The rape trial in Ohio against Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond has finally come to a conclusion with the verdict of guilty though they have not yet been sentenced.
The two boys, local football heroes from “good families” were tried as juveniles and at age 16 and 17 can only (at most) be held until age 21. Still, that wrecks their lives to some extent. At the protests for the two being tried as juveniles for rape, signs were held up saying “graffiti is a juvenile crime, rape is an adult crime.” While I tend to agree with the sign, I also wonder if these two young men can be rehabilitated as far as their attitudes are concerned.
The victim came from a religious and good family, but she too was engaging in illegal and unwise behavior as many youth do. I doubt that her parents had any idea she was drinking alcohol until she passed out that night. Obviously they trusted that their teachings about acceptable behavior would be honored by their daughter when she went out. Yet, even with what she did which admittedly allowed her to be placed in a situation where she could be taken advantage of, she did not deserve to be violated and humiliated. Those young men acted in a completely unacceptable manner.
The fact that many of her “friends” watched, even filmed the attacks, and did nothing, is very disturbing to me. That other “friends” would laugh and joke about her being raped is unbelievable and yet, it is true.
The parts of the brains of adolescents that helps to make good judgment and inhibit impulsive behavior does not mature until about age 25 or so, so we do expect that young people make poor judgments and act on impulses without a lot of thought of the possible consequences for their choices. Though more and more young people are being tried as adults and sentenced to very long prison terms, in theory at least, that immaturity is why the law looks at crimes committed by juveniles in a different light than when committed by an adult.
It isn’t unusual to read about some frat pledge who dies of alcohol poisoning at some initiation party. Mixing mind altering drugs (and alcohol is a drug!) and ones that inhibit impulse control with the adolescent brain is asking for trouble.
I feel great empathy for the families of both the young men and for the girl and her family. Though her name has not been published, everyone in her little town knows what happened to her so her trauma is well known.
The victim’s mother publicly forgave at least one of the rapists. I’m all for forgiveness, even if the abuser doesn’t show contrition. I believe forgiveness is for us, not them. It doesn’t mean we are giving them a pass it simply means we will no longer harbor bitterness in our own souls to eat us like a cancer.
Joyce Alexander, RNP, retired