Duke Rape Charges Dropped

I didn’t wade into the raging discussions about the Duke rape case because of the hidieous outpouring of hatred that appeared all over feminists blogs (and I was in the middle of my own crisis with haters on my main blog). However, I read today that rape charges have been dropped against the white boys involved although DO NOT FORGET this case is not over. They still face kidnapping and sex charges.

This has caused screams of delight across blogland and cries of “She lied !” and “I told you so !” Another sad day for all victims of rape because we are now even less likely to be believed after this high-profile case.

Lucky White Girl has a post on being unapologetic about our solidarity with the woman.

First and foremost, I’m proud to have stood in solidarity with the woman then and I’m proud now to stand in solidarity with her now. Why? Because even if it can’t be pr oven that rape as defined under NC law was committed it’s clear that something unsavory went on at that party that reeks of racism, sexism and classism

She goes on to say in a her eloquent post

What does it all mean? In the end I think we did the right thing. We listened to a poor, young black woman who accused wealthy, young white men of a crime. We took her seriously. Thirty years ago it might not have even gone this far. If the fact that these boys behaved as they did is cause for shame, the fact that the rest of the nation reacted as we did –with shock and outrage– is cause for hope.

Spotted Elephant posts her angry response at Bipolar View

The racism in this case is overwhelming. The sexism is so standard that I want to scream. If you think the fact that the woman worked as a stripper is relevant, you’re a sexist. If you think it’s irrelevant that the woman who was assaulted was African American and the boys who attacked her were white, you’re not only a racist, you’re a fool. If you immediately disbelieve a woman who says she’s been raped, you’re a waste of human tissue.

I imagine the backlash against both these posts will be swift and ferocious too. Whatever the outcome of this case, rape victims will be the ones who are affected most especially if they are black. People will have this particular rape case in their minds for many years to come. It is already hard enough to come forward and report rape. Most of the time the woman is not believed anyway. How much harder will it be now ?

In solidarity

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~ by deviousdiva on December 23, 2006.

16 Responses to “Duke Rape Charges Dropped”

  1. Comment deleted by DD

  2. COMMENT DELETED BY DD

  3. Has it occurred to you that this accusation might have been entirely false?

    The rape charges were dismissed, after the alleged victim claimed she had been raped, without her attackers wearing a condom, but the DNA evidence determined that neither any of the accused nor anyone else on the lacrosse team had left “genetic material” (the euphamism of the twenty-first century) either in her body or on her clothing.

    What does that mean? Either she deliberately lied or her memory was so unreliable that she gave a thoroughly inaccurate statement to the police. In either case, it is going to be extremely difficult to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a crime to which she was the sole witness can be proved in a court of law.

  4. Our hostess concluded:

    In solidarity

    In solidarity with whom, DD? That you are in solidarity with women who really have been raped is certainly understandable.

    But does your statement also mean that you stand in solidarity with the alleged victim in the Duke case, a woman who was not raped, and whose false accusations will, you stated, set back the rights of those who do make legitimate claims of rape?

  5. In solidarity with all women who have been raped or sexually assaulted and have been brave enough to speak out even when they are not believed.

    In solidarity with the women who support victims of rape and sexual assault even when they are attacked for doing so.

    I hope that makes my stance clear.

    In this particular case, I do not know the truth but I do know that she was called a liar from day one, before ANYONE stepped foot in a courtroom, and the venom and hatred that was levelled at her was extreme and swift. She was tried by media (mainstream and blog).

    In the rare cases, that a woman lies about rape, surely she needs counselling and help not condemnation from us who know nothing it?

  6. Well, I certainly thank you for not deleting my comments above; not knowing your comment policy, and seeing two previous deletions (of others), it had occurred to me that mine might be consigned to bandwidth limbo as well.

    Was teh Duke accuser called a liar from day one? Yes, certainly. But might that not be because she was lying, and such was obvious, even then?

    We have proof, now, that she was lying: she claimed in the beginning that three team members forced her into sexual intercourse, yet, months later, we found out that none of the “genetic material” came from any team member. Her current claim, according to the DA, is that she “cannot remember” if she was penetrated by a penis or an object.

    Perhaps it really is a problem with her memory; was she intoxicated or high on drugs? I suspect that that, too, will be answered later.

    I haven’t posted anything about this case on my site, simply because I haven’t followed it as closely as a lot of other writers, and because this was one of those cases where there was always another shoe waiting to be dropped; I thought that some of the conservative bloggers (and my site is definitely on the conservative side) who wrote about it might have gotten ahead of the story. But, at least thus far, they have been correct.

    You wrote:

    In the rare cases, that a woman lies about rape, surely she needs counselling and help not condemnation from us who know nothing it?

    erhaps you have forgotten something: at least in this case, the lie about rape has created real victims. The three men accused of the rape are out many thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. The entire team, ranked #2 in the nation at the time, had the remainder of its season cancelled. The coach lost his job. Where do these people go to get their reputations back? How can the team get back its lost season, potentially a championship one?

    The woman who made the complaint is very poor; she cannot be sued, as a practical matter, because she has virtually nothing. The District Attorney is protected by sovereign immunity, so the falsely accused men have no recourse there.

    You would treat the woman in this case as a victim, but, in fact, her actions have created many other victims.

