Steubenville, Ohio changed me. I’ve talked about this before. The feeling of standing there, one common mission flowing through the veins of thousands, working to make systematic change. We were going to end rape culture. We were going to show men and women, children, and the authorities that we were fucking fed up, and that we weren’t going to stand by while a culture that glorifies rape runs out of control. One year ago today, we all stood in unison to say, “I HATE RAPE.”
A year has past, and the narrative has changed in the activist community surrounding Steubenville. People who I once stood beside who vowed that they would do ANYTHING to fight against a proliferating rape culture now sit on Twitter, joining the sides of the Steubenville mommy brigade, Lee Stranahan, and others who think that Ma’lik Richmond’s sentence was appropriate. People I called friends are bashing me. Telling me that it’s time to let Steubenville go. That the community needs to heal.
Upon hearing of Ma’lik Richmond’s release (which may or may not have been a little early depending on which news source you ask), I was angered. We knew that he’d been sentenced to a one-year minimum. The fact that Judge Lipps saw it necessary to impose the bare minimum sentence is proof that rape culture exists. Imagine if tomorrow, I robbed Judge Lipps’ house. Nothing major. Maybe a loaf of bread. I guarantee that I would spend more time in prison than Ma’lik Richmond did for raping an underage girl.
I drove to Steubenville last night with Laura. We posted flyers around the school that simply said, “#TENYEARSFORRAPE.” We did this in the middle of the night. I work odd hours. Since doing so, people who I call friends, who I care about very deeply have taken to Twitter to tell me to give up. Some of those friends have taken to calling me a terrorist, insane, or unhinged.
This all stems from where I chose to hang the flyers – Steubenville High School. The main gripe appears to be that these flyers could scare or “hurt” some of the elementary school children who share the building. My intentions are clear:
To those people who seem to think that some (not even profane) words will harm your kids I say this:
Do you think Ma’lik Richmond would be a rapist if his dad would have sat him down at 7 years old and explained to him that he keeps his fucking hands to himself?
My mission will continue, and I’ll do this by myself if I have to. We stood side by side for justice for Jane Doe. To me, Jane Doe is more than the West Virginia girl who Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays brutally raped. Jane Doe is every girl who is raped.
So few rapes are reported. When a rape is reported, and a person is convicted, that person should do time. Hard time. I know in your heart you agree with me. Don’t be blinded because you don’t want to be a parent for 30 seconds to tell your child that rape is bad.