Rape?

When I first heard about the Duke Lacrosse scandal I was sure that the victim was telling the truth. I wasn’t sure why I was so sure exactly, but I pictured a large group of drunken men, and decided that of course she was raped. If you want a better understanding of what groups of people are capable of doing, read the book Among the Thugs. The dynamics and power of the group is downright terrifying.

And then last week, as more and more evidence was released, I started to have some doubts. It’s my understanding (and I do hope that if I have ANY of these facts wrong, someone will correct me) that there were cell phone pictures taken when she arrived showing visible bruises on her body. It was also said that she was very, very drunk when she arrived. It’s also my understanding that another cell phone picture was taken not 30 minutes later when she was carried out of the party by one of the guys. Was that time lapse long enough for her to be gang raped by three men? I’m not sure. I suppose it’s possible, but likely? I don’t know.

The code of silence between the members of the team is a bit strange. If they are indeed innocent, why is there any need for such secrecy? Plus, there was an email sent out after the party by Mr. McFadyen who said he wanted to invite strippers to his room the next night, kill them and skin them. (If Mr. McFadyen is indeed innocent of rape, authorities might want to look into this man’s mental state. Even at my most insane moments, and during my most hatefully charged hours, I have never once said or written or even thought about something like that.)

The university hospital reports that she had “signs, symptoms, and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally.�? That’s pretty harsh. So if three lacrosse team members didn’t rape her, she was obviously raped by someone.

Or was she?

A coworker of mine believes that maybe things got out of hand, that maybe this was actually consensual but that things just got a little too rough. An interesting idea, one that I’m not sure any woman would be willing to be a test case for, would be to have a woman who happens to enjoy rough sex from time to time undergo a standard rape test. I am honestly curious to see what the physical visible difference is between an act of consensual rough sex and an act of rape conducted by multiple people. Because I’m pretty sure that if my coworker believes that it could have been an act of rough sex, he’s not alone.

Today, I read this article and now I’m completely unsure about who’s telling the truth. Does she remember what happened to her? Does the other dancer know anything? Did these three men really rape her or did something happen to her before she arrived to the party?

Women put themselves into vulnerable situations all the time. And I imagine that strippers have it even worse. The politically correct thing for me to say right now is that no vulnerable situation – no situation at all – warrants that a woman gets raped. And I do believe this. (If you remember anything from this, remember that.) But it pains me to know that some women willingly put themselves into situations where they are surrounded by drunk, rowdy, impressionable men and not understand that the chances of something awful happening are pretty high. People, especially in large groups, can’t be trusted. And whoever arranged this event should have, at the very least, sent along a bodyguard.

Lastly, if she is indeed “lying�? as my coworker believes, or even rewriting the truth about that night, it plants another doubtful seed in all future and very real rapes. While it infuriates me to know there are men out there willing to hurt a woman in this way, it makes me feel even more angry knowing that some women lie about it.

And maybe I don’t want to have a daughter after all.

54 Comments

  1. Well, this is why these cases should be tried in courts and not in the media. Which stereotype do we want to see here? They’re all ugly. This is the lurid downside to the quasi sex trade and speaks to the state of race and class relations here.

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  2. I agree with Charlie. Forming an opinion of any type based on reporting is dangerous. I agree with Michele regarding the necessity to send bodyguards along to private parties, as well.

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  3. “This is the lurid downside to the quasi sex trade and speaks to the state of race and class relations here.”

    Wow. You said it. Great summation.

    I was watching this Dateline special last weekend. It was about a woman who was raped in Oregon (or Washington State, I can’t remember). It was very similar. She said she was raped after having drank and willingly entered a car with a boy at the party. She later drank more and then followed another guy to the car and had sex with him but told him no many times. (She told the first guy no too.) Later, the first guy had sex with her AGAIN while she was passed out.

    The case was eventually dropped by the DA. And the family contacted Dateline as well as the local media and also went out in front of his office in protest calling him names and saying he agrees with rape, etc.

    He THEN went to the media and released all of the witnesses testimonies. Many, of which, said she was giving the guys lap dances as well as flashing them her breasts.

