And charged with kidnapping and rape.
Now, all the threads on the Duke case have basically gone the same way: One group of people says, “We believe her;” one group says, “But those ‘boys’ could be innocent!” and another group (which tends to overlap with the first group) just wants to discuss the various issues of race, class, entitlement, etc that this case brings up — and talking about that, of course, is interpreted as “convicting” the entire lacrosse team.
So before we do all that yet again, let it be said: Feministe is not a court of law. We aren’t here to convict or exonerate anyone. In a court of law, the accused is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. That’s a good standard for our legal system, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about the implications of this case without always adding on, “But they could be innocent” at the end. We can also be suspicious of the “she’s lying!” line that’s so often used in rape cases, and almost never brought up in any other type of crime. So let’s discuss away, but let’s try and move on from, “But they might not be guilty!” and “But they probably are!”
The two men who have been arrested are sophomores, and one has a history of assault.
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.
Mr. Finnerty’s lawyer in that case, Steven J. McCool, said that the student had entered the District of Columbia’s diversionary program, and that the assault charge would be dismissed after the completion of 25 hours of community service.
That’s right — he went out gay-bashing with some friends, and when a man responded and told them to knock it off, they attacked him. The punishment that this upstanding young man received? Community service.
As for the woman, a physical examination backs up her story:
Police initially thought the accuser was intoxicated but later took her to the Duke University Hospital emergency room. She had “signs, symptoms, and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally,” according to a district attorney’s affidavit.
She may have been intoxicated, but let’s be clear — that isn’t a defense against rape. There have also been suggestions that she could have been drugged.
Obviously their defense lawyers are saying that the men are innocent. That’s their job. But they haven’t been exactly honest in their statements so far.
Defense lawyers have told reporters that the second dancer at the party has contradicted the accuser. But that woman spoke with a local television station over the weekend, under conditions set by her lawyer that she could not be asked about specifics at the party, and she did not contradict the accuser.
In the interview, which was also shown Monday on MSNBC, the second dancer called the defense lawyers’ comments about her testimony “out-and-out lies.” The second dancer said that she had not seen a rape occur, but that she thought the accuser was telling the truth.
So here’s what we have: Two arrests. One man with a history of assault. Injuries consistent with rape. DNA tests that have thus far not turned up anything. It’s a confusing case, but here’s what seems clear enough to me: Duke has serious problems with race, entitlement and class, as evidenced by the reaction throughout campus — this case has touched a nerve for a reason. It’s a problem when a campus leader can be arrested for assaulting someone and the university turns its head. There exists an elite class at already-elite universities, and many members of that class feel deeply entitled to behave pretty much however they want, since they rarely see consequences — see numerous complaints for things like public urination and drunkenness, community service for physically attacking someone, and Patrick Bateman-esque emails about killing, skinning and ejaculating on strippers.
Something is going on here. And all these things are worth discussing.
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