If You Thought Male Privilege and Rape Culture Didn’t Exist In America, Think Again

Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond are going to juvenile hall for at least a year.  The two boys held an inebriated girl, one holding her hands, the other holding her feet.  The boys then penetrated the girl with their fingers.  They videoed their crime and the video spread throughout the internet.

During the 12-minute video, the girl was mocked mercilessly and the boys that surrounded her joked about sexual assault.  The girl was too inebriated to remember the entirety of her violation.

The trial of Mays and Richmond has ended.  The judge gave Mays and Richmond one year for rape.  Mays got an additional year for disseminating child pornography.  The two boys would also have to register as sex offenders.  What these two boys did was horrific, disturbing, and disgusting, but you wouldn’t know it, based on the media coverage.

CNN stressed how the boys were “promising students”, NBC News speaks about their, “promising football careers”, and USA Today stressed how the victim was drunk.  And then, there was this shining gem of video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MvUdyNko8LQ

The entire video lamented on how these boys lives would be affected by this.  They focused on how the boys would be haunted, how the boys had a lot of promise, how the boys lives would be made harder afterwards.  There was only passing mention of the victim.  The entire newscast was a pity party for the criminals.

It’s situations like these which make me question my understanding of people.  I honestly don’t know how coverage of a rape trial can turn to garnering sympathy for the rapists, as it has been in this case.  I don’t know how you can look at this case and not give any sort of sympathy towards the victim.  Too many news sites noted how the girl was drunk and how that played a factor in the crime.  All this shows to me is the double standard with which men and women are held to.  Many people may think that gender issues and male privilege no longer exist; they are clearly wrong.  This case shows how women are expected to always be well-behaved while men can get away with a lot more.  The victim is looked down upon because she got drunk at a party.  If the victim were a man, all of the news coverage would be speaking about how the victim was taken advantage of.  But no; getting drunk at a party is not lady-like, so she gets the heat for it.  The fact that she was drunk at a party should be irrelevant in the case.  SHE.  WAS.  RAPED.  No matter how drunk a person gets at a party, they have the right not to be violated.  Why isn’t that said?  Why are male privilege and rape culture allowed to prevail in this sort of way?  Have we not gotten past the 17th Century?  The media needs to get it together, and actually report about the real issues at hand.

And don’t give me that shit about how women should try to behave better because of men like the boys in this case.  A man’s bad behavior should not be a woman’s responsibility.  Women shouldn’t have to make accommodations for men’s shortcomings.  Men should be held responsible for their own actions.  This whole construct not only hurts women, but it hurts men as well.  It tells men that they are not able to behave in a civilized manner and lowers expectations for them.  That is not ok.  This presents a negative stereotype for men, which they are then, in turn, allowed to act upon. We should expect better.We should expect a world where men are expected to behave properly and face real consequences when they do not.  When they commit heinous crimes like these two boys did, they should not be getting news coverage about how their lives are ruined and how their lives are going to be harder.  Do these people even stop to think about the issues the victim will have to face?  Do they even have any concern about how she was savagely violated?  Do they have any concern about the possible psychological effects that could suffice as a result of this crime?  Do they think about how others will perceive her from now on?  Is there any concern at all for this girl?

I can’t believe that I have to write a post like this.  Even though the majority of things in this world carry a shade of gray, there are some things in this world that do not.  There are times were there is right and there is wrong.  There is black and there is white.  This is one of them.  Rape is wrong.  The two boys in question should know this.  This fact should be a given, but somehow it’s not.

Trent Mays, in his short apology, said, “I would truly like to apologize to [victim], her family,my family, and the community. No picture should have been sent around, let alone even taken. That’s all, Sir, thank you.”  Ma’Lik Richmond, upon hearing his sentence, sobbed, “My life is over.  No one is going to want me now.”  I think these statements speak for themselves.  They were sorry that they were caught, not because of what they did.  No lessons were learned by the boys.  And with the media sympathizing with their tears instead of their victims tears, I don’t think any lessons ever will be learned.

“If you won’t listen to reason, there’s always…Towanda.”