Fat chicks should be glad someone would want to rape them in the first place

Yes, really.

A barrister provoked outrage yesterday by claiming that the victim of an alleged gang rape was so fat she would have been ‘glad of the attention’.

Sheilagh Davies, defending one of three boys accused of raping two girls, said the 16-year-old girl had ‘slimmed down a lot’ since the alleged attack.

She told Inner London Crown Court: ‘She was 12st 6lb – not quite the swan she may turn into. She may well have been glad of the attention.

…which is exactly why she accused them of rape. Right.

I don’t know quite what to say about this one. Sometimes there aren’t really words. Stories like this make me embarassed to be human.

Thanks to Little Cabbage for the link.


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75 comments for “Fat chicks should be glad someone would want to rape them in the first place

  1. May 22, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Oh my God. That’s sickening.

  2. May 22, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Oh for crying out loud… If you’re pornalicious, you’re asking for it, if you’re not, you’re supposed to shut up and enjoy the male attention, as either way male “validation” in the form of your own humiliation is the only thing that really matters anyway.

    Fuckin patriarchy.

  3. May 22, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH

  4. ekf
    May 22, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Why do I continue to be surprised that women are making arguments like this? I mean, shouldn’t I know by now that women are eminently capable of lacking empathy for rape victims? When I see someone say something as horrible as what she said, to be so lacking of any sense of humanity towards another human being, it makes me think that such a person ought to be treated as a sociopath and removed from society as a threat to others.

    There is no excuse. None.

  5. tricia
    May 22, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Well, there was something wrong with her, but [I/my daughter/any woman I actually care about] isn’t like that and never would be, then it could never happen to me/my daughter/ any woman I actually care about.

    And of course it’s more important for me to be safe from imagined threat than it is to put rapists in jail.

    /snark

  6. May 22, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    I didn’t realize that the lawyer was a woman–despite the clear “she” pronoun in the initial post, which I read twice–until reading ekf’s comment. I suppose I really had a hard time comprehending that a woman could say that about a rape victim. But of course a woman could. Many women could.

    12 stone 6 lb is about 175 pounds. Unbelievable.

    If anyone hears about a way to contact this psycho’s employer, let us know.

  7. Morgan
    May 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I read the rest of the article and found this gem “All three were arrested within a few days of the attacks but claimed that either nothing had happened or the girls had consented to sex.” With the mother’s argument, they combined my 3 favorite arguments in rape cases; nothing happened, okay something did happen but she wanted it, okay she didn’t say she wanted it but she should have wanted it.

  8. mustelid
    May 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Can we kick her out of the gender? Please?

  9. Morgan
    May 22, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Ahh, correction. Not the mother, the lawyer. Sorry I assumed any woman defending a rapist would have to be his mother, my sexist mistake.

  10. Bitter Scribe
    May 22, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I understand that defense attorneys are necessary to the functioning of the criminal justice system. But I still have a hard time understanding how some of them manage to look at themselves in the mirror long enough to shave or apply makeup.

  11. Louise
    May 22, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Using this same argument, should the elderly women who occasionally get raped and make the news be “glad” of their attention, too? And what about kids?

    Rape-IS-Rape…it’s sick, it’s a crime, and it’s inexcuseable. WTF was this lawyer thinking…this is horrendous.

  12. twf
    May 22, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    I’ve heard this argument many times, along with it’s close cousin “it couldn’t have been rape because who would want to rape that” (also phrased as “I wasn’t threatening you; don’t flatter yourself”), but never heard of it being used in a court of law. Can I move to another planet now please?

  13. May 22, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    And of course rape is again presumed by everyone to be about lust, and not about blatant misogyny. Oh wait, that would mean fat women shouldn’t get raped at all, because they’re not sexy enough to *incite* lust.

    Ah you caught me. Damn earth logic!!

  14. May 22, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    She’s ‘slimmed down a lot’ since the rape, and this is seen as an unambiguously good sign, and heralding her transformation into a ‘swan’. Rape, the new weight-loss diet!

    Because it’s not like weight loss is a possible symptom of depression, except that oh wait, it is. She might have stopped eating. She might be throwing up every time she thinks about the rape.

    She’s been through a huge trauma targeted directly at her sense of self, body, and right to own her body and control what happens to it, and now she’s being told in court that this is a good thing because at least she’s a smaller size.

  15. kali
    May 22, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Well, there was something wrong with her, but [I/my daughter/any woman I actually care about] isn’t like that and never would be, then it could never happen to me/my daughter/ any woman I actually care about.

