Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Duke Rape Case: Defense, you spin me round

With yesterday's announcement that the DNA test results are back, many people who glance at headlines may mistakenly believe that all members of the Duke lacrosse team have been proved innocent and the alleged victim proved to be guilty of making a false allegation.

But where did that impression really come from?

The defense attorneys.

However the defense attorneys in this case are not objective reporters of the truth, they are bearers of propaganda designed to help them achieve their goal of getting the best outcome for their clients -- whether their clients be guilty or innocent.

We forget that at our own peril and at the peril of every rape victim who not only didn't get justice, but who did get labeled as a criminal worse than a rapist.

Here are just a few examples of the feeding frenzy going on now:

talkleft:Duke Lacrosse Case Sinking Faster Than the...


La Shawn Barber: is Duke stripper channeling Tawana Brawley?

riehlworldview: It is looking more and more like there was no rape.

ipinions: DNA results exculpate Duke lacrosse team

UPDATE: Here are links to stories published after the DA spoke to the press:

CBS news
ABC news
AP news
ABC news: Two Campuses, Two Takes on Duke Rape Case

And here's a little of our 'innocent until proven guilty' posse's history:

Wilmington Star article

For those who still assume no rape happened, ask yourself these questions:

What if you are wrong?

What message are you sending to rape victims?

What message are you sending to rapists?

Do you care that your words are scaring rape victims away from seeking justice?

Do you care that rapists use your words about the alleged victim to help them decide who they can rape without fear of prosecution?

Is it any wonder so many rape victims feel their victimization will be tenfold if they go to the police?

In case I'm considered an unreliable nutcase because I'm a rape survivor, here are other perspectives:

realmenarenot: “No match found in Duke DNA tests” - the CSI backlash

Redstatefeminist: some interesting information

Alas, a blog: DNA evidence doesn't link lacrosse players to crime

Daily Kos: Why the Truth in the Duke Lacrosse Case Matters

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:33 PM   9 comments links to this post


At April 12, 2006 10:56 AM, Blogger Txfeminist said...

I'm linking to this post today; I really agree with your point about what message are we sending to rape victims.

At April 12, 2006 1:41 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Thanks for the link. I don't think many of those who attack alleged victims realize they are heroes to current and future rapists.

At April 12, 2006 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

False accusers need to be held accountable. Including the real perp - her pimp.

At April 12, 2006 5:03 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


I notice you didn't mention the need for rapists to be held accountable.

A telling ommission, indeed.

At April 12, 2006 6:34 PM, Blogger Txfeminist said...

Rape apologists are swarming the blogosphere right now. You can tell who they are because they post anonymously, and they vigorously defend their right to deny that rape happens.... It's amazing how threatened they are when rape cases create support for the victim.

I hope I didn't send it to your blog via linking....:-\

At April 12, 2006 9:57 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Send 'em my way. I'll say to them exactly what I'd say to my rapist if he dared to challenge me.

I did turn off anonymous comments so anyone who wants to take me on will have to identify themselves in some way.

At April 12, 2006 10:08 PM, Blogger R. B., Duke Alum said...

Way back on April 2nd I encouraged everyone to get out pen and paper and jot down what was known and not known about the "case" and about the alleged victim and alleged rapists. Too many people in this blog have jumped to one side without critically evaluating the credibility of the teller or the plausibility of the tale.
It is interesting to consider the relative criminal histories. I know little of the "dancer" except what others posted earlier.
The guys’ crimes amount to having a few beers and needing to pee. I do not know what makes so many want to take the word of the woman without question and then want to protect her anonymity, silence and supposed virtuousness. They similarly will lambaste the men for their silence to the media and then publicize their names and “crime sprees”. These guys did give police statements, and DNA samples, all the better to clear their names. Is it in the politically correct handbook that any rape accusation must be championed and that any alleged perpetrator must be vilified?

Go to the Raleigh News and Observer web site and listen to the 911 calls. Look at the transcripts. The caller who reported a racial slur has bizarre changes in affect, sobbing incoherently then instantly changing to a normal tone and back and forth two more times. She reported that the slur came from a guy along the wall, which is on the opposite side of the road she was driving on, and then she claims that it came from a bunch of guys leaving a Frat house she was walking by. The only consistent thing in the call is the address she spouts out three times. MSNBC showed a video demonstrating that the house number can't be seen in the day. How could this person know the address at night? I can't be sure if this call is "real" or something else.
Since I originally listened, the news now is that the first call came from the other stripper. I called it. The odds against two "independent" 911 calls of this type were extreme. What does this do to the credibility of the "victim," remember she must have been with the second stripper at the time the apparently bogus call was made. This call dealt the "race card." This helped pour gas on the fire, as if a rape investigation of a Duke team wouldn't get attention anyway. But like a house of cards, pull this bogus "race card" out and everything else starts tumbling down too.

