Thursday, February 15, 2007

Believing her

Few of my posts gather as much hateful comments as those written on the Duke lacrosse rape scandal. I'd like to put some thoughts out there that I've had floating around lately.

In my post college years I have immersed myself into the world of feminism, now working at a women's clinic and a rape and abuse crisis center. I am receiving more training, education and materials than ever before and am more aware than ever that there are simply people out there who will never believe a victim.

I also know (and have always known) that of course... SOME WOMEN LIE. Is this really a shock? Some people burn down their house and collect insurance. People are not always moral, they are not always honest. Some women are vindictive and bad. I am not naive enough to believe that no woman anywhere has lied about rape.

However, as an advocate my first job and possibly most important is to BELIEVE a woman when she discloses to me that she was raped. And there are truly a lot of valid reasons the public may be overlooking when it comes to the duke rape case-- or any case.

#1 The victim has never recanted her story. Just because charges were dropped doesn't mean she admitted to a lie. It just means there isn't enough evidence to go to trial-- a factor in many rape cases.

#2 The victim may have been deliberately chosen because of the low-likelihood of believability. Predators choose victims based on how accessible they are and their threat level. For example- a child molester isn't likely to go after a kid who has really loving, involved parents who will notice something's wrong. A molester will target a child who has no close, caring family and a history of acting out, lying, disorderly behavior or poor social skills.

It’s the same for many rape victims. Women who are disabled, mentally or physically are far more likely to be sexually assaulted due to vulnerability. Also women like prostitutes, strippers etc are easy targets because of their perceived "low morals" and status. Since they are sex-workers they have no say over their bodies... don't believe me. Check out the outcome of this case.

In that case, it was proved that a police officer pulled over a woman and ejaculated on her, however because she was a stripper-- she must have "wanted it." Hmmm, interesting. For the women involved in the Duke case she had to battle this stripper stigma along with over-inflated twits like Limbaugh referring to her as a 'ho'

#3 Lack of DNA doesn't prove a thing. What I learned recently is that in a HUGE majority of sexual assaults there is no ejaculation. Which is one of the reasons that pregnancy resulting from rape is so rare (only 2-5%). This is because rape is a crime of dominance, humiliation and power. It isn't about lust or sex or getting off. It's about humiliating someone body and soul and degrading them.

Also lack of DNA evidence could be explained by a condom, which the victim was not aware her attackers were even wearing.

#4 Drugs and alcohol confuse everything. The woman in the Duke case was harassed because facts in her story wavered. This could be due to drugs or alcohol in the system and also PTSD. A lot of clients I see suffer from post traumatic stress after a rape (let alone a gang rape) and are confused on basic issues of timeline and their stories vary as far as what happened when.

#5 Rape is EXTREMEMLY HARD TO PROVE. The number of rape cases that never go to trial would shock you. Because it's a he said, she said situation between friends, acquaintances etc. Drugs and alcohol are involved and consent issues are "fuzzy" etc.

Now... Does this mean the women at Duke was raped? I don't know. I don't pretend to be convinced because I'm not her advocate.

Knowing what I know, I feel for her because there is likelihood that she was attacked and simply cannot prove it.

But also... knowing that human beings are not always moral (this includes women) my heart could go out to those lacrosse players who were unjustly accused and embarrassed on a national level--- (well save the guy who wrote an email about cutting women's skin off and masturbating-- he deserves the humiliation).

I'm just saying folks, don't assume you know it all when it comes to the Duke case or any case really...

Rape is hard to prove and even without DNA evidence it doesn't prove a thing. Hell, in the case of the stripper and the cop she had his "DNA" all over her. It just didn't matter because she was "asking for it."

And so the vicious cycle continues of doubt, victim blaming and assault. And after this it'll continue further cause some yahoo internet troll will probably send me something just as ugly.

Can't wait.


plain(s)feminist said...

This is an AWESOME post.

Tobes said...

Thanks much. It's always nice to get some positive feedback for once. Thanks for your comments. They mean more than you can even know :)

plain(s)feminist said...

Oh, I can guess - I get haters at my site, too. ;)

Adrienne said...

I had an article from our local paper that I was going to send you and now I can't find it-- it's about a new law they are enacting here in Nebraska based on the case of a police officer who forced a prostitute to give him oral sex. She had the wits to spit his semen onto her ID card so that she could get his DNA tested, and he ended up admitting to it. Her advocate was so freaking awesome-- said things like, "Just because a woman is a prostitute does not mean she's a liar or doesn't have the right to choose her clientele. Someone can be a coke addict and still be intelligent. They are still human beings."

tobes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tobes said...

I just deleted an anti-feminist post because the author thought it would be cute to make their name "tobes."

You are welcome to re-submit your quote, "tobes"-- but under a different name. I refuse to in ANY way be linked with your nonsense and lack of common sense.