Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fine, I'll talk about it -- Duke lacrosse

I am such a weenie. I keep checking other blogs to see who will post on Duke Lacrosse first so I don't have to... maybe everyone else is planning on ignoring it. Probably not a bad call. Writing about this is sort of like bending over and offering the trolls a place to kick.

But you know, watching the press conference last night I just couldn't help rolling my eyes. And yes, I realize I'm horribly biased because yeah, my entire job is about believing victims. And I tend to think that there are few women who would put themselves through the shit storm of a rape accusation, forensic exam, trial, scrutiny etc.

I don't pretend to know for sure ANYTHING about this Duke case. I was not this woman's advocate and I know very little specifics. I know from reading one article that one of the key discrepancies was that the woman could no longer testify to being penetrated by a penis. Not really surprising considering many women experience blackouts or suffer rape trauma that can disorient memories of the attack. Also alcohol is a factor in over half of all reported acquaintance rapes. Alcohol, as we know can royally screw with memory.

I watched the three players and I tried not to judge. If they are innocent, I pity them. However, when one of the players talked about all the injustice the media showed them my response was, Ummm, wha?

I recall most pundits siding with the players. Rush Limbaugh called the woman a “ho” and countless others referred to her as simply “the stripper.” And if you google Duke Lacrosse, more articles come up promoting the player’s innocence. One article even claims the woman just wanted money. If you search You Tube there are plenty of videos dedicated to the innocence of the players and the bad, bad villains who dared to support a woman who claimed she was raped. One You Tuber called the woman a “nappy headed ho” – my how pop-culture aware the trolls are getting.

If you search "duke lacrosse" on networking sites like facebook there are hundreds of "duke is innocent" groups. The few groups that are dedicated to guilt are clearly not built on discussion but on anger and most posts are angry supporters of Duke players who call the woman a "lying whore" who had semen from "at least five other guys in her" -- a common myth floating around.

Yes, it’s true that these men are innocent until proven guilty (even though, based on the stats, I assumed their guilt) and they surely did have some vocal opponents, I think they are mistaking media scrutiny with simple media coverage.

Perhaps these men were judged before their day in court (I know I did) but most of the reaction was understandable. The team was suspended as they should have been for throwing a party with hired strippers and booze. The coach should have been held responsible for the bad judgment and irresponsible behavior of his team. Furthermore the woman was judged and is still being judged. Common misunderstanding seems to be that these charges were dropped because this woman was a liar. These charges were dropped because there was insufficient evidence to proceed. As in no DNA – which can be explained, especially in light of the fact that the woman was not sure if she was penetrated with a penis or something else.

All I know is that something about three privileged white boys whining on about injustice when they had plenty of media support is severely annoying. How about all the women (and for that matter) men who are sexually assaulted everyday and they have no support from the legal system? Or they can’t prove their claims or they are too ashamed to even come forward in the first place? What about the culture where women can no longer except support for charging high-profile athletes with rape (duke lacrosse, Kobe Bryant cases). Rather they’re called “hos” and accused of digging for money or fame.

Certainly false accusations can happen but I don’t believe it’s common (and stats support me). With the lacrosse players officially declared innocent (they spelled it and everything) this whole outcome is going to have some disturbing fallout to an already “victim un-friendly” culture.

Watch and see

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have more than a few distortions in your facts, but you also make some very good points.

First: The accuser stated in a newspaper interview that she did dates for an escort service and in the world of sex workers, dates means prostitution. The initial national publicity supported the accuser and not the accused. Cooper gave much more of a reason than "insufficient evidence", but that the accuser had no credibility, not a liar but someone who believed all her own stories despite not only confused issues but outright contradictions.

"The few groups that are dedicated to guilt are clearly not built on discussion but on anger..." Agreed, and across the board, they allowed their anger to intervene rather than writing well-reasoned editorials. Rather than arguing with the "trolls", they pulled their heads into their shells and shut down discussion. Only abyss2hope kept up the fight, but her inability to form logical arguments made her blog posts hopelessly ineffectual.

"Injustice" and "media support" are two different things. The injustice lay in Nifong's public statements of their guilt. If Nifong had followed the rules and kept his mouth shut, no injustice toward the accused would not have occurred.

"this whole outcome is going to have some disturbing fallout to an already “victim un-friendly” culture." In much more than just rape cases if Cooper gets the legislation he demanded at the end of his statement.