Sunday, January 04, 2009

More Garden Variety Male Sexual Aggression?

More college athletes have been charged with committing a sexual assault on an unconscious woman.

From the OC Register:

SANTA ANA - The discovery of a 19-minute-long videotape that prosecutors say shows graphic detail of a violent rape has landed two Santa Ana College football players and their friend in custody on several felony charges of rape, according to an Orange County District Attorney statement released today.

Prosecutors said the woman was unconscious at the time of the suspected rape.
Earlier this week, prosecutors charged football players Michael Alexander Clemmons, 19, of Tustin and Luster Mitchell Lewis, 20, of Irvine on suspicion of felony rape by use of an intoxicating substance and felony rape of an unconscious person in addition to several other sexual assault-related charges.

The pair's out-of-town friend, John Paul Foster II, 22, of Seaside in Monterey County, was also arrested on suspicion of the same charges, prosecutors reported today. [...]

At one point, prosecutors stated, the men are seen in the video slapping the woman in the face, telling her to wake up and holding her nose closed to suffocate her in order to wake her up, prosecutors reported.

I'm sure some people who position themselves as experts will have words which will attempt to spin this evidence into meaninglessness. Garden variety male sexual aggression is just one way people attempt to dismiss certain rapes and to excuse certain rapists. The question is whether a jury will allow themselves to be spun or if they already agree with the spin which makes group rape of an unconscious woman into a non-crime.

The actions described by prosecutors happened in July and only after a copy of the video was given to police were these men arrested.

For some people this fact will give them an opening to spin all sorts of rape-denial theories. But those denial theories and their continuing popularity, as well as having the De Anza rape case where a gang rape of an unconscious girl was interrupted by 3 women result in no charges, explain why so many rape victims don't feel safe reporting when they believe they were raped.

I won't be surprised if I hear commentary about this case from those who say they are against having one woman's word (or rape) ruin a man's life. Their claim would most likely be that this unconscious woman could have consented prior to becoming unconscious so for them the video of these men won't be enough evidence to prove guilt. They might acknowledge that these men are offensive while adding a, "But we don't know for sure what happened before the video started."

To counter this video we might get someone who follows the lead of a defense attorney by looking for pictures taken after this alleged gang rape where this woman is smiling. In this twisted POV her smile would be proof that nothing traumatic ever happened to her.

The truth is that what happened before the video, or afterwards, doesn't matter because nothing excuses sexual violence against the unconscious. Nothing.

Those who try to make excuses for these men are revealing support for sexual violence -- as long as that violence is done according to their preferred protocol.

Update (1/7): As I predicted a defense attorney has now weighed in on the criminal charges with his absolute knowledge of everything not shown on the videa.

Defense attorney Anthony Sessa, who represents Lewis, said "there is more to this than just the video."

"There was no force here or anything by way of taking advantage of anyone," Sessa added. "She (the 18-year-old woman) was going along with what was happening from the beginning. She knew what she was getting into when she went over there."

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:37 AM   1 comments links to this post


At January 04, 2009 4:53 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Of course rape apologists will once again deny a group of men committed group rape and sexual assault against an unconscious woman. They will deny and deny and deny despite 100% evidence this act of male sexual violence against a woman occurred. I've also no doubt the rape survivor's character will be discredited in an attempt to excuse and justify these rapists' crimes.

Such denials continue to happen because far too many men and women too, unfortunately, believe it is a male right to commit rape and sexual violence against any woman - irrespective of whether or not she was conscious or not at the time a man or men made a free and rational decision to commit rape. Only of course, their actions will be changed to those of non-rape but rather promoted as 'acting with the full consent and approval of the woman victim.

It is called male sexual entitlement and for too long this misogynstic myth in male sexual entitlement and sexual access to women and girls has been accepted as normal male sexual behaviour. It is not and never has been but rather is deliberate and calculated reduction of women and girls to men's and boys' dehumanised sexualised commodities.

I wonder how defence attorneys will attempt to justify and excuse this latest act of male sexual violence against women.


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