  7. […] Thanks to a link from Sharon, I found the website The World of Devious Diva. The Diva wrote about the dropping of the rape charges against members of the Duke University lacrosse team. That case, which has attracted national attention (but about which I have not previously written on this site), had all of the lurid details: white male college students (stereotyped, inaccurately, as “rich white boys”) hire strippers for a party, and one of the strippers, who is black, claimed that three of the players raped her. Mike Nifong, the local District Attorney, filed rape charges against the three. […]

  8. […] Thanks to a link from Sharon, I found the website The World of Devious Diva. The Diva wrote about the dropping of the rape charges against members of the Duke University lacrosse team. That case, which has attracted national attention (but about which I have not previously written on either my site or this one), had all of the lurid details: white male college students (stereotyped, inaccurately, as “rich white boys”) hire strippers for a party, and one of the strippers, who is black, claimed that three of the players raped her. Mike Nifong, the local District Attorney, filed rape charges against the three. […]

  9. Watch this video of the accuser selecting her attackers. Notice how she describes specific acts by each of the accused. These specific acts involve anal, oral, and vaginal rape. She claims that one person raped her orally, he ejaculated and she spit it out on the floor. The DNA tests from oral, vaginal and anal swabs came back with no DNA from any Lacrosse player or her boyfriend. Her oral and written statements follow along this same story line with vaginal, oral, and anal rape. Now she claims that she is not sure whether a penis is involved in the attack.
    http://www.newsobserver.com/1325/story/521410.html

    The story is now changing to not involve forcible rape (as defined by NC) which only covers the vaginal rape with a penis. The accusations of oral and anal rape as described still would have left DNA. That part of the accusation still is not supported by the physical evidence. How she would mistake a penis in her mouth and ejaculate that she had to spit out for an object I don’t know.

    This is not the first time the DA had to change her story because of the evidence. In her statement to police she described the attack as lasting 30 minutes. She even broke it down for certain amount of time for each person performing specific acts. When Reade Seligman came out with his alibi with ATM photos, tax cab ride, dorm entry records that put him at a different point when the 30 minute attack would have occured Nifong changed the story to a 5 minute attack.

    The withdrawal of the claim of the use of a penis in the attack as described is not a minor story change.

    Speaking of whose reputation was trashed from the beginning I think that the Lacrosse team win in that reguard hands down. If you think the accuser was trashed from the beginning you did not read the same mainstream news that I read. I think a lot of people began to question the DA’s story that he was certain a rape happened when the DNA results came back negative. As people learned more about the evidence that the DA had (or lack thereof) and more about the accuser and her background it opened up some questions about her credibility. You may thank that many have rushed to judgement before a trial but a lot of the DA’s evidence is now publicly available as attachments to motions.

    The defense team last week filed notice that they intend to call a number of the prosecution witnesses from the SBI lab, the private DNA lab, the emergency room Dr. that examined the accuser as defense witnesses. This tells me that the defense plans to use these witnesses to show physical evidence does not support the accusers story. They will be used to impeach the accusers story on the stand. I have read much of the publicly available evidence. I do not think her story will hold up under cross examination. It will be bad.

    A good DA would have investigate this case and resolve these inconsistencies in the accusers story before indicting. Then the accuser would not get trashed in the media.

  10. To be fair, I don’t believe that our hostess was stating that the rape accusations in this particular instance were valid. Rather, she is showing “solidarity” with those who claim legitimately, they were raped, and is giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    This is a particularly bad story. The accuser almost certainly lied deliberately; if she wasn’t deliberately lying, then she was so messed up on something that her memory was completely incoherent. I feel it safe to say that most people are going to assume it is the former rather than the latter.

    But this problem was compounded by the District Attorney. The problems with her story were obvious, long before the DNA evidence came in; that’s why there were quick attacks against the charges right from the get-go, attacks which drew DD’s ire. A competent DA should have seen the real problems with this (and he had plenty of help having those problems pointed out), and never run with the charges the way he did. At most he should have collected DNA evidence as a precursor to filing charges, and taken a decision on filing charges only after he had that in hand. Had he taken that even-handed approach, this story would have died down months ago, and far less damage would have been done to anybody.

  11. This always happens when you blog about a rape, doesn’t it? Immediately people rush to comment to say how the woman in a case they know nothing about save what they hear in the (male-dominated, natch) media have claimed was a liar. No thoughts on the context in which rape occurs, no mention of the fact that the conviction rate is shockingly low in the US and the UK, for example.

    Listen up, commentators. Do some research about rape. Proper research. Find out how many rapes are reported; find out how rape survivors are treated in court; find out how rapists are ‘normal’ men without a sign on their head indicating that they are torturers of women. find out the greater risk and rate of sexual attacks that happen to women in the sex industry. And find out that women are people.

    A dropping of the rape charges does not mean no rape has taken place, it means the police believe that rape cannot be proven in court- which is an entirely different thing, since in most rape cases in the US or UK one pretty much has to have had the living shit beaten out of one and be a nun in order to get a conviction.

    As for details, it’s quite normal for victims of rape and sexual assault to be confused about what has happened to them, and for their descriptions to change because the experience is so fucking traumatic. In such situations, women often try to disasociate themselves from their bodies to get through the ordeal.

    Here are some useful sites:

    http://www.truthaboutrape.co.uk/index2.html
    http://www.womenagainstrape.net/
    http://www.campaigntoendrape.co.uk/

  12. oh, and this:
    http://www.holysmoke.org/fem/fem0235.htm

    By the way, I forgot to mention that DNA testing does not prove that someone has lied about their ordeal, it just means no DNA was found on the person.

  13. Thank you for your comments Laurelin and for the the links. I really think that people do not really understand the idea that rape charges are not always dropped because rape did not happen.

  14. DD, I remember when there was a protest about the low rape conviction in the UK last April, I was shocked at how people just didn’t know how low it was. I feel we need to get these stats out so peole will think about rape cases in context, rather than just taking the media and the defendant’s word for it.

    So I’m glad the links were helpful!

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