At Feministing: More. Duke. Crap. Samhita opposes the decision by the women’s Duke lacrosse team to wear bracelets that say innocent in a game against Northwestern.
The team members could have avoided having their decision attacked if they’d chosen a different slogan such as Justice for All. Isn’t that what we are all supposed to want? It doesn’t bash anybody and doesn’t label any innocent person as a liar.
In the comments Hujo wrote: Stop scapegoating on the patriarch trip and just take control of your own life!
Keeping control of our own lives is what those opposed to rape and gender violence are working towards. But following Hujo’s order would make rape victims feel they are the only one’s responsible for their rape.
Been there, done that. Eventually realized that it was my rapist who refused to take personal responsibility and who used me as a scapegoat for his actions.
Ain’t it funny how those who insist the loudest that others must take personal responsibility are usually trying to dodge responsibility for their actions or their words or their failure to act?
The same people who keep saying “real” rape is horrific seem puzzled that anyone would be angry toward those who rape and those who say the rights of accused rapists should trump the rights of alleged rape victims. They refuse to understand why any sensible person would be angry when alleged rape victims are vilified while alleged rapists are placed on a pedestal?
As for why shows of solidarity in support of accused rapists is problematic, see my earlier post:
Peer pressure led rape victim to drop charges, Tecumseh police say
The intent may be to see that there is justice for all, but the reality is that these shows of solidarity perpetuate environments that are hostile to rape victims and which lead to victims refusing to cooperate with law enforcement. Then if those rape victims are raped again, they are called proven liars by the same type of people who treated them horribly the first time.
Also posted on my blog, http://abyss2hope.blogspot.com
Pingback: IrrationalPoint's Soapbox
Pingback: abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open
Pingback: feminist blogs
Pingback: feminist blogs
“Justice For All” could be interpreted as being supportive of a verdict that finds the players guilty (the implication would be that black strippers do not get justice when they are victimized). I don’t know about the rest, but if someone hopes that justice be served, they often are hoping for a conviction (and are convinced of guilt).
Of course, this is spin-doctoring, but then, one could spin that “Innocent” refers to the accusers innocence in the question of possible false accusation. Probably this is not the case, but when feminists talk about the right to think the Lacrosse players guilty outside courtrooms, they should also acknowledge that others might hold a different estimation of events that occured outside courtrooms.
What gets me is the questions of solidarity. The Duke women (who play Northwestern tonight in an NCAA semifinal) made a conscious choice to see themselves as Duke lacrosse players first, women second. It’s not hard to see why — standing in solidarity with their “brothers” will be a well-received gesture by most in the Duke community.
But it still is a bit disappointing.
I’ll be rooting for Northwestern.
People Who Took to the Street Carrying Placards Saying “Guilty, Guilty, Guilty” – Why not carry a sign saying “Justice For All”?
The protestors could have avoided having their decision attacked if they’d chosen a different slogan such as Justice for All. Isn’t that what we are all supposed to want? It doesn’t bash anybody and doesn’t label any innocent person as a rapist.
The intent may be to see that there is justice for all, but the reality is that these shows of solidarity perpetuate environments that are hostile to victims of false accusations and which lead to these victims (and those who fear becoming victims) refusing to support laws to protect rape victims.
Justice is the notion that people should be treated fairly. Though some people abuse the word, “Justice for all” can only be spun badly by someone who’s dishonest.
Do you imply that I am being dishonest? Of course I know what justice is. I meant to point out that the word “Innocent” isn’t exactly horrible either, and subject to interpretation.
Is there some great societal harm being done by some women considering the accused players not guilty?
“The Duke women .. made a conscious choice to see themselves as Duke lacrosse players first, women second.”
Show me this please.
Show me where they said this.
Show me the group statement.
Methinks you take liberties with the intent behind the actions of others.
Methinks this statement propagates MORE unqualified myth.
Perhaps you mighrt invite them to express their intent here and at hugoboy-
Or print a retraction due to unrightious co-option of intent.
Where is the school in all of this? As a sports talk-pundit recently said, “As soon as you put on the Duke jersey, you represent Duke”. It seems fine to me if these girls want to wear the bands outside of competition, but it seems like Duke should put its fist down when representatives of the school (athletes) show support one way or the other in this case.
And as far as the brotherhood and solidarity goes across the women/mens lacrosse teams, I think that’s a load of crap. Having played on an NCAA athletic team with a womens counterpart, in most cases there is very little interaction– outside of the forced mixer at the beginning of the year. I’m curious about how many other students and non-athletes are wearing these bands, because it seems alot more likely that some Duke frat-brothers or just friends woudl be more likely to wear something like this.
Is that all it takes for you to deny rape victims any chance at justice? You don’t like angry opponents of rape therefore you become a rape supporter?
Your mirroring of my language tries to make unequal situations equal. I find rape apologists sickening and don’t take what they say as fact, but I don’t want those who didn’t commit crimes to be falsely convicted of rape. By your comment, you, however, seem to have no problem pursuing injustice if it means your side wins.