    Some kind of class or maybe race issues going on, for sure. I am not normally in favour of commenting on women’s appearance rather than their words, and maybe I will get my ass handed to me for even bringing this up, but there are two pictures of that lawyer at the link, and by the same logic she used she should be envious of the rape victim. (I sort of suspect the Metro included the pictures of her, precisely so its readers would have that thought. The Metro is written and published by misogynist bastards.)
    Anyway, lawyer clearly doesn’t make the connection between that logic as applied to the rape victim, and that logic as applied to her. (or maybe does but doesn’t care. ) But then she’s a fricking BARRISTER and has achievements and accomplishments and everything. Unlike those poor women who can be safely stereotyped as having nothing to live for & no life goals or ambitons other than a primitive and frivolous desire for male attention.

  16. May 22, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    It actually gets more twisted, if you can believe it. According to the Daily Mail, Davies also argued:

    “I am afraid cold stark reality is that things are not the way they used to be and every parent lives with the moment when their children start experimenting with sex for the first time.

    “The clothing available for young girls is so provocative they are worried about the effect that could have on them.

    “There is pressure on girls from eight to wear these stomachrevealing outfits, skinny jeans worn way down on the hips.

    “They are learning to be sexually attractive, perhaps before their time.

    “It’s about, ‘Let’s try it, let’s get on with it.’

    So! Whose fault is this?
    – The girls’ parents, who are freaking out because their girls are “experimenting” with sex
    – Society, which pressures girls to be sexual
    – Clothing, which inevitably lures in lusty boys and makes girls horny
    – Obviously, the girls, whose clothing and bodies testify to their desperate need for sexual attention.

    Whose fault is it not?
    – The boys, who raped the girls in multiple ways and apparently filmed it.

    Amazing logic here. The girls were too fat to be sexy, but dressed too sexy to expect not to get sexual attention. The girls were playing with fire and got burned, and they should also be grateful for what they got–a little attention, a little help dropping some pounds.

    twf any room on the other planet for me?

  17. kali
    May 22, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Also, does “not quite the swan she may turn into”=”hey, look, being raped was good for her!” Ew.

  18. May 22, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    For anyone still wondering whether fat was a feminist issue.
    This is exactly the same shit that happened over at Shakesville when Melissa dared complain about Opie and Anthony joking about rape. The trolls invaded her blog and suddenly it was all about her weight and not being “rape-able”. Kate Harding blogged about it.

  19. May 22, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    ugh, ugh.

    But you know, they can find -any- excuse. Remember the “Our Guys” story? Young mildly developmentally disabled woman gang-raped by a bunch of the town’s star jocks (hence the title, the rallying cry of the town coming to protect their own), including with a baseball bat and a stick. Smarmbot lawyer makes the case that “some girls are Lolitas,” and tried, with some success, to exploit the “but goshes, don’t you think the disabled deserve to be sexual too?” Which, yes, except for y’know, in this case -rape-, and she clearly was (from the book at any rate) mostly lonely and eager to please and be friendly, and for whatever reason, rather low on the self-protection impulses–she’d been a bullying target for years and years.

    and then of course at the same time, “did you ever ask whether these young men deserved protection from -her?-”

    you know, man-eater. all by her lonesome, on a roomful of the town’s most physically and socially powerful boys.

    it is to laugh and shriek and vomit.

  20. Nenena
    May 22, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    At least she “provoked outrage.” Thank god that some people had enough sense to be outraged.

    Can she face consequences for that sort of thing? Like from her employers, or from the Bar Association?

  21. Holly
    May 22, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Yeah, I was also reminded of the case belledame mentioned. I understand that attorneys are required to make whatever argments they can to support their clients’ cases, even against their own beliefs, but I cannot possibly understand how some of these people can sink so low — especially because I also can’t see how any of these arguments could possibly convince any but the most depraved courts of law. Can they just not think of any better defense arguments? Or heck, maybe it is a safe bet that utter misogyny, ableism, and fatphobia will play well to asshole judges and ignorant juries.

  22. Sally
    May 22, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    It sounds like this is the lawyerly version of a Hail Mary pass. The evidence against her clients is overwhelming, and she’s making a desperate attempt to leverage bigotry, because she has nothing else and nothing to lose (except her reputation.) They’re not going to be any more convicted because their lawyer is offensive, and any defense is better than no defense. It’s horrifying, but I’d be more horrified if I thought it had any chance of working.

  23. twf
    May 22, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    I don’t actually blame defense lawyers. They have to say whatever they can come up with in order to defend their clients. I blame the judges, and the justice system in general. I don’t know too much about law, and especially not British law, but can’t judges disallow certain defenses for being stupid and disgusting?

