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.