Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nine Chances Someone Could Have Stopped Steubenville Ohio from Making Headlines

Act #76:  Intervene.  Do not perpetuate rape culture.

In August of last year, a 16 year-old girl from West Virginia had a crush on a neighboring high school football player, Trent Mays, and attended a post-game party in Steubenville, Ohio.  At 10 a.m. today a judge will issue a verdict in the case for kidnapping and rape charges against Steubenville football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond that could put them behind bars until they turn 21.  Rape culture is defined as a culture where sexual violence against women is normalized and excused including victim blaming, trivializing sexual assault, tolerance of sexual harassment, defining manhood as dominant and sexually aggressive, and assuming promiscuous and drunk women want to be raped.  Sexual violence against women would not happen if we as a society did not tolerate it.  There were ample opportunities for numerous people to intervene that night in Steubenville Ohio.  Here’s how things could have turned out drastically different.

1.  What happened:  At the first party, witnesses said that the girl became so intoxicated that her speech began to slur.  Alternate response:  Witnesses see that the girl’s speech was beginning to slur, and approach her  asking if she might need a ride home.
2.  What happened:  Later in the night, she left the party with Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond.  One of her friends tried to stop her, but the girl insisted on leaving.  Alternate response:  When the victim insisted on leaving regardless of an attempt made to stop her, her friend solicits help from other football players to appeal to Mays and Richmond.  They tell them that it’s best that they don’t leave with the girl in that state.  They accompany the girl to the party, and keep an eye out for her to make sure she’s safe.

3.  What happened:  Mays, Richmond, and the girl head to a second party where several people witnessed the girl vomiting, and stepping outside for fresh air because she felt sick.  Alternate response:  Witnesses see the girl vomiting and call for a friend or family to drive her home because she clearly has had too much to drink.

4.  What happened:  Cody Saltsman, the girl’s ex-boyfriend, tweeted a picture of the passed out victim being carried at her wrists and ankles by Mays and Richmond with accompanying statements, Never seen anything this sloppy – LOL.  I have no sympathy for whores.   Alternate response:  Cody Saltsman sees that his ex-girlfriend might be in danger and intervenes.

5.  What happened:  At this point, the girl was incapable of walking on her own and was taken into a car driven by another football player, Mark Cole, during which he stopped to videotape and post on YouTube, Mays digitally penetrating the girl in the back seat of his car.  Alternate Response:  Mark Cole puts the victim in the front seat and drives her home.

6.  What happened:  The group later arrived at Cole’s house where another witness said that the girl was the drunkest person in the room.  Alternate response:  Witnesses who perceived the girl to be the drunkest person in the room,  approach her and offer to find her a safe way home.

7.  What happened:  Cole saw Mays trying to force the girl to perform oral sex on him, but she was too unresponsive to do so.  Alternate response:  Cole tells Mays to back off the girl and takes the girl home safely.

8.  What happened:  Mays’ best friend, wrestler Anthony Craig saw the victim naked, Richmond laying beside her, and Mays “smacking his penis off her side.”   Alternate response:  Anthony Craig intervenes and stops the assault.

9.  What happened:  Shortly after that night, an 18-year old Steubenville alum, Michael Nodianos, who did not witness the assaults first-hand, posted an on-line video repeatedly referring to the girl as dead and making these statements:  Why isn’t she waking up? She’s dead. They peed on her. That’s how you know she’s dead, because someone pissed on her.  She is so raped right now.   Alternate response:  Michael Nodianos confronts Mays and Richmond and turns them over to the police.

In case you ever wondered, this is what rape culture looks like.



  1. Good post! It's not only horrifying what was done, but what wasn't done.

    One error in the post -- The kidnapping charge against Mays was dismissed prior to trial. He was charged with an additional count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material (photos shared via cell phone)

    1. Thanks for pointing that out Dawn! It took me forever to attempt to gather the most updated facts from the case. Unfortunately, regardless of the verdict, there are no wins in this case.

  2. I want to know why the others weren't charged, everybody involved should face charges, not just those not 'connected politically' enough to escape.

    1. Aisha, looks like there may be more charges to follow?

  3. They needed someone to be willing to testify against these boys as to what they saw and had no one come forward until immunity was given. Though it would be justified for them to be punished as well at the very least some of them did acknowledge on the stand that they should have done something and that they were wrong to not step in.