I’m not sure how I feel about “justice for all” as a motto, but I wanted to write in to thank you for that post. I appreciated your correction on the way that “responsibility” is often thrown around. One of the most frustrating aspects of this situation for me has been the ways that language is re-appropriated or twisted by those who support the lacrosse team. Words like “victim” are applied to the team (as in victims of false accusations) and “lynch mob” applied to those who protest or dare to question the absolute innocence of the team. These are nothing but parasitic uses of other people’s real pain to benefit those who’s privilege usually protects them from real victimization and lynch mobs. Nevertheless, people attach all the emotion of these words to the perverse ways they are being applied and so language re-appropriation is having a big effect in media coverage and local conversations. Thanks for your post.
I meant to point out that the word “Innocent” isn’t exactly horrible either, and subject to interpretation.
What other interpretation is there besides “They didn’t do it.”?
Well, to some people it might mean that no rape happened at all. To others it might say nothing about the question of if a rape occurred, and instead just say that these three particular men are innocent.
I find this all a little puzzling, not to mention bizarre. The Duke women are wearing bracelets that say “innnocent” because, I imagine, they think the accused are innocent. “Justice for all” doesn’t convey the message they want to convey. Btw, if the Duke women are right, then the alleged victims ARE lying; just as appropriate in these circumstances would be bracelets saying “falsely accused,” or “accused by liars.” Solidarity in support of accused rapists (or, to put it less question-beggingly) people accused of rape may be problematic in the sense you suggest, but so what? If the Duke women have come by their opinion honestly enough, they’re under no obligation to make life easier for people they consider liars, and perpetrators of a particularly ugly lie.
There might actually be a point of some interest to make here if you suggested that the Duke women were motivated by racism, or a brainless herd instinct, or some such thing (though it wouldn’t hurt if you also supplied evidence to that effect). Not knowing their motives, I’ll leave such speculations, interesting as they may be, to others.
Wow, I didn’t think there would be such a backlash from the she’s-a-liar camp against the idea of promoting justice for all — whoever that favors. Frankly that scares me more than any speculation I’ve heard about the Duke rape case.
I’m sorry, but being a woman does not give you a special right not to face peer pressure. If you have to stand up for what’s right, you have to do it, man or woman, and if you don’t do it, you are personally at fault for that. Not anyone else. You. This is a lesson I learned in a very difficult way, but in the end, it is still true. Those who desire a perfectly “fair” world are destined for unhappiness, because life is not fair even at its best, let alone at its worst.
If the womens’ lacrosse team believes these guys are innocent, it is their right to say so. I personally have no belief on the subject – I’m concerned by the lack of physical evidence in a crime that, if committed as described, always leaves physical evidence, and I’m concerned by the way that everybody who is screaming for these guys’ heads is doing it for ideological reasons, but I don’t know whether they’re guilty or not.
If the womens’ lacrosse team believes these guys are innocent, it is their right to say so.
Even in the context of representing Duke on the playing field? No distinction between privately held views and those which can be imputed to the university?
I’m not part of the “she’s a liar” camp. They may well be rapists (I would certainly hope the prosecutor in this case wouldn’t have charged them if he didn’t think he had sufficient evidence to convict; though, unfortunately, one can’t simply assume this of every high profile indictment). If they’re guilty, it shouldn’t need saying that they ought to go to prison. I just find it very strange to demand that a bunch of their friends refrain from supporting them on the grounds you’ve stated. The Duke women in question may be showing a misplaced loyalty; they may instead have a well-founded reason for disbelieving their friends could have committed these acts. In either case, it’s normal for friends and family of accused people to support them. We don’t usually ask them to agonize over the sensibilities of the accusers.
The problem with this blanket statement is that many actions lumped under the label “peer pressure” are in fact harrassment or witness tampering.
They didn’t end up wearing those bands as it turns out. I don’t know if you read any of this in the times but the NYT on the 26th there was an article which is Times Select but the jest of it was that Duke said they were not going to interfere with this is was up to the team yet a month earlier when the women’s basketball team was playing in a semifinal game and were approached by the media and NCAA officials jumped in to act as intermediaries when questions were posed about the Duke Lacrosse team rape allegations; the reporters were told that this was by the request of the school. So in effect the women’s basketball team was censored. The article is titled appropriately “At Duke, Freedom of Speech Seems Selective.”
On reading some of the news coverage on this it just looks to me like a bunch of girls on some sports team all upset over having their season wrecked due to ” the stress of it all” and the fact that other students and administration were not supporting the student/lacrosse players. No light seems to go off in their heads saying “maybe we need to wait and see what happens” or “maybe we do need to keep these guys out of here just in case” as they would anyone else who had been accused of rape. No inkling of an understand that regardless of if the allegations are true the guys still broke the rules , evidently had been breaking the rules for quite some time and their coach knew it were finally caught and they had to pay the piper as we all do in the end. Canceling the season it and of itself was just and really has no bearing on the allegations.
