When the Steubenville rape trial starts tomorrow, the lawyers for Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, the high school football players accused of raping a heavily intoxicated 16-year-old — decreed a "dead girl" and "so raped" by one charming bystander — will argue that the teenager actually enthusiastically consented at some point in between vomiting on herself and passing out.
"Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends' wishes — to leave with the boys," The Plain Dealer reports. "They assert that she consented to sex."
The girl, who we'll call Jane Doe, has told authorities she doesn't remember anything that happened after she left the first party she attended. (Catch up on what happened that night here.) But since we have no reason to believe the testimony of a lying harlot who's ashamed of her sluttish behavior, let's defer to Associate Attorney General Marianne Hemmeter, who told the judge at a hearing in October that Jane was obviously too drunk to consent.
"The state doesn't have to prove that she was flat-lined," Hemmeter said. "Everybody agrees she's puking. She's puking on herself. People have to help her walk. She can't talk. She's stumbling."
If you're not able to walk, talk, or not throw up on yourself, you're most definitely not capable of willingly participating in multiple sex acts. Do we really have to spell this out?
"I wouldn't say she was passed out but she wasn't there to say yes or no," said just one of multiple witnesses who agreed Jane was "not OK."
Under Ohio law, rape is a first degree felony if the victim is "compelled through force, threat, or controlled substance." But attorney Walter Madison, who will defend one of the accused boys, says Jane was down to drink and go party with a group of kids that included the two charged football players. That's irrelevant — we don't care if she consented to pre-partying with her peers, we care if they raped her when she was wasted — yet Madison claims the 16-year-old knew what she was getting herself into, because who wouldn't expect to be repeatedly sexually assaulted by multiple people without her consent after some shots? We call that "Friday night!"
"There's an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices," Madison said. "She didn't affirmatively say no."
Madison suggested that the girl was embarrassed only after her parents found out and that's why she hasn't...outed herself to the public? "The person who is the accuser here is silent just as she was that night, and that's because there was consent," he said, inspiring this writer to create an dartboard with his face on it. Perhaps Madison should write a rule book for teenage rape survivors instructing them exactly how to act when they're assaulted by athletes who are supposed to be their friends. Chapter 1: How to Consent Silently, Because Apparently That's a Thing.
We've argued before that this case could change history. To quote, well, myself: "Is it too optimistic to hope the increasingly high-profile case will help dispel some of our country's most deep-rooted myths about rape?"
Based on the defense's slut-shaming strategy, yes.