From the News Virginian:
It took a jury 30 minutes Wednesday to convict a 17-year-old from Greenville of beating and raping his then 15-year-old former girlfriend in December. Andrew Fender was found guilty of abduction, rape and assault and battery for the the Dec. 15 incident, which capped a tumultuous one-and-a-half year relationship characterized by both prosecution and defense attorneys as a case of young love gone horribly awry. Fender was tried as an adult. [...]
What started with a consensual sexual encounter in the backseat of the car later turned violent when the victim rebuffed Fender’s suggestion that they run away and get married, the victim testified. Fender was further enraged after finding the number of another male on the victim’s cell phone, she said. After ordering her out of the car, Fender followed the victim down a residential street in tears, imploring her to elope with him, then “started crying even more and laid down in the grass,” she testified. When he stood up and demanded her cell phone, she said she fled in fear.
“I started running, because I knew that whenever he took my phone, something bad was going to happen,” the victim testified. Fender then chased her down the street, knocked her to the ground and repeatedly kicked her in the ribs and head, she said.
I disagree about the assessment that this is a relationship that went horribly awry since that assessment minimizes Fender's past behavior which was severe enough to have his victim run in fear when he demanded her cell phone. That's a pattern of extreme control not a sign that the relationship was out of control.
The story reports that the rape conviction came despite evidence that the victim, at least at times, may not have considered that she was raped while being held by Fender. I'm glad that the jury realized that the violence and control this girl was subjected to indicated that she complied and did not give legal consent.
I'm always amazed when I read about cases like this one where men or boys use violence while allegedly trying to persuade a woman or girl to reconcile. If a man or boy truly cares about his ex as a fellow human being then that person will not use violence as a persuasion tool.
Defense attorney Scott Baker conceded that his client committed assault and battery, but argued that the rape and abduction allegations were the result of blurred boundaries and adolescent emotional upheaval.
This excuse is the typical nonsense used to rationalize criminal behavior toward girls and women. Being an adolescent does not cause a boy or a young man to rape and to kick a girl in the head. Other adolescents manage to get through those years without being physically or sexually violent.
Violence does not in reality persuade, it either repels or it overwhelms or it does both. Not surprisingly for me this violence is paired with tears and pleading which falsely puts Fender in a position of being helpless which likely supports his rationalizations. He likely told himself that if his ex-girlfriend just did what he wanted her to do then he wouldn't have been violent so she's at least partly to blame for his violence.
Crying in distress and then kicking the girl you want to reconcile with are all actions meant to get another person to submit to your control. Even the marriage proposal is an action which would give him more control over her.
His actions communicate that he had no interest in mutuality or a relationship based on respect for himself or for the other person. This type of action are typical of relationship abusers of all ages so being an adolescent is immaterial.
He acted like someone who believed that having a violent tantrum would get him what he wanted. If this behavior did get him what he wanted then his ex-girlfriend was nothing but a possession to him. That is ultimately unsatisfying for him but instead of blaming his own behavior for those results he would likely blame her for not keeping him satisfied.
I'm bothered by Fender's mother's behavior and complicity in his crimes and from what I read in this story I believe she was actively involved with the abduction since the victim had a swollen eye when this woman drove her son and this girl to her mobile home.
This jury verdict and the short time it took to come back with a guilty verdict show me that the rationalizations given by the defense attorney can be seen as the nonsense they are.