Podcast: Steubenville, Drinking & Feminism With Guest @Feminazislut

An interesting discussion about sex, politics, feminism and rape that veers into why I believe Ma’lik Richmond is guilty but believe he was given too harsh a sentence when compared to Trent Mays. My guest is artist and sex-positive third wave feminist @FemiNaziSlut

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4 comments

  1. Martha A.

    I have a question first for Lee, who apparently attended the trial or has transcripts. What exactly is the “sexual” behavior that is alleged to have taken place between the victim and Malik Richmond at, I suppose, the first party?

    I’m asking **not** because it would somehow indicate that she wasn’t subsequently raped — one of the laws broken here was basically rape by intoxication, I think it’s very reasonable to say she was “substantially impaired” by roughly a half-dozen or more drinks and maybe fatigue, anxiety, and whatever not-so-subtle peer pressure she might have encountered by the presence of several male athletes that she was in the company with after the first party.

    I’m asking because while a sexualized romantic connection between the victim and Malik doesn’t exonerate him of the crime he’s accused of, perhaps it could be argued it could mitigate his punishment — which is I think a point you were trying to make in this podcast.

    I’m not asking for you to get too graphic, but all I’ve heard of in the reporting I’ve read or listened to is that she kissed him at one point or another. Kissing and touching suggests a kind of intimacy but it can be as much something one does playfully without intending to be a clear signal that one wants to have sex. This doesn’t excuse the Malik (or Trent) from doing what they might have been following through on her interest — even if they didn’t know the definition of rape by intoxication (or whatever it is called in OH law) or think in so many words that she was “substantially impaired” there is something profoundly wrong with having sex with someone in a group setting, essentially in front of spectators, and taking pictures or allowing them to be taken of onself and a girl who didnt and maybe couldnt have objected or said “no”.

    • stranahan

      I wasn’t in court when it described but it’s going to be discussed by Ma’lik on 20/20 tonight.

      You raise a number of points I agree with and you stated my point well — whatever happened, it’s a mitigating factor at best.

      Question for you – when you say there is “something profoundly wrong with having sex with someone in a group setting, essentially in front of spectators” does that include consenting adults?

      Also, are you aware of what a ‘train party’ is and who is having them?

  2. Martha A.

    Thanks, Lee. It may be hard to argue for Malik to get less time than he’s been sentenced to, especially since (if I under the purpose for his confinement) it amounts to mandated inpatient counseling, and I can easily see some sort of proof in therapy to take many months, maybe a year, at least to get the “proof” that the state may want to see. He’s going to a juvenile facility, not a mental hospital of course, but I think the purpose of the confinement is to make sure that he (and Trent) don’t “act out” in a similar way as the prosecution might say they might.

    I think that the biggest problem here is the alcohol. I don’t want to come off as too much of a libertine but make-out parties have been going on with teenagers for nearly 100 years of modern American history, as you probably know and can read more about in the quote and links below. I don’t think that “train party” would be appropriate for this, though I can see how someone could say that. I think that “petting party gone bad” might be a better way of putting it.

    “I’ve kissed dozens of men. I suppose I’ll kiss dozens more”; and another heroine as saying to a young man (to a young man!), “Oh, just one person in fifty has any glimmer of what sex is. I’m hipped on Freud and all that, but it’s rotten that every bit of real love in the world is ninety-nine per cent passion and one little soupcon of jealousy”?
    F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise in April, 1920, quoted in “Only Yesterday”
    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/allen/ch5.html
    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CLASS/AM803_05/frame.html

    I think we ought to be talking about romantic, consensual situations like this that happen with young people, and it can be done without in any way diminishing what happened to the girl in this case. I think she was profoundly violated and all of the charges and the verdict was valid, but it’s entirely possible that she was consenting in her own affected mind to some romantic contact, even sexual contact. It’s just not reasonable though to think that a 16-year-old girl would consent to a guy, even a guy (or two) that she likes to “flash her breasts” much less be penetrated on camera. Not in this context — romantic contact, even some sexual contact, maybe. The idea though of her consenting to sex, with still pictures and video recording of it taking place after vomiting on herself is offensive to imagine.

    The situation here is defined by the alcohol and the relationship she had to the guys, of course, if we were to compare this to adults, out living on their own, engaging in sex in front of a camera – supposing free, informed consent – obviously there’s a world of difference.

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