  24. Thomas
    May 22, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Sally, that’s exactly it. There are rape cases these days where the rapists record the whole thing, and it is plain as day what they did. It is also usually plain as day that there was no consent. The only defense, then, is to make some wildly far-fetched scenario out of whole cloth about the whole thing being an elaborate role-play. Of course, this sounds like horseshit to rational people. So to sell it, the lawyer has to appeal to ingrained prejudices; get women to believe that they can “other” the victim and maintain their denial that it can happen to them; get men to hate women.

    I may vomit now.

  25. Bitter Scribe
    May 22, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    There are rape cases these days where the rapists record the whole thing, and it is plain as day what they did.

    Yes, and in at least one case in Chicago, they were let off anyway. This was after the judge threatened to jail the victim (who had been passed out drunk) because she refused to watch under cross-examination the video of herself being raped. (The judge reversed himself the next day after a huge outcry. Thank God his cowardice overpowered his misogyny.) One of the kids had even jumped bail and fled to Eastern Europe. The verdict stunned people in Chicago for a week.

    I swear to God, the next time I’m called for jury duty, I will not tell even the tiniest little white lie to try to get out of it.

  26. preying mantis
    May 22, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    “I understand that attorneys are required to make whatever argments they can to support their clients’ cases, even against their own beliefs,”

    You know, I don’t think that attorneys are required to behave unethically in order to try to get their clients off. For instance, I haven’t seen anyone make the news lately by claiming that their clients just couldn’t help but lay a vicious beating on a Hispanic man, and really, what did he expect, going around speaking Spanish like that?

    I realize that yes, there is a lot of pandering to baser impulses and prejudices on both sides of that aisle. I just have a hard time excusing certain lawyers’ attempts to undermine a very basic human right when they stand up and try to persuade people that rape shouldn’t really be a crime, or at the very least that it shouldn’t be a crime when it happens to someone in group x or group y.

  27. May 22, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Backing up Preying Mantis, lawyers most certainly do not have to make whatever arguments they can in order to support their clients’ causes. It’s certainly an area of contention as to where the draw ethical line, but most everyone agrees that the line should be somewhere. I’d say that most defense lawyers (and I say this as the daughter of a criminal defense lawyer) would call this attorney’s statements incredibly ethically problematic.

  28. May 22, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Bitter Scribe, that is nauseating. With these kinds of cases in the news, it boggles the mind how rape deniers can claim that women to any significant extent falsely claim rape. Right, because it’s such a cake walk to try to get rape punished.

    Well I’ll pay close attention to how this story plays out in the news over here (in the UK) for the next few days. Hopefully people are actually angry, and this isn’t just the daily papers enjoying a story about teens, sex, fat, and so on.

  29. JR
    May 22, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    There were three boys. All three were 13 years old. There were two girls, both 16. The boys filmed the sex on the girls’ cell phones. The boys claim the sex was consenting. The girls say it was rape. Every news article has a headline “raped girls” or “gang-raped girls” – not alleged or claimed or asserted. Does every reader of this blog believe that the odds that the boys are telling the truth is zero?

  30. May 22, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    JR, are you for real? READ THE FUCKING POST, ASSHOLE. It’s not discussing their guilt or not guilt. It’s discussing the tactics of the criminal defense attorney, which are reprehensible. Comment on that or leave.

  31. preying mantis
    May 22, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    When the defense is making arguments such as “Come on, who would go to the effort of raping a fat chick? Surely she’d have been eager to consent to public sex with a pack of middle-schoolers!”, it makes it difficult to believe that there’s a real defense worth a damn in this case.

    There’s also the fact that they’ve been charged with stealing the cell phones–what, were the two phones some sort of gift to the three boys as a group for this esteem-boosting, fat-blasting romp in the park? And, of course, there’s the somewhat sticky question of which ones are telling the truth–the ones who initially said they never had sex with the girls at all, or the ones who initially said that the sex they had with the girls was completely consensual?

    While it’s not precisely a zero chance of them telling the truth, it would seem that the odds aren’t good that they’re being honest about it, none of which has a damn thing to do with their lawyer being a total sleazeball in making this argument.

  32. May 22, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Maybe she’s “slimmed down” since because she’s too traumatized to eat.

  33. May 22, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    And JR shows up to give the “bitches are liars” critique which is truly new and worth pondering.