    The family was outraged the public official did this. When Dateline asked him why he said, “WEll, I told the family to NOT go start a media circus surrounding the case and their daughter. ANd they did it anyway. After they began to slander my name and my office’s name, I had to release to the media WHY i wasn’t actually taking the case. It had nothing to do with the claims they were making. It had to do with the evidence.”

    I found the whole thing very interesting and really difficult to watch.

    But, you’re right, Charlie. IT is a media circus. Some want to see them fry without even hearing anything more. Others think she’s making it all up. And others still beleive it’s racially motivated whether it be black against white or white against black.

    What a mess. I pity those on that particular jury.

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  4. Yes, I agree, it’s impossible to know the TRUTH about anything. But by the media reporting the story, whether it be that she was raped or not, we can use this information to protect ourselves and/or change the laws already put in place.

    For example, the stripper trade should be protected. If it’s not changed to protect the women and their “employers” the the men requesting a stripper or strippers should ASK for it. Even if the men are placed OUTSIDE the residence to give them privacy, they need to do something about it.

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  5. Rape is a discreet act that must be examined as such. Rape doesn’t exist before it happens, so anything ‘leading up to’ a rape is irrelevent. It doesn’t matter if you’re stripping, giving lap dances, or even having sex. The moment you say ‘NO’ all sexual activity MUST stop. Rape is a boolean crime. It is or it isn’t rape. Circumstances don’t matter in the least, except as a way to strategize.

    Unfortunately, I doubt a there have been many investigations or trials (if any) that have treated rape appropriately.

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  6. I must play devil’s advocate here.

    “Rape doesn’t exist before it happens, so anything ‘leading up to’ a rape is irrelevent.”

    What about the number of women who get very drunk, aren’t thinking straight, get talked into having sex with a man and aren’t into it but too drunk to give it much thought, and then the following day once they realize what happened, then decide that they were raped. Had they been sober, they never would have had sex with that particular person.

    Is the leading up to part still irrelevant?

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  7. Michele – the law states that if you’re too drunk to think clearly, it’s rape. Rape isn’t (as my previous comment sort of implied) the presence of protest – it’s the absence of consent.

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  8. If I were a guy, I would NEVER have sex with anyone under the influence. It’s way too risky, in my opinion. :]

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  9. Matt said it best. ;-)

    Seriously, RAPE is RAPE no matter what. The media feeds into all our stereotypes and twisted perceptions (thank you Charlie) so that no unbiased opinion can be garnered from it.
    No matter what a woman is doing, drinking, flirting, having sex, if she says NO and the guy forces her…that is rape. If she is not able to give consent (too drunk, legally underage, etc.) then it is rape.
    Women too often blame themselves anyway…so many rapes go unpunished because of this, and because women are made to feel they were ‘asking for it’. I’ve been raped, twice…shit-faced drunk both times and yet both times I still said NO. I never did anything about either time because I took the blame…I shouldn’t have been so drunk, I told myself. And the media tells me the same.
    Sorry so long….hot topic!

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  10. See, that’s the thing, I would say that almost every single woman out there has been raped.

    I know that rape is rape. But for some reason, I feel even more horrible toward all those women who are somehow caught TOTALLY by surprise and raped by a stranger while they are out jogging/walking whatever. Maybe it’s because I am unable to imagine that, still. Whereas the other situation, the one sarah defined above, is one I am able to directly relate to.

    Does that make sense? I mean, it’s probably wrong of me to admit to, but does it make sense?

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  11. I like what Charlie had to say. It’s impossible to know the truth about any given situation if we rely on the media for information. It’s like trying to get help with your Algebra homework from Ashley Simpson.

    I think in court everyone will at least get a fair shot at justice. I think legally speaking rape is rape, regardless of the circumstances. My own experience with it was much like the girl in question. I was drunk. I was with a guy I didn’t know very well. I blacked out and he raped me. I think legally he would have been convicted had I pressed charges, but emotionally I felt partially responsible.

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  12. Also, perhaps the groups surrounding rape that need to be formed shouldn’t be focused primarily on women. Instead, groups of men should come together and for a group directed toward boys, educating them about the word NO.

