On June 14 a judge ordered that Trent Mays register as a tier II sex offender every six months for the next 20 years of his life.
The 17-year-old, who was convicted this year of raping a teenage girl, will remain in juvenile detention until he is transferred to Lighthouse Youth Center at Paint Creek, a residential rehabilitation center with a program for sex offenders, in about a week.
Mays spoke in court last week, saying, “I am sorry for everything I did that night. I know I was wrong.”
I think he means it. And I think he learned a lesson about appropriate behavior and the consequences of his actions that will resonate with young men and boys for years.
Then yesterday a firestorm of controversy was set off when pieces of a “Rolling Stone” interview featuring the no. 1 player in women’s tennis, Serena Williams, was released including comments she made about the case.
While watching coverage of the trial, Williams was quoted as saying “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people.
“She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
I must have been the only one who didn’t see the problem. Serena’s comments may not have been politically correct, but she’s right.
This girl shouldn’t have put herself in that position. Her parents should have taught her not to take drinks from people she doesn’t know. She shouldn’t be getting so drunk that she doesn’t remember anything. What happened could have been much worse. And she is lucky it wasn’t.
Women should be free to dress the way they want, go where they please and imbibe as many intoxicants as they like without any fear that they’ll be sexually assaulted. The teenage victim in the Steubenville case did nothing to deserve to be raped. Nothing any woman does ever condones or justifies rape.
And I agree that victim blaming is awful, particularly for a crime as abhorrent and damaging as rape. But are we really at a point where someone can’t stand up and say that a 16-year-old girl shouldn’t get so drunk that she can’t move or remember what happened to her? I hope not.