    *eyeroll*

  34. JR
    May 22, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    No, Jack, I showed up to give the “criminal defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence” critique. Perhaps you think that Jose Padilla deserved to spend five years in solitary confinement without trial. After all, he was a terrorist to the exact same degree that these three children are rapists. Is it different? How is it different? Is there a rule that says that all criminal defendants are entitled to a fair trial except for accused rapists?

    And I say children advisedly. Thirteen year old boys are children. There are children who do commit horrible crimes, and perhaps these boys did, but they are children nonetheless. I don’t undersand how thirteen-year olds can be tried as adults, but then I don’t understand the British system. Perhaps some other reader does.

    Lastly, I don’t accuse the girls of lying. I also don’t accuse the boys of being rapists. Certainly I form no opinion on the basis of newspaper stories, which are always incomplete and usually wrong.

  35. May 22, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Perhaps you think that Jose Padilla deserved to spend five years in solitary confinement without trial. After all, he was a terrorist to the exact same degree that these three children are rapists. Is it different? How is it different? Is there a rule that says that all criminal defendants are entitled to a fair trial except for accused rapists?

    JR, you’re beating down strawmen. No one is saying that criminal defendants aren’t entitled to a fair trial.

    And I say children advisedly. Thirteen year old boys are children. There are children who do commit horrible crimes, and perhaps these boys did, but they are children nonetheless. I don’t undersand how thirteen-year olds can be tried as adults, but then I don’t understand the British system. Perhaps some other reader does.

    Are they being tried as adults? Did I miss that in the article?

    I also disagree with children being tried as adults. But that isn’t the issue we’re discussing here.

  36. May 22, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Oh, I get it now. Being raped is a compliment. See, now she has a sense self-worth because someone thought she was pretty enough to violate!

    All sorts of wrong in that line of defense…

  37. Mandolin
    May 22, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Shorter JR: Why yes, Jill, I apparently am for real.

  38. JR
    May 22, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Well, yes, I am for real. I thought this was a post about criminal law, seeing as the post was by a law student and it was about a trial. What caught my interest was that the alleged rapists are 13 years old. I thought that was an interesting and important fact, not mentioned in the original post, that was worth bringing out. But I see now that the post is not about the case at all. It’s about fatness and the perception of fatness. That’s not a topic that interests me much and it’s not one that I have anything to say about. I plead guilty – so to speak – to missing the point, and I will say no more.

  39. evil fizz
    May 22, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    I showed up to give the “criminal defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence” critique.

    Dude, I call your attention to the phrase “alleged gang rape” in the original piece. Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence (which, by the way, refers to the legal burden of proof, not speculation on a blog about criminal acts which may or may not have been committed.) They are not entitled to morally bankrupt, misogynistic commentary.

  40. Mandolin
    May 22, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    “That’s not a topic that interests me much and it’s not one that I have anything to say about. ”

    …you know, this is almost as irritating as your initial “what about the men?” whine. The defense is that fat women are UNRAPEABLE, because they are undesirable and should be flattered by the attention. The defense is that when a fat woman gets gang-raped, that’s okay, because she’s fat.

    Are you seriously saying that you have NOTHING to say about that? The fact that yet another class of women is being told that it’s okay for them to be raped strikes you as unremarkable and uninteresting?

  41. May 22, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    JR,

    Presumption of innocence is a legal principle, not an invitation to check logic at the door. And you know what? Even if they’re completely innocent, they should go to jail just for being big enough assholes to hire a barrister who would say something like this*.

    * That was called hyperbole, also not appropriate for the courtroom. See how easy it is to tell the difference?

  42. twf
    May 22, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Whether a defense is ethical or reprehensible is independent of the guilt or innocence of the accused. We don’t know what happened in either of these cases. We do know that the lawyers are relying on misogyny as a defense.

  43. still censored...
    May 22, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Also, JR–as well as people whose frontal lobes have not yet atrophied–might be interested to know that for years now, the UK has had a well-documented rise in gang-rapes among teenagers. I coincidentally just came across an article from the Guardian (it’s a couple of years old now) that was blogged by Amanda Marcotte (not on Pandagon, though) about this very subject. Sorry I can’t remember the site, but if you google or look through the Guardian archives you may find it. I’ll look for the link. It’s a disturbing read, providing the context that yes, this IS absolutely possible among kids that young, and they DO usually get off scot-free because of victim-blaming and every other trick the defense can launch. The “fat girl” thing, though, that is a new, reprehensible low. Further, these cases are tried in juvenile court so I don’t see what JR’s point was there? Perhaps he’s gone back to South Fork now.

  44. May 22, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Mandolin, what he’s saying is “now that I understand that this conversation is not about men and does not feature male protagonists, I am completely uninterested in it”.

