Ma’lik Richmond is a 17-year-old kid. He has served time in a juvenile detention facility after being found guilty of the crime of rape in August 2012 along with Trent Mays. Richmond had been sentenced to a year of juvenile detention with credit given for time already served, while Mays has been sentenced for two years.
No one wants to think about a kid being put in a correctional facility. Despite the fact I was happy that justice was served in Steubenville, my heart broke when Ma’lik was sentenced because I think most people could tell he was sad and frightened and his tearful apology was heartbreaking. I hope that he learned a lesson, and I guess that lesson would be that you shouldn’t rape someone, and I hope that he goes on with his life and makes good choices and hopefully advocates for sexual assault victims and maybe uses his experience to educate his peers and other young athletes. Or something. There’s no telling how Richmond has been affected by any of this, except for this statement released by his attorney Walter Madison upon his release. From WTRF:
“Ma’Lik Richmond recently completed his designated time at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility. The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma’Lik and his extended family.
I understand that. Having a kid locked away for rape has to be challenging for any family.
At sixteen years old, Ma’Lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagine for any adult yet alone child.
Yeah, I understand that, but hardness beyond imagine? COMPARED TO A YOUNG GIRL BEING RAPED?
He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life. As with each other obstacle, Ma’Lik has met it squarely, lifted his chin, and set his shoulders; he is braced for the balance of his life.
He made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances? Rape is NOT a circumstance for a rapist. It’s not like Ma’lik was going about his day, taking care of the business of a 16-year-old, and he accidentally raped someone. Rape is NOT a circumstance, it’s a choice. If a circumstance is a fact or condition related to an event, what Madison is basically saying here is that rape was just a natural outcome of encountering a teenage girl puking on herself and passing out. The circumstance is not to help her and get her some water and maybe make sure she gets home OK, according to this the circumstance is to rape her.
While away, Ma’Lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways. He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family. At this point, Ma’Lik wants most to be a high school teenager. In conjunction with his release, Ma’Lik, his family, and guardians ask that the media respect their privacy in this matter, as we all need to heal and move on with our lives. We will have you know that Ma’Lik will be taking all the time necessary to focus on his academic and personal goals. We ask for your support and prayers as we move forward, Thank you.”
We all have to heal and move on with our lives, except the victim who was blatantly left out of this whole statement.
I’m sorry, but if we want to expect that Ma’lik has learned and matured and grown from this whole rapist thing, I think that would include adding an apology or at least a mention of the victim. Granted it was his attorney that released the statement, BUT COME ON. If these are the types of adults who are influencing Ma’lik at this point, ignoring the fact that there is a VICTIM in this case makes it seem like at least some of the adults in his circle don’t quite get the fact that rape is a crime.
I’m waiting for the next statement that reiterates CNN’s Poppy Harlow’s sentiment after sentencing about how this whole circumstance caused a star athlete to have his life fall apart.