Royal Mayo: Former NAACP President Makes Offensive Steubenville Comment

Former NAACP President, Royal Mayo came out with a disgusting take on the Steubenville rape case this week that requires more response and action from the socially conscious civil rights organization.   

Two weeks after Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were convicted of raping their 16-year-old classmate in the Steubenville High rape case, Royal Mayo places responsibility on the “alleged victim.”

Mayo, who left his position as the president of the Steubenville chapter of NAACP in 2010, told the International Business Times, “They’re alleging she got raped; she’s acknowledging that she wanted to leave with Trent,” therefore she was a participant and not an actual victim.

With the slew of social media evidence of the unconscious girl being physically abused over the course of a six-hour period, it is more than shocking that a man with the position and influence as Royal Mayo has could place blame the victim.  

In regards with his relationship to Ma’lik Richmond, Mayo explains, ”Back in August, when the rumors first started going around, I talked to Ma’lik, and he said, ‘No, Mr. Mayo, we didn’t do anything to that girl. I don’t know what these rumors are; I don’t understand in.’”  

These “rumors,” which were proven with the analysis of 15 cell phones, two iPads, hundreds of text messages, and interviews of 60 people, seem less like the witch hunt that Mayo is suggesting. It seems his strong opinion comes with denial that someone he knows could perform such a horrible act. The documentation of the rape and abuse of a young girl is one of the most horrendous things that can happen to a person and publicly abstaining accountability towards the convicted is naive and hurtful.

Though Mayo is no longer a president of the NAACP and he does not technically speak for the organization, he is still a member of the group’s Ohio executive committee and an explanation is required for his narrow-minded and offensive accusation. The NAACP used to fight against the immoral and unlawful bigotry against of Americans and as Mayo places responsibility on the unconscious girl, he himself becomes a bigot. Whether or not the victim’s intoxication began by her own device, which he suggests, there is no excuse or explanation for the treatment she received. Rape is rape. No means no. Mild to extreme intoxication means no.  His statement is disgusting, ill-informed and misogynistic.

So far, the NAACP has stated that Mayo’s opinions are not the opinions of the organization, but further action should take place. Royal Mayo should have no position with the NAACP and should either leave at his own will or be forced to step down. 

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Jordan Anne Jacobi

LA born with Glaswegian tones, educated at UC Santa Cruz, just back from NYC, now writing and working in LA.

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