Nadine Leffler
Photo Editor

Last summer, students Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond from Stubenville High School in Ohio, performed the sexual crimes that recently sent them to jail as deemed by a trial January 3rd of this year overseen by Judge Thomas Lipps.  They spent the night taking advantage of a critically drunk girl, incriminated by their texts and a particularly infamous photo posted on instagram of the two star football players dragging the seemingly unconscious victim by her ankles and wrists (as pictured).  After the trial which took place January 3rd through January 4th, the boys were sentenced to spend time in a juvenile facility; Richmond was sentenced to at least one year and Mays received at least two, both permanently labeled a lifetime “sex offender”.

More recently, the anonymous witness who stood by and did nothing to help the victim was tried on March 15th.  He pleaded guilty of watching and video recording Mays sexually assault the 16-year-old girl in the back seat of a car.  The witness rode in the back with the boys from the party to his own home, thus aiding the rape and doing nothing to help the victim.  Despite this, Judge Thomas Lipps granted the witness immunity from punishment for his honest testimony “in the furtherance of justice”.  Regardless, the witness’s ignorance regarding his deed is inexcusable.

"It wasn't violent," a witness protested, "I didn't know what rape was". 

His ignorance begs the question, What is rape?  The callousness associated with sexual assault is where the problem lies.  While rape is typically considered unconsensual sex, it legally encompasses and non-consensual or forced sexual act performed on a victim.  This seems obvious to some but when you consider how casually society treats the subject of respect to females, it’s easy to see where the line may be blurred.  I am in no way defending the boys who violated this victim but I suggesting that society generally does not respect females, as certain things, groping a girls’ butt in a crowd, snapping a brastrap, etc., leads to little or no consequence and is generally accepted societally; dismissed and excused by the phrase “boys will be boys”.

The boys of Stubenville had no idea that their actions could affect them for the rest of their lives.  They didn’t take the situation seriously when they should have and neither did any of the other witnesses.  “Now colleges won’t want [to recruit] me” Richmond mourned.  In their opinion they were just “messing around” with a drunk girl who became the butt of their joke, but after being faced with real-world consequences, nobody’s laughing anymore. 

The potentiality for this incident is in no way exclusive to small towns in The Midwest; the lack of respect towards females is apparent in teenaged boys everywhere.  Yes, even among the student body of Newport Harbor—from the seemingly innocent butt-slaps, to the blatant “admiring” of girls’ breasts, to the crude statements uttered daily by many guys among Newport Harbor’s population.   It is undeniable that the males at the school are prone to disrespecting girls in some way or another…without even knowing it!  As females, we are taught to dismiss this sort of behavior—“Oh, boys will be boys…it’s just hormones, he can’t control himself”.  No!  Reject that.  The change in what we accept as a society is the first step in the right direction towards rape prevention. 

To prevnt this abuse from crossing the line dividing playful or flirty and sexual assault, guys must realize that neither the way a girl dresses, not her reputation, nor her level sobriety may determine whether it’s okay to take advantage of her. 

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