    I’m guessing that if the barrister was male, he’d be all about defending his tactics. But a woman expressing her opinion about other women? Blah blah hats and ribbons blah blah blah.

    As for whether the barrister has to say anything she can to defend her clients – Jill and preying mantis are right, and this woman’s way over the line ethically. I want to see her professional reputation shot for this.

  45. May 23, 2007 at 12:19 am

    One more thing, JR, about your misguided calls for due process: trying to leverage common prejudices about weight and rape on behalf of defendants is precisely a violation of due process. The barrister’s comments seek to suspend the right of all people to equal protection under the law. It is a legal literalization of the widely held belief that thinner people are simply worth more than others.

  46. Lara
    May 23, 2007 at 1:22 am

    After reading all this it just strikes me over and over and over again how some women really believe that sexism doesn’t exist anymore. Like “feminism is too much” now and everything’s just honky dorry. Fucking Christ……

  47. little cabbage
    May 23, 2007 at 2:45 am

    Thanks for blogging this, Jill. It’s a fucking outrage.

  48. May 23, 2007 at 3:33 am

    I understand that attorneys are required to make whatever argments they can to support their clients’ cases, even against their own beliefs, but I cannot possibly understand how some of these people can sink so low

    Because they know people will buy it. They only reason lawyers defending people accused of other crimes don’t do it is because people won’t buy such complete crap when it comes to just about anything else.

    Not that this excuses the lawyer in question, it just makes the whole situation even more rage inducing.

    I plead guilty – so to speak – to missing the point, and I will say no more.

    JR – you didn’t just miss the point, you missed the fucking topic of conversation. It’s like you jumped into a discussion about gender roles on Star Trek: TNG because you just had to make sure that everyone understood that the odd numbered movies are the best ones, and anyone who thinks otherwise has no taste.

  49. May 23, 2007 at 4:16 am

    still censored:
    Possibly this Guardian story. Or the other that I can’t ascertain the printing date of (I threw out my backlog when I got fed up with their coverage of the “Israel-Palestine conflict”) that illustrated how young women aided in the rape of others in their attempts to be “part of the gang.” Probably not the bit about how there practically is a right to rape, though it’s worth anyone’s time.

  50. Miller
    May 23, 2007 at 6:39 am

    Until we call rape what it is–a damn hate crime–people will still see it in the realm of pure “sexuality,” in which it’s just a natural expression of our basic essence. Forget the fact that males are capable of seducing females to consent to sex and that males always have masturbation at their disposal to appease even the most primal urges; thus, making rape all the more transparent in its aim: the sadistic brutalization of a person (Of course apologists still depend on the assumption that girls and women aren’t human so such brutalization becomes trivial).

    “Hate crime” ensures people see rape–the psychological and physical torture of a person–as pure bigotry expressed through sex, just as Jerry Falwell expressed bigotry through religion. Large sectors of the public rightly referred to Falwell’s sermons not as “religious” but “intolerant.” You don’t hear the news trivializing Muslim extremists on the basis that they’re merely expressing a “religious” point of view b/c they know full well the end result: the justification and glorification of violent hate. Sexuality is exploited by exxxtremists the same way religion is.

  51. May 23, 2007 at 9:12 am

    “Alleged” victim? Sir, the victims were raped. Whether or not the boys on trial committed those rapes, someone still raped those women. Did you think that your rape apology would be welcome here?

    To quote Joseph Welch, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

  52. May 23, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Wow, thanks for the early morning outrage. Barf.

  53. May 23, 2007 at 9:39 am

    “Alleged” victim? Sir, the victims were raped. Whether or not the boys on trial committed those rapes, someone still raped those women.

    Well said, Moira.

    Whenever rape court cases are discussed, inevitable someone feels compelled to insist, “The accuser could be lying! We must presume innocence!”

    This seniment is frustrating first, as several people have pointed out, because it assumes that our justice system (in the US or UK) doesn’t presume innocence for those accused of rape–which is patently untrue.

    It also seems to presume that the court of public opinion (whose decisions aren’t legally binding) doesn’t make up its mind all the time about the guilt of the accused in cases that have nothing to do with rape. Which is also untrue, whether that’s a good thing or not.

    Finally, the “she could be lying!” hysteria points to a paranoia that women will lie about being raped more than people would lie about being victims of any other violent crime. No one gets in as much of a fuss to point out that a male or female victim could be lying about being beaten or hit by a car. Probably because in any of these cases, lying is very unlikely, since it would be hard to pull off and since rape trials are extremely distressing.