    Women know early on that no means no and that it doesn’t always work. But boys/men don’t seem to grasp this a lot of the time. For example, if a girl says no to a boyfriend, one she has had sex with in the past, is it possible that he DOESN’T know or believe that if he has sex with her again, if she’s not visibly trying to kick him off her, that it’s not considered rape?

    Should someone start a rape prevention group for boys/men?

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  13. ”…directed toward boys, educating them about the word NO”

    What about educating them to the fact that a lack of YES means NO!

    This isn’t about educating poor, thoughtless boys, though. Guys know what they’re doing. They might play dumb, but they know. You don’t need special classes to teach you not to stab someone in the face…

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  14. yes, but, what if someone who spent time in prison and/or had their lives turned around because they thought one night of sexually abusing a drunk girl would be worth it, spoke to younger men letting them know it’s not worth it and the choices they make can indeed change their lives forever.

    We do this with drunk driving, why not sex?

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  15. Not shooting someone in the face might require some training – whether you’re a thug kid in NYC shooting little kids on accident or a multi-millionaire in Texas shooting your lawyer friends…

    “It was dark, and I thought she was a bird, so I had sex with her!”

    The Cheney defense isn’t portable, boys.

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  16. Well, drunk driving is something for which a propensity isn’t necessarily shameful. Who would the audience be? How would they be picked?

    I think your weiner should be removed until you’ve proven you’re capable of using it appropriately (and well).

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  17. People have to be accountable for their actions, and alcohol is remarkably powerful at mitigating control. I would argue that in the scenarios that we’re describing, the real mistake that people are making is drinking too much. Excessive drinking lowers inhibitions, leads to unwise decisions, and is often accompanied by boorish, impulsive behavior. If you’re a woman and drink too much, you might do things you might not otherwise do when sober (lap dance, flash your breasts, brag about your sexual history with overrated B-movie directors). If you’re a man, you may grope and molest people, urinate out of moving cars, drunk dial your ex, and try to fuck whoever is under you. Even after she says no.

    Is a drunk man who goes too far the same sort of criminal as a predatory rapist who deliberately stalks, corners, and assaults a woman? No, but he has committed a crime nonetheless, and the circumstances of the crime have a bearing on the sentencing and the degree of the charges brought by the State, and not on culpability.

    I think we’re focusing too much on the rape in this case and not on the culture of excess and indulgence that clearly set in motion the series of events that transpired. It’s almost as if we accept that people will drink to excess and do stupid things, but if you take alcohol and stripping out of this equation, what is the likelihood of something like this happening?

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  18. Charlie, first of all, let me begin by blowing a little smoke up your ass. Every time I have a bad day on here and spend some time trying to figure out “The Meaning of Blog” I need to remember almost every one of your comments. You’re a good person. You always think things through, and then eloquently state them. I thank you for that.

    I couldn’t agree more, either. And while I barely ever get my points across on here (well) that’s kinda what I was getting at only not nearly as well written. All I know, is while I was leaving the comment earlier, it was fueled by this idea that instead of talking about the problem directly in front of us, I wish we’d talk about WHY The problem exists over and over again and try and figure out a way to stop all things leading up to such an act.

    Why do humans feel the need to overindulge on so much? Why do we drink ourselves into oblivion? Why do we continue to eat so much bad foods and then complain when we come down with diabetes? Why do we become more and more dependant on anti-depressants instead of trying to figure out, via therapy, why we’re so lonely, anxious, depressed, etc? Why do we replace things like alcohol and recreational drugs with pills some massive drug company feeds us? Why do we take advantage of people sexually instead of embrace the fact that sex is so wonderful and should be enjoyed over and over again? Why are we hung up on a mere orgasm or lack there of?

    Why are we like this? Better yet, what can we do to make ourselves happy enough to embrace life to its fullest? Sure, bad deals are dealt to hundreds of thousands of people, but not everyone is that depressed and hopeless.

    I wish people gave more worth to THIS life. It’s really fucking good, excuse my french.

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  19. If a man is too drunk to think clearly, is that an absence of consent, such that he is being raped?

    Say a drunk man and a drunk woman meet at a bar. They go back to her place. They have sex. The next morning, neither remembers the events of the previous night, save the fact that they had intercourse. What then?

