Last week Ma’lik Richmond rejoined the Steubenville High School football team and the fallout from the school and school board’s decision was huge. Huge enough that several petitions were started and the change.org petition “Remove convicted rapist from Big Red football team” has already reached almost 40,000 signatures. That is more signatures than the entire population of Steubenville, Ohio. That is 4 times more people than their 10,000 seat football stadium holds.
On Tuesday, local businessman, Mark Nelson attended a Steubenville City Council meeting and stood before the council to ask that they make a public statement regarding the decision to allow Ma’lik back on the football team for Steubenville High School.
“I am asking council to draft a statement because the world looks at Steubenville and doesn’t see a public outcry. Some of us are outraged because the school district is not handling the situation properly,” Nelson said. “The school district lowered the bar to accept someone who committed a crime against a woman. What does this say about the team and its players? This is especially grievous when it makes the national and international news.”The school district decision was not well thought out and I encourage the city to make a statement to the world that we all don’t feel this way,” Nelson added.
Do you want to know how Steubenville City Council responded? They essentially told the world again that they don’t care about rape. City Councilman Kenny Davis claims that his town has been unfairly painted in a negative light because of the rape case but via his very words this evening he affirmed that conception about Steubenville. When referring to the VICTIM he referred to her as “his accuser”. OH REALLY! Accuser? The boys were adjudicated delinquent by a judge; therefore the accusation was proven and determined to be the crime of RAPE. Why couldn’t Mr. Davis refer to Jane Doe as the victim? As far as I am concerned his statement gives the appearance that he doesn’t believe a rape occurred. What was so difficult about calling it what it is? Accuser is so disrespectful and minimizes what happened to Jane Doe.
THAT is why people are mad, Mr. Davis. The victim blaming that continues to occur is despicable. The fact that Ma’lik was allowed to return to the field sends the message that there is no accountability for criminal conduct. What are others on the team to think? That it’s okay to rape because you’ll still be on the team? Steubenville educators and administrators went out of their way to protect a football program over the victim – even so far as committing felonies to do so.
Davis claims that the town has been “unfairly” painted in a negative light. Let me break it down for you, Mr. Davis. It does not matter that your town has more churches than bars. That means jack all. A rape happened in your town and there was an attempted coverup by Mike McVey and others. Adults in your town maligned a young girl and victim blamed her and continue to do so.
Your town is being painted in a bad light because of your behavior and the continued enabling of rape culture. No one cares if you are a lifelong Catholic; again that has jack to do with anything. We’re talking about the decision to let a Tier II registered sex offender back on the field. Forgiveness has nothing to do with it either. Where in your word vomit did you say one word about Jane Doe? What about her? What about her second chance? Does she get a do over?
I don’t think you have to worry about people coming to Steubenville and staying. From the looks of things it would appear that people are going to avoid Rapeville like the plague.