While the Steubenville Rape Case garnered much attention for the role that social media played in initiating the prosecution and inciting national outrage, the underlying legal issue was the victim’s incapacity to consent because of self-induced intoxication. The case surrounded the August 12, 2012 sexual assault of an intoxicated sixteen-year-old girl by two high school football players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, after a party in Steubenville, Ohio. Following the prominent coverage of the incident across social media channels and in the news, Mays and Richmond—who were charged with raping the sixteen-year-old girl—were often portrayed as the real victims; observers blamed the female victim for partying and putting herself in a position to be violated. Ultimately, the juvenile court held that the victim was so intoxicated that she was unable to give consent, finding Mays and Richmond guilty of rape. Judge Thomas Lipps, who presided over the trial, warned that the young men’s behavior was a “cautionary lesson” in how adolescents conduct themselves in the presence of alcohol.

Citation Note

This Comment was originally cited as Volume 3 of the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Online. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of MJLR Online have been renumbered 45, 46, and 47 respectively. These updated Volume numbers correspond to their companion print Volumes. Additionally, the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Online was renamed Caveat in 2015.