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  20. Equal culpability?

    Charlie – regarding the circumstances, you mention that it affects sentencing, and I agree entirely with that. I see sentencing as separate from the decision as to whether a crime was committed. The hearings on both are technically separate, though they can be combined. The circumstances are secondary, still, to me.

    By the way: I’m never going drinking with Keith again. He’s working on some sort of plan, I fear.

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  21. Keith, that’s easy, if she’s ugly, he was raped.

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  22. The problem is, sometimes a woman can make a poor decision and go home with a guy while blind drunk. Sometimes she’s dating some other guy and he finds out she had sex. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, a woman will lie to her boyfriend about it NOT being consensual just to avoid a fight.

    I’m not saying this happens often but it does happen. I know that firsthand, sadly.

    Those women deserve a kick in the vagina.

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  23. charlie, you’re so right

    michele, i’ll tell what i think the problem is, you may disagree, it’s internet porn and the lack of responsibility.

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  24. Internet porn? How, dude? Women have been raped for years and years even before the Internet even existed. How does Internet porn make it happen now?

    I’m not saying I am a huge advocate for Internet porn, but I hardly think that’s the blame.

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  25. well, in this situation, we have something that, at least in my knowledge, has been happening more an more often for no apparrent reason, guys wanting to see chicks getting on each other and more chicks willing to do it. last saturday, i was at a bar-league hockey tournament where they had strippers, i mean escorts, prancing around in their skivies! after the game ten bucks got you into a lockerroom with two chicks getting on each other. i’m getting old, but not that old and i don’t remember this kind of stuff happening when i was 18-19-20. these girls were making me blush. so i started thinking……playboy was what us young boys in 1989 used to expect from a stripper(minimal detail)…..now these young guys on the team were totally into this and expected these girls to have toys in all places imaginable, and they did! they did nasty stuff to each other and acted like they liked it, like in a porn movie. i was blown away! and not that it’s never happened before, but why has it branched out to things other than bachelor parties. i’ve been to these too where the girls passed around “pussy-pops”….. i didn’t eat one, i said “i wasn’t hungry.” so, back when playboy was as raunchy as we got, us “normal” guys had to deal. we had to suffer humiliation in purchasing a playboy or shaming our friends into buying them for us. now, the internet has allowed 10 year old girls to understand what bukkake is and feel okay with joking about it! the level of acceptance of degrading sick shit has gone through the roof. some people can’t handle it and porn becomes their addiction. i had to stop looking at it because i noticed it was affecting how i interacted with people when i went out, nothing major, just some sick thoughts here and there about people i didn’t even know. but when one surrounds oneself with sick images, sick thoughts will follow. just think of all the pimply faced 18 year olds at their computers searching “anal donkey screwing midgets” and finding it!!!! then they go out and drink….the last thing they saw was an impersonal midget screwing a donkey and now transported, they see a stripper screwing another with a broom handle wondering…..”if i only had a bowling pin, maybe she’d go home with me.” there will always be a line and always will be someone who crosses it, the real question is who put the line there in the first place. acceptance of porn and the disregard of real emotional connection promotes crossing that line that was drawn by the acceptance of a lesser porn that crossed a line that was drawn by an d so on and so on.

    just a thought

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  26. Holy crap. I have so many things to talk about now I don’t even know where to begin. I think I will need to wait until I get to mi casa to write them out.

    I will say I do hear what you’re saying. Thank you for furthering your earlier comment and I will write more from home.

    bukkake? I am happy to say that I have NO IDEA what that is. I won’t even go look it up. Under certain circumstances, I enjoy being ignorant.

    Things have gotten more and more sick, haven’t they?

    So the question now is, were we always screwed up and the Internet merely acts as a public place where it’s all out there in the open? Or does it breed weirdness and horror? Does it make people crave more weirdness? OR were they weird to begin with?

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  27. I’d like to know what your HONEST thoughts were regarding the Kobe Bryant case.

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  28. zac, mine? Or anyone’s? I need to become more familiar with that one before talking. I have a tendency to jump right in. I’ll get back to you. I promise.