The bottom line is for me though that the women’s basketball team were not allowed to say one way or the other so why should the women’s lacrosse team be able to say it in a public forum. Let them go out and scream it privately if they wish.
I don’t know if you read any of this in the times but the NYT on the 26th there was an article which is Times Select but the jest of it was that Duke said they were not going to interfere with this is was up to the team yet a month earlier when the women’s basketball team was playing in a semifinal game and were approached by the media and NCAA officials jumped in to act as intermediaries when questions were posed about the Duke Lacrosse team rape allegations; the reporters were told that this was by the request of the school.
I nominate this for Run-On Sentence Of The Year.
I dunno, seems to me like the Duke women are making a very political and unified statement and clarifying their position in a way that INVITES criticism. If the victim doesn’t get a free pass from that, why in the hell should they?
Oh yeah. Go Northwestern.
People are charged fairly often without sufficient evidence — in the sense that the person isn’t actually convicted — to convict. That’s why defendants are found not guilty. I’d hope that the lawyers, and otherwise legally savvy people, here would recognize that I would certainly hope the prosecutor in this case wouldn’t have charged them if he didn’t think he had sufficient evidence to convict reflects the fact that the prosecutor’s job is to present cases believing he or she does have that evidence, even if the defendant is innocent.
Oops! It’d been a while, so could someone please fix my misguided use of UBB code?
[Misguided code fixed! –Amp]
I’m not sure if a criticism of what I wrote is intended. Looking back over what I wrote, I would, I think, change it only by removing the qualifier “in every high profile indictment” (I was thinking when I wrote that of the Kobe Bryant case, which, it seemed to me, clearly should never have been brought). It’s certainly the case, though, that some prosecutors shirk their duty in low profile cases as well.
Whatever prosecutors actually do, they have a pretty stringent obligation NEVER to file a complaint against someone unless they believe, on strong evidence, that he (or she) is guilty. Must they believe that the evidence is so powerful that no reasonable jury could ever fail to find the person in question guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? Not many criminal complaints would be filed if they adhered to that standard. But they must think, and have good reason to think, that their man (or woman) did it. Obviously, they may then turn out to be wrong. More often, a not guilty verdict comes about because of some unraveling in what seemed a convincing case (witnesses changing their stories, for example, or appearing much less credible to a jury than they did to the prosecutor who interviewed them, or what have you).
In reality of course, cases are frequently brought on the basis of inadequate evidence for a host of reasons (he probably did it, and we can bluff him into a plea; or, he’s a high profile alleged offender (e.g. Kobe Bryant), and if I can nail him, my political career is made; and so on and so forth).
There you have the obligation, and the not always so sterling reality. And as for how I know this: I was an Assistant State’s Attorney in Illinois for two years. Not a huge amount of time, but enough to confront most of the relevant difficulties in this area.
I would cap off this lengthy disquisition by reaffirming that (for the reasons stated above) I HOPE that the Duke prosecutor filed his indictments on the basis of a sincere, and warranted, belief that the evidence was adequate for conviction.
It is my first nomination.
You see it’s the sad result of being labeled “queen of the semi colons” early in life.
Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » False Allegation Worse Than Rape?
FYI: out here in the Chicago area the NW/Duke game got detailed coverage. What actually happened was that the Duke women’s lacrosse team work kneebands with the numbers of the three Duke men’s lacrosse team members that are accused of rape. I saw close-up pictures of the kneebands (worn just below the patella) with the numbers written on them.
I would like to just make it clear that the Duke Women’s Lacrosse team did NOT wear wristbands that said “Innocent”.
Well, Michelle, what led to the associated press doing an article stating otherwise? Were they considering it and chose not to because of bad press?
Well, hopefully if they had planned to do it, they changed their minds and not just because they would look bad.
But it doesn’t surprise me, that they would do this, or wear players’ numbers on their knee pads or whatever.
Peer pressure, isn’t that something you are supposed to outgrow before you get out of high school? But then some people never outgrow it.
Maybe they chose being lacrosse players over being women, but maybe they just did what a lot of White women have done and still do and that was choose race, over gender. It’s not like that has never happened before.
Radfem, why do you presume that this was peer pressure? These women are a lot closer to this situation than most of us here. Maybe they actually think that these young men are getting a bad deal.
RonF, earlier you argued that when four men rape an unconscious woman, and videotape themselves doing it, when a majority on the jury viewing the videotape thinks that it looks like the unconscious woman is enjoying herself should be enough to have the woman accused of bringing a false accusation of rape against the four men. Given that this is your standard of evidence for what constitutes a false accusation, it’s hardly surprising that you think the victim in the Duke Lacrosse rape is bringing a false accusation. Disgusting, yes: but not surprising.
I don’t recall either saying or hearing that the woman on the tape was unconscious. In fact, the story I read said that the woman appeared to be actively participating in the sex acts.