claim that his "brain isn't fully developed." Somehow we're supposed to believe that a 16-year-old boy's brain couldn't handle the fact that rape is wrong.
And now for the scary part: as backward and ridiculous as the claim sounds, what's more ridiculous is that people might believe it. The appeal could work.
How do I know? The same way that Richmond's lawyers do. I took a test reading of the temperature in America right now, and it left me cold.
This week we have had reporters and hosts on major American television networks sympathetically discussing the fates of Richmond and his fellow rapist, Trent Mays, 17. This week we have had the name of a child rape victim reported by careless journalists.
This week average Americans have said the following about a child who was raped:
It wasnt a brutal rape and although these young men took advantage of her and fingered her she put herself in that position especially drinking to the point of no memory. When it comes down to it, it's on you.
Brutally raped? Hardly. She was finger banged.
seriously the girl shoulnt be out drinking at 15-16 and she should know.if shes drinking to stay with friends i feel bad for her but in a way i dont... Whoooo reallly knows thats she was raped girls consent to sexxx everyyyydayyyyyy and thennn alll of a sudden there raped when daddy or mommy finds out and who knows ive heard of parenta paying there kids bribeing there kids to claimmmm rape
Those were all comments posted yesterday, right here on The Stir. They all blame a young victim of sexual assault for the atrocities that happened to her.
They all make excuses for the boys who raped her.
So what's another excuse?
According to Richmond's attorney, Walter Madison, he's mounting an appeal for his client because:
I don't believe that a person at 75 years old should have to explain for something they did at 16 when scientific evidence would support your brain isn't fully developed ... when evidence in the case would suggest that you were under the influence.
Of course. If a 16-year-old's brain isn't yet developed enough to know that rape is wrong, why do we allow 16-year-olds to drive cars, get jobs ...
But when the whole world is telling this kid he deserves sympathy, it's no wonder he believes it.
Do you think this appeal could be successful? What do you think of his reasons?
Image via Victor/Flickr