    I do, however, hold an initial reaction. That reaction is probably not a very popular one.

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  29. well, I figure it will give me a little insight to your thoughts. When I read the intial post it sounded like you reacted in favor of the girl, then when more facts came out you didn’t know what to think. Obviously any decent person knows the difference between consenting sex and rape, but no one has yet to play devil’s advocate and recognize that there are equally effed up girls who use the word rape as a weapon to hide embarassment or get back at a one night stand. I know someone who spent a year in big boy prison, because of a girl who decided that a week later that she was raped. Another guy found out about the sex and told the girl she should blow him or he would tell everyone. So to hide her embarrassment and to not be blackmailed, she claimed she was raped. In the case of Kobi Bryant, as horrible as this may sound, I think the girl just wasn’t prepared for what sex with Kobi entailed. And no, that’s not a dick joke, but more like a Rex Manning joke.

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  30. I agree with greg that the ready accessibility of pornography online, as well as the increasingly graphic nature of mainstream media, has led to changes in sexual behavior. My wife, who chaperones such events, tells me that if you were to go to a high school dance, you would see girls bent over, hands on their knees, rubbing their asses against boys’ crotches. Dry humping is now dancing. My wife is as saucy and unsentimental about virginity as anyone I’ve ever met, and she is embarrassed by the behavior of her students and appalled by the things they’re posting on their myspace sites.

    I also fear that there is a similar desensitization toward violence for the same reason. One can surf over to ogrish.com or rotten.com and see horrendous images and video of all sorts of human brutality and injury. Real snuff films are but two clicks away.

    Young people who have no real experience in the world form opinions, expectations, and behavior because of the information they consume. If nuclear armageddon was the spectre haunting generation x, then gen y and their children are haunted by a self-inflicted cancer of the soul that is slowly inuring them to the very worst of human nature. And country music.

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  31. “but no one has yet to play devil’s advocate and recognize that there are equally effed up girls who use the word rape as a weapon to hide embarassment or get back at a one night stand.”

    zac, you’re so very wrong. If you read through the comments, I DID play devil’s advocate. I also mentioned something about a woman saying she was raped so her boyfriend didn’t get pissed at her. Keith brought up a scenario surrouding this concept as well.

    Read the rest of the comments if you have time. I know girls are equally as ‘effed up.

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  32. my bad..i do admit to skimming. man and I just had a long conversation w/ my bro about how when you think you have something to say, you automatically stop listening to anything anyone is saying.

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  33. Sorry, i have to retract something…

    “I know girls are equally as ‘effed up.”

    That’s not really what I believe, to be honest. I think there are more men willing to conduct violent acts than there are women. But I would never say that ALL rape cases are totally and completely legit. I have seen women abuse this which really only hurts other women in the end. I think I even stated that (albeit at the end and briefly) in the original post.

    Charlie, that’s freaking disgusting. It really makes me wonder if having children is a wise choice at all. I want them, oh boy, do I ever. (More so now than ever before.) But, oh my god, how scary. Can you imagine if you were to give birth to a beautiful baby who then grows up into someone you don’t really like? You might love them, but you might not like them?

    What can we do to make it change?

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  34. zac, no problem. I skim, too. It’s OK. I just got all worked up thinking NO! I DID DO THAT! AND I’M A WOMAN!

    heh

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  35. grinds crotch into charlie’s lap

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  36. the search strings are gonna be what’s “effed up” from this post, folks.

    “kobe bukkake charlie babies donkey”

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  37. I was thinking about that as I was writing. So many kids, appalled by what’s out there, go the other way and become fundamentalist conservatives (which I find equally scary), or are raised as such by their parents.

    I think you raise kids with love and teach them to respect themselves and others. And you pray, hope, and worry that you’re doing the right thing. And you always talk to them and try to make sure that you’re part of their lives, and when they block you out, lock their door, and play their music, you keep knocking, talking and asking, even if it seems futile. Because adolesence is tough, and kids make it tougher on themselves and their parents. The easy thing would be to disengage and ignore them (we have so much to worry about already), but that’s the worst thing you can do. Because even though your kids may constantly ignore and repudiate it, they need your attention. That, I hope, is what makes them become the people you would want them to be. You want them to have enough moxie to defy you, but enough sense to do the right thing.

