Just when it seemed like the tragic Steubenville, Ohio, case could provide no better example of society's perverse and pervasive rape culture, the town has gone on to completely outdo itself with an even clearer illustration. Convicted sex offender Ma'lik Richmond, one of the two high school football players found delinquent of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in 2012 along with quarterback Trent Mays, has reportedly returned to the Steubenville Big Red football team as a wide receiver.
According to Alexandria Goddard, the blogger commonly credited with drawing national attention to the Steubenville rape case, Richmond's reinstatement on the team should come as no surprise. “I wanted to be shocked, but I think we all knew it was bound to happen,” Goddard told BuzzFeed. She tacked the most recent development to the town and media expressing overwhelming sympathy for the rapists:
Steubenville City Schools hasn’t really done a lot in the past two years to prove to the world that they don’t tolerate rape culture and allowing a Tier II registered sex offender on the team pretty much solidifies the assumption that they are concerned about wins rather than the safety of young girls or the destruction of rape culture in their area.
In March 2013, both Richmond and Mays were sentenced to serve time in a juvenile detention facility. Mays was sentenced to two years and is still under detention; Richmond was sentenced just one, and was released three months early in January 2014. Both men will be required to re-register as sex offenders every 180 days for the next 20 years. Richmond has attempted to appeal his status without success. Clearly, it's not a status that's stopped him from rejoining the football team -- or garnering pity from his community and the mainstream media for raping a young girl.