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16 May 2007

Rape Charges

Upon further reflection, I decided that my previously alluded to blog post needed to be divided into two separate posts. So, here's the first installment ...

This has been brewing inside me for some time now, and now I'm getting it out.

Over a year ago, rape charges were filed against members of the Duke Lacrosse team. This May, each and every one of the boys accused of rape were vindicated. Not just because there wasn't enough evidence to convict them but because the criminal and legal authorities could find absolutely NO EVIDENCE that a rape had ever been committed. They were not just cleared of the charges; they were found innocent.

Before I go on, this is not going to be a blog railing against the injustices that these men suffered and how their lives are ruined (they are DUKE students, after all), but this is my time to vent my frustration over the whole damn situation.

It angers me beyond words that this entire nation was up in arms over the events of March 2006, and now no one could care less about the whole thing. Protests and demonstrations were held all across the nation, rallying support for this young stripper who claimed rape and changed her story more times than we can count. The Duke players were called all sorts of nasty things: racists, bigots, rapists, sadists ... the list goes on. Everyone backed this woman because she claimed that she had been the victim of racists slurs and sexual violence. More accurately, everyone backed her because she was a "victim." The only thing that she was a victim of was her bruised pride. She knew that the moment she cried rape that the entire world would support her. Especially since a lily white school with lily white athletes had "raped" a woman of color. Because she had been rejected and embarrassed by these men who hired her to TAKE OFF HER CLOTHES, she sought her revenge by ruining the reputation of these young men. It is women like this that makes real rape victims afraid to speak up and rape cases so hard to try and win. Everyone in the media questioned the pasts of these young men, bringing to light every single indiscretion (rumored or true) they had ever participated in. We needed to make them villains, right? At no point was this woman's incredibly shady past held up to the light for all to see. We ignored the fact that she has had many episodes of bi-polar and is regularly medicated. We ignored her police record, including the fact that she has been arrested for larceny, attempting to elude police, D.U.I, and assault on a government official. The previous claims of rape and abuse were swept under the rug. We were even willing to over look the fact that none of the semen found on her (and there were multiple samples) came from any of the Duke players. Even after she told the security guard at her work (a strip club) that she was going to "get paid by the white boys" 4 DAYS AFTER THE ALLEGATIONS, we still pressed ahead with the players public conviction. I am not saying that we must try the victim but we must be aware of the circumstances of the case. She has had a colorful history with the law enforcement and the judicial system. Why do we immediately take her word as gospel despite the fact that she has proven herself to be a liar?

More than a year later, the case is history. But now, interestingly, no one is now calling for her to be charged with filling a false police report and no one will be protesting against her wasting millions in tax dollars and civil servant time to pursue something that she knew to be false. No one is speaking out in support of these young men who must now spend the rest of their lives being known as "those Duke lacrosse players." For years to come, Duke lacrosse will be clouded by this scandal. I am by no means a Duke fan, and I generally do not speak out in support of those with enough money to go to Duke. But this whole thing pisses me off. This woman used a system set up to PROTECT women and victims of sexual assault and abuse as a means to seek vengeance. And we wonder why rape victims are so afraid that they won't be believed. This women like this ruin all confidence that society has in the validity and accuracy of what a victim reports.

Nice job, Crystal. I hope you are proud of yourself and sleep easily at night.
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