Thursday, August 04, 2005

no way...women can rape other women???

Unfortunately, this story is set in what will soon be my town, Northampton, Massachusetts, and includes a person who just may be a classmate of mine at Smith College.

The rare occasion of the news actually covering same-sex rape/abuse:

Prosecutors have dropped rape charges filed against two women, including a former Smith College student, who were accused of handcuffing and raping another student and slashing her with knives.

Rachel Ann Klobertanz, 23, and Augusta Claire Kendall, 22, both pleaded innocent in January to aggravated rape and assault charges.

Kendall was a student at the elite women's college at the time of her arrest.

The woman who made the accusation lives out of state and would not voluntarily testify, so the judge dismissed the charges on Monday, according to the district attorney's office.

Prosecutors had said the three women met at a downtown Northampton bar on Jan. 14. They went back to Klobertanz and Kendall's apartment, where they drank champagne and engaged in sex that allegedly began as consensual but ended as rape.

What's most disconcerting, though, is my fellow Smithies' reactions to this.
While some are advocating for Augusta Kendall, the former Smith student (would've been '06, therefore a rising senior), to not be re-admitted, there are a number of students who think there shouldn't be a problem with her readmittance, now that the charges have been dropped.

Some disturbing quotes from the jolt (a forum for smithies): (the most disturbing are **'ed):
"give your fellow student benefit of the doubt"
**"If she reapplies to Smith and JB doesn't think she's a risk to anyone by being here (I don't think she is...she wasn't accused of randomly attacking people on the way to class), then she gets to come back"**
"If you know her than you know she is a good person."
"look...for all we know the accuser is lying."

Of course, there were PLENTY of students who have the same viewpoint as me, I'm just showcasing the sad fact that even at a place as liberal and lefter than left as Smith, people have the same destructive opinions as those who make rape and justice for it such a problem in this country.

For one, the whole "she wasn't randomly attacking people" defense is RIDICULOUS. Rape is not just perpetrated by masked strangers in dark alleys. In fact, that's quite the minority of rape cases. MOST rapes are perpetrated by acquaintances, whether it be dates or otherwise. Just because this girl wasn't jumping Smithies on their way to class does not mean she's not a threat. Does that mean that a serial date rapist should be set free on the streets and in the bars of town just because he doesn't jump girls in the street? No. Pretty sure it doesn't.

And MOST destructive is the false accusation assumption. Yes, there's that whole innocent until proven guilty thing, which obviously has its merits as a pretty important basis for our judicial system (as flawed as it may be). But when you start doubting the accuser's report of an already vastly underreported crime, all you do is scar the victims/survivors even deeper.

Further, why don't we see this kind of doubt in other crimes? When a robbery is reported, police and others don't automatically assume that the person is making it up for attention or for revenge. When a house is set on fire, the first assumption is that it was either an accident or someone else's doing, NOT that the victim of the house fire set it hirself. Why is it so different for sexually based offenses? Why are we so loathe to believe that women COULD actually be telling the truth, and why are we so quick to assume that the accuser is lying?

This "victim who cried wolf" shit is seriously getting old.

Oh, and while we're on this story, how about we start paying some attention to domestic violence/same-sex sexual offenses?
Because, guess what kids?
It can, and does, happen.
You don't have to have a penis in order to rape. Get over that ill-conceived perception, and maybe, just maybe, we have a chance in stopping this violence against women (and men) epidemic.

Of course, it doesn't help that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) doesn't include protections for the queer community. Because, after all, that "would just be asking for trouble."

No comments: