Target: Judge Thomas Lipps
Goal: Commend Judge Thomas Lipps for holding rapist accountable for his crimes
Oftentimes the emphasis in our society is ‘don’t get raped’ rather than ‘don’t rape’. The lessons that get spread through conversation and accepted expectations are that rape and sexual assault are the result of something the victim did wrong rather than that the rapist was responsible for their actions.
The highly publicized rape in Steubenville, Ohio last August had very similar tones of rape culture ringing through it. The rape became very publicized as it was documented and bragged about through texts, tweets, and pictures that were posted online. Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were both convicted of rape, and Mays was also found guilty of spreading a nude photo of a minor.
Trent Mays recently had a court hearing after being convicted in March. Judge Thomas Lipps found Mays guilty and ruled that Mays must register as a sex offender every six months for twenty years after his sentence is served out.
Both Mays and Richmond happened to be on Steubenville’s football team—something that held much prestige within the town. The fear of many was that the teens would be let off lightly or given preferential treatment due to this fact. Thankfully, Judge Lipps has seen that this didn’t happen and that Mays at least will be held accountable for his horrible actions. Hopefully now the focus can be on allowing the victim to move forward and heal as much as she can.
The victim’s mother has said, “My family and I are hopeful that we can put this horrible ordeal behind us. We need and deserve to focus on our daughter’s future. We hope that from this something good can arise.” This ‘something good’ will hopefully be proper punishment and accountability for the victims’ attackers.
Dear Judge Lipps,
Thank you for your recent ruling to hold Trent Mays accountable for the rape of a young girl. In convicting Mays as a sex offender and ruling that he must register as such for twenty years following his sentence, you are sending a message that counteracts rape culture and lets people know that rapists will be held responsible for their actions.
It is incredibly important to make people aware that the blame falls upon the rapist and not upon the victim in cases of rape or sexual assault. Too often the perpetrators get away with their horrible actions and the victims are blamed and made to feel as though the assault was the result of something they did or didn’t do, which isn’t the case.
Your ruling gives hope to victims of assault and sets a precedent that perpetrators will not be allowed to get away with actions that they should be held accountable for, even if they are on a football team. Rape is something that is entirely preventable and it is through rulings like yours that people will receive that message.
Thank you again for your extremely important ruling in favor of preventing further assaults and holding assaulters accountable.
[Your name here]
Photo Credit: Trent Mays via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette