Society and Culture

Steubenville Rapist is Released and Issues Grammatically Incorrect Non-Apology

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Good morning folks! How many appendages did you lose to frostbite on your way to work this morning? None? Good for you. I’m pretty sure the bottoms of my feet almost turned to actual ice yesterday, when I was evacuated from my burning office building.

Caption: Yes, I work here. And no, none of us crowded around the fire for warmth.

But! The polar vortex isn’t the only crazy thing happening this morning, unfortunately. More absurdity is happening out in Steubenville, Ohio, where convicted rapist Ma’lik Richmond was recently released from a juvenile detention facility.

In case you’ve already forgotten, Ma’lik was at the center of one of the most talked about rape cases of 2013. 16-year-old Ma’lik was a star player on Steubenville’s high school football team, Big Red, along with 17-year-old Trent Mays. The two boys were destined for big things — college ball, maybe the NFL — and they were all but worshiped in a town where football is described as a religion.

Then, one night, the two boys went to a party, where they met up with an extremely drunk young woman. A fellow high school student, this girl had allegedly been flirting with Mays via text message. Apparently, the two boys took her maybe-flirtatious text messages to mean that she was DTF, and they transported her from party to party with an all-male group of friends. Ridiculously drunk, the girl spent a fair amount of the night vomiting and lying around in an essentially comatose state. Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t remember most of the night’s events.

But cell phone cameras and social media accounts have pretty long memories. Almost instantly, photos, videos, text messages, and tweets documented the night she couldn’t remember. There were photos of Mays and Richmond holding her limp body by the arms and legs, while her head hung slack. There were photos of her lying naked, face down on the floor, in a home she’d never visited before. (Incidentally, that’s how she woke up the next morning.) There were videos of her being vaginally penetrated with Richmond and Mays’ hands.  And all of this happened while she was way, way too drunk to consent.

Ultimately, Mays and Richmond were convicted of rape and sentenced to serve time in a juvenile detention facility, where they would be “rehabilitated.” Feminists around the world rejoiced, just a tiny bit, that these young men were actually being held accountable. Because, as we know by the gazillion other rape cases that go nowhere — it’s depressingly common for accused rapists to suffer absolutely no consequences for their actions.

So, yay for that not happening! Right?

Sort of. Obviously, children being sent to prison is never something to cheer about. Furthermore, the media’s obvious sympathy for the rapists, and lack of empathy for the victim, was infuriating. Take this clip as an example — CNN spent six minutes lamenting the fact that promising, rapist lives were ruined, and barely mentioned how the victim’s life was affected.

So, the Steubenville rape case has been pretty maddening for everyone who doesn’t hate women. And the horror continues! When Ma’lik was released from juvenile detention this weekend — which isn’t necessarily surprising or irritating, honestly — he/his attorney/his attorney’s PR agency released a statement.

Oh, the agony of reading this statement.

You can read the full text here, but here’s the most important snippet:

“The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma’Lik and his extended family. At sixteen years old, Ma’Lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagination for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life.”

It goes on to ramble about how Ma’lik would like privacy from the media so he can be a normal teenager, hang out with his family, and move on with his life. It also makes ZERO MENTION of the victim. Not one time.



This is the worst non-apology ever.

Why? Let’s start with simple mechanics. Whoever wrote this train wreck of a press release can’t write to save their goddamn lives. “Hardness?” He persevered against “hardness?” I can’t. I cannot. “Hardness” is not a word that is acceptable to use, basically ever. Just for future reference. Also, SO MANY COMMAS ARE MISSING OMGGGG.

make-it-stop-oBut let’s not get too carried away — obviously the content is what’s most important here. The fact that Ma’lik and everyone around him is so focused on whining about how hard his life has been as a result of this rape is seriously deranged. How difficult do you think the victim’s life has been?  What kind of “hardness” (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist) has she had to persevere against? A whole fuck of a lot, I’m betting.

obviouslyIt’s clear that Ma’lik — or at least the people who are speaking for him — has gone through his “rehabilitation” process without actually taking responsibility for his actions. He’s emerged without apologizing for the immeasurable harm he inflicted on his victim. He’s still solely focused on how this whole ordeal affects him.

Folks, I don’t know about you, but I’m totally sick of this rape culture that pours sympathy on rapists while blaming, shaming, and ignoring victims.

That’s some seriously anti-feminist, anti-woman, pro-violence douche-y-ness.

So let’s put a stop to that, shall we? Thanks a ton.

Hannah R. Winsten (@HannahRWinsten) is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow.

Featured image courtesy of  [marsmettnn tallahaassee via Flickr]

Hannah R. Winsten
Hannah R. Winsten is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow. Contact Hannah at



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