  54. buggle
    May 23, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Hi-I can’t figure out how to contact y’all about a post topic I’d like you to post. Someone at Twisty’s blog has brought up the De Anza rape case, which is completely horrifying to me. Sorry this is so long.

    Here is some info:

    From http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_5964944

    The three young women were bored by the party on South Buena Vista Avenue last March 3. For every guy, there were three girls, and many of them were young. Alcohol flowed from a makeshift bar in the kitchen – beer, vodka and plastic bags of wine slurped down in a routine called “slap the bladder.”

    The three, all soccer players at De Anza College, were about to leave around 12:30 a.m. when a girl they didn’t know gestured to a room off the kitchen and said, “Hey, there’s eight guys in that room with one girl.”

    Thinking that was strange, the soccer players – April Grolle, Lauren Chief Elk, and Lauren Bryeans, all 20, knocked on the French doors to the room, which were being held shut from within.

    A De Anza college baseball player opened the door about three inches. “You girls don’t know what the f— is going on,” they remember him saying. “Get the f— out of here.”

    But a black sheet draped behind the door was lifted a bit at the bottom. As the lights flickered, Chief Elk bent down and saw a mattress, a girl, a man thrusting above her and a number of pairs of legs surrounding them in a horseshoe.

    “We immediately knew what was happening,” recalled Chief Elk, 20, as she and Grolle told their story publicly Tuesday for the first time. “We knew it was not right.”

    The three women, now “swearing like sailors,” in Grolle’s description, began knocking more fiercely, pushing their way into the room with all the weight in their slender but tall
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    frames.

    “You don’t even f—— know the girl,” they remember one young man telling them. “Mind your own business.” At that point, Grolle made up a lie, giving it credibility by saying – correctly – that the girl was wearing a yellow corset. “I do know this girl, she’s a friend of mine,” she remembers yelling.

    What they found after the boys departed is etched in their memories forever, every last tawdry detail. On her back on the queen-sized mattress was a semiconscious 17-year-old girl, naked from the waist down. Her eyes were shut. Vomit covered her mouth and ran down the side of her face. Her jeans, panties and one shoe were all shoved down on one leg. The only thing the victim could mutter was “I’m sorry.”

    “You knew immediately this wasn’t consensual sex,” the 5-foot-11 Grolle said. “Consensual sex is not supposed to look degrading. It’s something that you take responsibility for. The way I found this lifeless young girl – it just didn’t look right.”

    Grolle and Chief Elk detailed that night Tuesday afternoon at the Cupertino home of Susan Stone Belton, a counselor who has helped them in the 11 weeks since the incident occurred. The third young woman, Bryeans, is traveling in France.

    The women have gone through rough times: In the first weeks, they were subjected to harassment on the De Anza campus for telling their story to sheriff’s deputies. They missed soccer practices and classes to talk to investigators. And this week, the decision of District Attorney Dolores Carr not to file charges capped the story in a way that’s been painful for them.

    If there are heroes to this disturbing tale, it is these three young women, who broke into a room with a bunch of young men and stopped something they knew to be wrong. Investigators have said the victim herself can’t remember the events. And so the soccer players must be her spokeswomen, her conscience and her witness.

    Making their way through the filthy room that night, the girls lifted the victim up, wiped the vomit from her mouth. It took a while to get her dressed. Grolle tried to feed her bread and get her to drink some water, but nothing would stay down. As Chief Elk ran to get her car, Bryeans and Grolle lifted the 17-year-old, who was not light, and carried her out a back kitchen door to the street to avoid the party.

    “I didn’t think people needed to see this,” Grolle recalled.

    Though there were closer hospitals to the Burbank area of central San Jose, Chief Elk knew the location of one emergency room for certain: Kaiser-Santa Teresa, more than 10 miles away. And so she floored it, arriving there 15 or 20 minutes later.

    Grolle rushed inside and the orderlies brought out a wheelchair. Luckily, the girl was a Kaiser patient. By this time, the soccer players had been able to get only a first name and a date of birth from her, but that was enough for Kaiser officials to identify her. “Help me,” Grolle remembers the girl muttering.

    In the weeks since, the three women have been in touch with the girl. They’ve talked to sheriff’s investigators. Late Tuesday, they met with Sheriff Laurie Smith.

    Grolle and Chief Elk say they couldn’t identify most of the people in the room, though Bryeans, who was friends with the team, knew several of them. And they correct one part of the record: They say they heard no cheering in the room.