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  38. I seem to have gotten away from scary search strings. I think I’ve been around long enough and have paid my dues. (I do hope that this post doesn’t ruin that for me. hehe). Now, I get things like Christopher McCandless, timothy treadwell audio, Regan Hoffman, dove advertisements, lee raymond piece of shit, and bodies the exhibition (all copied and pasted). The worse (weirdest, etc) one I have for this month is: fuck party or self falatio. Although, I am curious as to what glass infection amd yore nuts might be about.

    Tobyjoe, do i want to know what bukkake means?

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  39. If more people accepted Christ as their savior, then pornography, rape, and sodomy would be what they were in the old days: Something priests did.

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  40. To round out the search string superfecta: Ashton Kutcher

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  41. The Bedford Cheese Shop has a blue cheese whose description says it will ”…make your mouth water like a participant in a bukakke film.”

    This is how they describe a $50/pound cheese.

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  42. I KNOW WHAT IT IS!

    I remember that now. But I didn’t know it was spelled that way. I kept saying “Buke Cake” in my head.

    Buke Cake.

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  43. sweet jessica alba nude [more search engine fodder], what a comment thread!

    special thanks to charlie for reviving the “asthon kutcher” reference…it always cracked me up!

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  44. I am going to be google demoted. THANKS GUYS!

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  45. also, tobyjoe…you’re serious about the bukkake cheese shop aren’t you? I think I’d lose my shit laughing if I ever saw a cheese description like that.

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  46. I cracked up and the gal working there was like “Lauging at the somecheesename description? It’s totally accurate.”

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  47. He did. And the sweet lesbian woman behind the counter said, “Well, it’s true.”

    I had to ask him when we left what it meant.

    Regarding the rape: Finnerty (one of the boys being charged with rape) has a temper on him, one that shouldn’t be overlooked even if he didn’t commit this particular crime. The NYT reports:

    “Mr. Finnerty had been arrested with two teammates from his high school lacrosse team in the Georgetown section of Washington on Nov. 5, after a man told police at 2:30 a.m. that they “had punched him in the face and body, because he told them to stop calling him gay and other derogatory names,” according to court records.”

    If this Finnerty guy is beating up gay men in DC, someone should really, really have his head checked out as well. What is wrong with people?

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  48. some people are just assholes! he sounds like the kind of guy who would try and use the bowling pin

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  49. I’m not going to address whether or not a rape occured.

    What I will address is this: all the evidence so far is circumstantial , and there’s quite a large amount of ‘defense’ evidence. The DA is pushing for a conviction and throwing around the fact that these kids definitively committed to crime without looking at any of the defense. Why? Maybe because he’s in an elected position and up for reelection in a month.

    Whether or not a rape occured isn’t for the media and the public to decide on news reports – its up to our incredibly slipshot system of justice to determine. What the public should decide is why the fuck did this assbag of a DA start throwing around the rape word left and right and naming the alleged offenders? Some people are saying its to pick up points with the black community for the election. my money is on him just having screwed up, and trying to save face by not backing down.

    Whether or not they are guilty is irrelevant—we’re all supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. But, the DA has tried AND convicted the suspects in this case in the media – i’d like to see how many motions to change the venue get filed and approved. my guess is a ton , and i doubt anyone will find a truly unbiased jury thanks to the DAs media campaign. If these guys are proven innocent, they’ll forever have a ‘rape’ connected with their identities. and if these guys are guilty, there’s a good chance that the DA being pretty much unethical in everything he’s done so far opened a giant door for appeals and overturned convictions on technicalities ( if you see any of the talking heads on cnn talk, they’re all railing him on this , even the ones who ‘off the record’ think there’s a strong case against the students ).

    Rape is a ‘he said’/’she said’ situation. You not only have to prove that physical contact existed, but the context of that contact (known only to the participants) as well (some cuts and bruises can be tossed out because someone ‘likes it rough’). The evidence is pretty lacking right now to prove contact, and charging someone on context and circumstantial evidence is just bullshit – and I’d say that’s as much a crime against the community at large than the alleged rape itself.

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