Friday, December 22, 2006
Duke Rape Charges Dropped
Charges have been dropped against three Duke University Lacrosse players accused of raping a stripper at a party. According to news reports, those three still face kidnapping and sexual offense charges, whatever that means. If it didn't happen, why are all charges not dismissed?
As a woman, I naturally want to see bona fide rape cases prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I also want those sections of the law which are so onerous that they cause many women to never even report rapes changed. That being said, I personally believe all charges in this particular case should be dropped because I personally don't believe a rape occurred.
The "victim" has changed her story too many times. She gave police descriptions that fit none of the Duke players. Her picks from the police lineup missed the mark. Some of the players had alibis that proved incontrovertibly that they couldn't have been there. I wouldn't go so far as to say her choice of occupation has detracted from her credibility from the inception, but it didn't do much to bolster her story. Not that strippers can't be raped. Of course, they can. And are. I don't believe this particular one was or, if she was, it wasn't by these men. There have always been inconsistencies in her account of what happened -- all versions. Once DNA test results were announced, all doubt in my mind was eliminated. She said no condoms were used; therefore, the fact that there was no DNA from these men could mean only one thing -- they didn't do it. What was found was genetic material from several other males found in her undergarments and on her body. The evidence speaks for itself. Evidence doesn't lie. If there is no forensic evidence that says indisputably that a crime occurred, I don't see how a prosecution can go forward.
Something no doubt happened that night, but it wasn't a rape. Possibly she consented to some sort of unsavory activities with some as yet unidentified men. Possibly she got "caught," possibly by whoever is the father of the child she's now having (or had), and had to come up with some explanation off the top of her head. If that can ever be proved, she's the one who should be prosecuted. She's damaged Duke's reputation and done irreparable harm to its Lacrosse program, and she's caused these young men to be arrested, sustain abject humiliation and ridicule, and incur huge legal bills to fight the charges. It's too late to excuse her behavior by calling it a "mistake." This was willful conduct on her part and she's had nine months to rectify it. She has not.