    Yes, they’re baffled by the legal system, though they don’t cast any specific criticism of Carr. “It just leaves me with a question,” Grolle said. “It’s just unfortunate to see an incident like this occur.”

    Though the DA isn’t explaining her call beyond a brief statement Monday, she obviously had good reasons. It’s well within belief that the victim’s lack of memory, or problems with witness statements, could fatally hamper the case. Nobody who followed the Duke lacrosse case can say Carr’s caution is wrong. There’s a difference between knowing something and being able to prove it in court.

    Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins cautioned that the women’s accounts represent only a “snippet” of the entire investigation and do not address the legal issues that prosecutors had to weigh.

    “People can draw any conclusion they want,” Tomkins said. “It doesn’t change what we looked at and it doesn’t change our decision on what we did.”

    Whatever the legal verdict, here’s what I can tell you about April Grolle and Lauren Chief Elk: They spoke the truth. As young women, they knew instinctively that something was very wrong in the room behind the French doors. The girl they saw could not have given her consent.

    Some people might have walked away at that point. But Grolle and Chief Elk and Bryeans did something more. They broke into the room and told the men to leave. Finally, they’re telling their story out loud. Any one of us who have kids would be proud to have them as ours.

  55. Roy
    May 23, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Callie: Exactly!

    It took me a while to find the words for my discomfort at the way that rape victims are treated, but when I finally did, it was like a weight had been lifted.

    If I go to the police and claim to have been mugged, and they arrest someone and it goes to trial, it’s never assumed that I’m a liar. The person being charged is assumed innocent until proven guilty, and there may be the assumption that I made a mistaken when I picked that particular person out of the lineup, but if the trial makes it to court, people aren’t going to automatically assume that I’m a stupid liar who wasn’t really mugged. But when rape trials go to court, for some reason things are different. Suddenly nobody even believes that a crime was commited. It’s not a matter of worrying about whether you’ve got the right defendent- it’s “was a crime even really perpetrated?”

    It’s bullshit.

  56. Willa
    May 23, 2007 at 11:12 am

    The “alleged” rape victim thing is so prevalent–any time rape is brought up, people can drag out the whole “false accusations of rape are harmful to innocent men and wrong!” to derail the conversation–as if, since a woman can lie about being raped, and men have been falsely accused/acquitted of rape charges before, women everywhere are underhanded and evil and abuse the system. It’s so bizarre. People use the argument to imply that since one woman has abused the system…. what? The accused should be given preferential treatment? Women everywhere should be ignored when they “cry rape?” Ugh.

    Dan Savage, a columnist I usually like, has done this before, brought up instances of false charges of rape to… what? What was his point? To show that sometimes men are put in prison for crimes they didn’t commit? And that somehow means that women should quiet down about rape? That people in general should be more suspicious when it comes to accusations of rape?

    Sometimes I just don’t get Dan Savage.

    The article in the original post is just infuriating. It hurts to read.

  57. SarahMC
    May 23, 2007 at 11:36 am

    The myth that only “beautiful” women get raped is so damaging and so goddamn pervasive.
    In college I had a rape whistle on my key chain. A guy “friend” of mine was surprised I considered myself attractive enough to be raped. Thought I was conceited. Our friendship sorta fizzled after that.

  58. May 23, 2007 at 11:36 am

    A lot of men are overweight too. If they’re raped, are they told they should be glad of the attention? If they subsequently lose weight, is this held to be a sufficiently desirable outcome that it offsets the trauma of the rape?

    If not, why not? I’d love to hear the explanation.

  59. Catherine Martell
    May 23, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Callie Says:

    If anyone hears about a way to contact this psycho’s employer, let us know.

    Unfortunately, the psycho is a barrister, and therefore self-employed. However, you may write to or telephone her chambers to complain.

    Sheilagh Davies’s chambers are at 10 King’s Bench Walk, London. Contact details are available in this public directory.
    http://www.londononline.co.uk/profiles/146325/

  60. May 23, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Because they’re men! And it’s so very much more traumatic when a man is raped, don’t you know.

  61. SarahMC
    May 23, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Because men want to have sex with women, not other men, Teresa! The “normal” ones, anyway!

  62. Cecily
    May 23, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    buggle —

    Ugh. That thing about the victim saying “I’m sorry” reminded me of the Joss Whedon rant someone linked in another thread here, where he asked what the hell was wrong with a culture that makes a torture-porn movie (‘Captivity’, I think it’s called) and has the victim say “I’m sorry” in the trailer. It’s so beaten into women that everything that happens to us is our own fault. Horrifying.