Who really knows what went on in the house?
I would say a portion of the male guests, and the woman, assuming intoxication did not impair memory. (Listen to the second 911 call and find out the girl was intoxicated and in a stupor at the grocery store half an hour later) Unless there is some kind of video, we will be forced to trust one or the other or neither. Neither party is of such sterling character that one can eliminate all possibility that they are lying. Is it more likely that one person would lie to save face, get back her phone and cash, stick it to those jerks, or other unknown reason; or that 46 would conspire to hide the terrible crime of 3 which they might also be liable for?
As a Duke grad who lived on East Campus for four years less than a quarter mile from the alleged crime scene, I do have a strong opinion of the likelihood of each. The chance of 46 individuals conspiring to lie or withhold the truth is negligible compared to the chance of one or two doing the same. Unfortunately many just "feel" that she is telling the truth. The religious type fervor with which many champion the accuser is appalling. Just like religion is based on faith rather than logic or facts, the "champions" will not be thwarted by inconvenient crime lab information. While most will eventually wake up from this swoon of self righteous accusation, others will simply put up a conspiracy defense after the whole "case" implodes. It might be easier for some to believe that 46 white duke students conspired to lie to hide 3 violent racist rapists among them and that the crime lab was infiltrated by the rich northern parents’ bribes and that defense lawyers just did an unbelievable job of painting the whole case as a media lynching. Otherwise their whole world order crumbles.

There are still many who blame the players for this despite recognizing the fallacy of the rape accusations. Wouldn't these same people say that it is reprehensible to blame the victim of a rape for the crime? Is it OK to blame the victims of a false rape accusation for the accusation? So what is the justification for this blame? They had it coming! They should have known that strippers might do this. They were bad boys who deserve to be falsely accused of rape. They incited the girls to do it. Are these people just mad that the prudent silence of the players allowed the fools to spout on irresponsibly for longer? Who wants to go on CNN as the white guy denying he gang raped a black girl. The new gang initiation for the crips will be two bullets in your head.

The DA is running for reelection and needs to look tough on this situation. Look at the demographics of Durham and who he is running against. How much easier for him to hammer hard on this and get TV time. If the DNA indicates there was sex of some type, he has a case and tons of TV time coming. If there was no DNA evidence of sex, then he still looked tough on the Guys and friendly to the alleged victim and got some TV time. . . . . . and a bunch of votes.

By the way, even if this continues to progress toward certainty that she lied, she would never be prosecuted. Why? Because that would send "the wrong message" to future true rape victims. And I thought suicide was the only crime never prosecuted.

By the way, as an OB/GYN who has done many rape exams and processed many kits, I might be able to educate those who jump to conclusions. The kit can test for semen, latex, lubricant, std's, and blood. They would have also combed her pubic hair to get any of an assailant. (It is surprising that she didn't grab some from the bathroom floor, I know what my college bathroom looked like) If the kit is collected within two days we would usually get good specimens for semen DNA analysis. Showering can mess it up but not as often as you might think. Douching would likely ruin any specimen collection except for pubic hairs. Now, remember she went to Duke Medical Center and was examined within hours of the "attack". This would not have been by sleep deprived residents like I was. But rather by an experienced nurse. The form used for the report is intentionally limited in scope to get the facts down, but not add in any details which might hurt a later rape prosecution such as how she was dressed, if she was intoxicated, drug screen results, her job, etc. The part which details the vaginal and anal exams is pretty detailed, and I have no idea what was found. It is interesting that some assume there were lacerations, but that I can't find any official or unofficial report of that. If they were there, then the examiner probably could have determined within 24 hours when they were made. If there were none, then I would assume people are jumping to conclusions based on the "consistent with a rape" finding on the report. This is just a check box that any form would get unless the exam reveals the person is a virgin. A rape may or may not cause visible trauma. Basically like the DA said, it is not always about the DNA alone. That box is always checked because lots of rapists confess. I have never heard of not putting "consistent with a rape".
Any other specifics of what were found would be interesting and revealing, but just "consistent" means nothing and the DA must know this.

So many in cyberspace have rushed to convict the Lax players. The media is rampant with "sex crime" and "race card" elements. So many on Duke's campus have eagerly accused and harassed their fellow students.

The administration fired the coach and cancelled the entire season for the players. The movie Politically Correct University comes to mind. They suspended a student for what was said in an e-mail. I won't defend anyone else’s ideas, but I will defend their right to have them and express them even if they are offensive to me. Will the university similarly suspend the students who suggested castrating the players?

By the way, supporting the victim and suggesting she is truthful will by default villify the men as rapists and racists.
Similarly to suggest that the men may be innocent will by default make her a liar and false rape accuser. I would suggest that nobody should presume anything. Instead we should carefully weigh the information, the bias, the corroboration, the plausability, and then make a well reasonned theory of what might have transpired and who is more likely to be telling the truth. This is not pre-judging but rather use of logic and reason. I can respect any opinion if it is offerred in good faith in the pursuit of truth. We should not attack people for their well reasoned opinions, but rather for prejudice, racism, classism, and poor grasp of reality.

I think back on my years at Duke and how sheltered I was from the real world. Duke protected and nurtured us while we grew up. Duke is doing more now to protect its image at the expense of many students. I will certainly not reward this cowardice. When they ask for money this year I might decline and ask instead for their plans for the lacrosse team’s future. I hope Duke has a good one.

I will hope for justice to prevail.

I will be interested to see the fallout either way.

At April 12, 2006 10:56 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

r.b. Duke Alum:
"Duke is doing more now to protect its image at the expense of many students."

Can you explain this? I'd also love to know what Duke did to protect you and your fellow students.

Most of your other comments are a repeat of what's been said about this case so I won't respond here.

At April 23, 2006 7:59 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

I noticed that some in the blogosphere are quoting r.b. Duke Alum's comments above as if he is an authority on rape exams.

The accuracy of his claim is unknown.

Even if he is an OB-GYN as he claims, he may have absolutely no training in collecting evidence of an alleged rape.

Without verification of his identity and qualifications, his statements cannot be taken as anything more substantial than rumor.


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