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April 11, 2006

The Politics of Rape - rant warning

Rape happens for a number of reasons, but the abject violation of the victim remains. It is the penultimate act of dismissing and erasing the humanity of the victim. Invading armies did this as an act to show contempt of their enemies. Serial rapists of strangers usually do it with a sense of rage towards a person who is the object of that rage with the victim as the stand-in. Some rapes are an expression of power and domination, as what happens in prison communities.

Rape is a heinous act that engenders an immediate visceral reaction in the vast majority of decent people. It is physical assault with the added dimensions of deep psychological violation.

What rape is NOT, or what it should NOT be is a FUCKING BANNER OF ONE'S POLITICS.

Let me make myself clear. I wrote my post on the Duke affair because I've found much of the coverage salacious and sensational. Then I find a perfect example of irony of someone decrying rush to judgment based on a hatred of "the Other" while engaging in the exact same thing vis a vis the Duke Lacrosse team members under suspicion of rape. Hell bells, no charges have even been filed!

Not that just the blogsphere has been nattering about conspiracy theories about privileged "white boys", playing the racist and misogynist cards for all their worth, but Carl Goss in my comments points to a particularly smarmy transcript from CNN's Nancy Grace aired on March 31:

GRACE: OK, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Let`s go out to Dave Foley, defense attorney. Don`t move, Kevin Miller! David Foley, if they`re innocent, why not cooperate? Why stall? Why did they have to have a court order for 46 or 47 lacrosse members to give DNA? It`s very simple. You take something that looks like a Q-tip. You swab the inside of your mouth. It`s nothing more than like a doctor looking for a sore throat. Why? Why wouldn`t they give their DNA? Let`s think about it, Dave Foley! Give me your best shot.

DAVE FOLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, in terms of this, we`re dealing with young people, OK, who are not necessarily familiar with the law, number one. So they need to have their legal rights...

GRACE: You`re kidding, right?

FOLEY: ... protected...

GRACE: You`re -- you`re kidding?

FOLEY: No, I`m not kidding.

GRACE: Because, you know, at age 17, you know where my father was? He was on a fighter ship halfway around the world, representing his country, about to die for his country. You know what? Don`t talk to me about how young they are, all right?

FOLEY: Well, they`re...

GRACE: These are the elite members...

FOLEY: ... lacrosse players at Duke.

GRACE: ... of the lacrosse team.

FOLEY: They`re not exactly doing what your father did. They`re not...

GRACE: Yes, they`re older than that! They`re older than that!


GRACE: You know what, David Foley? Go ahead. I got you. I got you on this one, all right? And when it comes out, if one of these young men - - if -- is the perpetrator, that jury will know they only gave their DNA pursuant to court order.

Ok. Grace is Jerry Springer in drag and sensationalism is her forte, but outside of the creepizoid vibes she sends, laser-like, through several pounds of pancake makeup and hair lacquer, as a former prosecuter she knows better in regards to someone exercising their CONSTITUTIONAL rights.

Listen up and listen well. If the police came to me and I knew they had suspicion I committed some crime, even as I was totally innocent of it I would never voluntarily talk to them without an attorney. Period. You shouldn't either. That's your right and they can NOT hold it against you.

I work in a DA office. I have great respect for our judicial system and for the vast majority of good, honest cops.

And there is no fucking way I'd voluntarily allow them to search my home, car or answer questions from them without legal counsel.

And when Nifong is publically imitating Nancy Grace implying Duke guilt because of "noncooperation", even USC Law Professor Erwin Chemerinsky (very Left) expressed shock at such unprofessionalism (on Hugh Hewitt's show this date). For some, I suppose, that would qualify Chemerinsky as an ignorant Judgy McJudgerson

You see, I don't have any POLITICAL or IDEOLOGICAL stake in Rape. I come at it from the POV as someone who works within the judicial system. Maybe I'm a little jaded after close to eight years of processing cases, watching the petty political manueverings and grasps for power of attorneys and reading uncounted police reports.

For me, evidence counts. And only evidence. No where in my previous post did I say the victim was lying or should be up on charges herself. No where did I say a rape hadn't occured. But if we take the court-ordered tests at face value, and Nifong has not disputed what has been reported, no DNA linking any of the 46 Duke Players to the victim was found ON her, IN her or ON any of her THINGS. She, indeed, may be a victim of rape and assault. But not by the players.

How convenient that suddenly there is all this "let's wait until all the evidence comes in" or "well, it's still a good example of gang rape" from some of the same people who couldn't wait for the sentencing of these players they had already personally convicted.

Piny may have had it partly right, some people DO feel they have to make "The Other" suffer to feel real.

And the POLITICS of this particular case will assure that no one gets out of it unscathed by those who will use either the players or the victim as mere pawns in their own narratives.

How fucking pitiful.

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Posted by Darleen at April 11, 2006 09:00 PM


While I agree with everything you said, outside the legality of this whole thing is the moral and decency side.

Did you read my post on the suggestive e-mails sent to me by a 17 yr old boy????

There is something deeply wrong here. I am tired of the mantra "Boys will be boys." As far as assault goes, I don't know if they did it or not, but as far as being stupid?

Guilty as charged.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at April 12, 2006 05:00 AM


She said "penultimate".

Posted by: P0rnholio at April 12, 2006 06:40 AM

Perhaps the most coherent presentation of the issues I've seen yet.

Posted by: Jane at April 12, 2006 08:46 AM

Grace is a caricature of a DA. All suspects are guilty. She's also behaved unethically when she was a prosecutor, as pointed out by the 11th circuit.


Posted by: Josh at April 12, 2006 11:55 AM


On my first Duke post just before this one, I don't let the "boys" off the hook.

"Stupid" doesn't even begin to cover it. Duke Univ has every right to suspend them, to shut down their "house" and fire the coach.

Their behavior was appalling!!

Posted by: Darleen at April 12, 2006 12:26 PM

The ultimate victim in this story and other's like it is the judicial process. I always thought that the core of our judicial process was "Innocent until proven Guilty". That no longer holds, as you can see the gals at feministe are verbally lynching the "evil white man" and the other side is ready to hang the "stripper/prostitute".

Whether the boys ( the alleged perps) are guilty or whether the girl (the alleged victim) is guilty of lying is not to be decided by the press, bloggers, Nancy Grace or anybody with an opinion - that's for the court to decide based on the evidence.

It's simply a shame that we have arrived at this point in our history were shameless individuals will use the viscious crime of rape to further their political agendas. Just sad.

Posted by: chez diva at April 13, 2006 09:22 AM

Penultimate means "second to last", not "really ultimate".

Posted by: menJop at April 19, 2006 05:27 PM


Yes, I know the meaning of "penultimate" as one step below "ultimate"

The ultimate act of "dismissing and erasing the humanity of the victim" is murder. Rape is "the little murder."

Posted by: Darleen at April 19, 2006 06:02 PM

inconsitencies with the accuser's time-line, total and absolute absence of DNA at the alleged crime scene, no matching DNA evidence found on the accuser, and no physical evidence found on any of the boys.

Most importantly severe integrity and character issues with the accuser:
* a possible prior false accusation of rape by 3 boys in 1996.
* a documented false accusation of kidnapping in 1998.
* Larceny, grand theft auto, trying to run over a police officer, lewd and indecent public behavior in 2002.

All evidence points to the accuser/stripper/escort lied about the entire rape accusation.

The ultimate act is dismissing the nightmare and victimization of these innocent boys by this criminal stripper drug-abuser. She should send the rest of her life behind bars so she won't hurt anymore innocent victims.

Posted by: Betty Freidan at May 7, 2006 12:01 AM