    Those women are heroes. Gods help me, I’m thinking maybe the team-sports-boosters a few months ago had a point — these young women worked as a team, automatically, in a tight spot. I wish we didn’t live in a world where they have to use that teamwork this way, but maybe it’s well worth encouraging in future generations of women.

  63. R. Lurker
    May 23, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Tangential:

    It’s always seemed to me that rape is a matter of a being considered important and superior by society hurting a being considered to be lesser, servile and here to be used by said superior. It reminds me of how dogs that bite or kill children who were pulling their tails or harassing them are dealt with. The child is not punished, of course. The dog is killed. This is because, it seems to me, we feel that dogs are ‘obviously’ so much less important then a human being. I really get the same impression from the way rape is dealt with- the man’s part is erased, the woman is recast as the aggressor, guilt of being raped. If there’s a problem between a human and an animal- just kill the animal. If there’s a problem between a man and a woman- just ‘kill’ the woman. Same impulse, I think.

    Because, of course, she is so much less important then he is. She is just here to be used.

    I wish I didn’t get the vibe that so much of society automatically thinks this way, but I do.

    I think the lawyer’s comments are just a lot of rationalization spinning off from this core belief. ‘She’s there to be used- and he used her! She should be happy.’

    Sickening, but I’m somehow so fucking unsurprised by any of it.

  64. May 23, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    This is a horrifing response, but sadly not one that is unheard of. Instead of a defense attorney, the woman could have been getting that from the police. I know of a fat woman who was being stalked and went to the police who wouldn’t take her seriously. The implication, she felt, was that they wouldn’t believe that someone her size would be stalked. I’m glad the police listened to these young women and took them seriously. Now I hope those involved with judging the case do as well. That disgusting mindset needs to be refutued.

  65. Lindsay
    May 23, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Every day I hate men a little more.

  66. Rhiannon
    May 24, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I’m feeling a lot like Lindsay said. Every day, just a little bit more. Even though I know I shouldn’t.

  67. Raging Moderate
    May 24, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Every day I hate men a little more.

    Because of what this woman lawyer did?

  68. Me
    May 24, 2007 at 11:48 am

    The reason it states she was “allegedly” raped is that this is simply the way English and Welsh Law works. I was the victim of a physical assualt and in going through the formalities of a statement at the police station the terminology there was that I was “allegedly assualted”. Either way its just semantics and not fundamental to the debate at hand… This is a week old now and I can’t find any more details on it still, it ruined my morning when I open that page in the paper.

    I’ve actually discussed this on a few message boards, and a key point was raised – While 12st 6 may be ‘fat’ it doesn’t actuallu give any indication as to how tall she is. Its unlikely but if the give was 6 foot 2 then 12st6 could be bordering on underweight!…

    Oh and lookie what we have hear. Ms Davies has more than words to be ashamed of

    http://www.barstandardsboard.rroom.net/complaintsanddiscipline/disciplinaryfindings/234.html?&

  69. kali
    May 24, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Because of what this woman lawyer did?

    Probably because of comment #55.

  70. Raging Moderate
    May 24, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    The reason it states she was “allegedly” raped is that this is simply the way English and Welsh Law works.

    I think it’s the same here in Canada. Just this week there were news stories about a man charged with hit and run causing death. He was referred to as the “alleged driver of the car”. In this case there was no need for “alleged victim”, as there were several witnesses to the crime, who have apparently identified the accused as the driver. But even with these witnesses, he is still described as the “alleged perpetrator”. Should the media drop the “alleged” in this case?

    I’ve also heard “alleged victim” used in cases where the crime has not yet been determined to have occurred (“the alleged victim claims he was threatened by the accused, who denies the charges”). Again, should the media drop the “alleged” and assume the accusations are true?

    From the comments I read here on threads about rape cases, I’m led to believe that the only time the American media uses “alleged” is in rape cases. Is that so?

  71. nik
    May 24, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    “Alleged” victim? Sir, the victims were raped. Whether or not the boys on trial committed those rapes, someone still raped those women.

    Moira; if the boys’ version of events is correct and sex took place and women consented then – subject to mens rea – it’s the boys who were raped. They should be entitled to make that claim.

  72. preying mantis
    May 25, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    “From the comments I read here on threads about rape cases, I’m led to believe that the only time the American media uses “alleged” is in rape cases. Is that so?”

    My favorite use of ‘alleged’ by the American media is when they preface “murder victim” with it. I’ve noticed that a lot of outlets have gotten pretty sloppy about appending ‘alleged’ while reporting non-sexual crimes in the past ten years. They’re still pretty meticulous when it comes to sex-crimes.

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