Yesterday we learned of the guilty verdict for Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, the Steubenville gang rapists who dragged an unconscious 16-year-old girl to multiple parties over several hours, assaulting her repeatedly and spreading photos of their monstrous behavior via Twitter and Instagram. Further details are even more grim and nightmarish.
CNN broke the story, with newscaster Candy Crowley beginning, “A breaking story we’re following… two star high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio have been found guilty of raping a West Virginia teenager.” After Crowley’s introduction, it’s a freefall into outrageous compassion for these two boys, these good students, these star athletes, whose lives have been ruined by an “alcohol-fueled” night of indiscretion (as opposed to their decision to rape someone). The kind of coverage we’d expect more from FOX News, but still aren’t surprised by.
Crowley then prompts general correspondent Poppy Harlow (reporting from Steubenville) to talk about the “emotional” atmosphere of the court room. Harlow responds:
I’ve never experienced anything like it, Candy. It was incredibly emotional — incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believe their life fell apart.
One of — one of the young men, Ma’lik Richmond, when that sentence came down, he collapsed. He collapsed in the arms of his attorney, Walter Madison. He said to me, “My life is over. No one is going to want me now.”
Very serious crime here. Both found guilty of raping this 16- year-old girl at a series of parties back in August, alcohol-fueled parties. Alcohol is a huge part in this.
“Alcohol is a huge part of this”? As a sidenote, we’ve gotten pretty drunk before and never been compelled to rape anyone.
We’re then shown a clip of Richmond sobbing and Harlow goes on to relay a touching anecdote about Richmond’s father, hugging Ma’lik (the rapist) in the courtroom and telling him, “I love you.” Maybe for the first time ever!
We know a lot of people have already covered what’s so fucked up about this (here’s Mallory Ortberg at Gawker, summing it up beautifully, here’s Raw Story, here’s Jezebel, here’s another and another), but if you haven’t seen the video–we urge you to watch. Everyone should see how the mainstream media treats rape and the victims of rape–rather, how mainstream media makes those victims invisible, while offering heartfelt condolences to those who assaulted them.