This morning has brought some news I feel the need to comment on, especially as it's going to be brought up as "see, false rape charges happen!" - I'm talking, of course, about the Strauss-Kahn case in NYC. This is a case I've been following very closely, and I feel awful that the prosecutors are thinking about dropping it. I'd like you to note a few things here:
1. This is a case of "the victim must be a saint." Notice that her story about the assault hasn't changed a bit; it's just that she lied about associations with criminals and possibly about how she got into this country. If you thought you risked deportation, wouldn't you risk a lie, too?
2. The prosecutors clearly dug up things that are not particularly relevant to the case (minus the phone call, which I'll cover in a moment), including ties to drug dealers. According to news reports, it is merely that she has unsavory connections that undermines her credibility, which means I should just stop listening to college students too, if that's the logic.
3. The phone call she made to an incarcerated friend a couple of days after filing the rape charges, after she had cried out to several witnesses, after she had a rape kit performed at the hospital, after she gave her testimony to the cops, "discussing the possible benefits of the case." This (and the timeline, considering she went to the police mere hours after the alleged attack) tells me that they had a phone conversation that, in all likelihood, discussed the pros and cons of involving oneself in a high-profile rape case. Granted, we can't know without a transcript, but I'm definitely willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, considering her account remained consistent, there is forensic evidence, and Strauss-Kahn has a history of these sorts of allegations.
4. The prosecution deciding they cannot win a case and dropping it =/= DSK is innocent. I know, I know, "innocent until proven guilty" and all that, BUT, the Manhattan DA just recently lost another high-profile rape case that should have been a slam dunk, and the lawyers for the defense in the Strauss-Kahn case are even wilier. It's entirely possible that the prosecution knew this would be perceived as a hole in their case and knew it would hurt their record, and thus decided not to pursue. Regardless of how strong the actual account is, regardless of how little her relationship to drug dealers has to do with whether or not she was raped, juries are stupid. I'm sorry, but that's just the truth. And as despicable as it may be for the prosecution to drop a case because it'll hurt their record, it can and does happen, and is likely what is happening here.
Any time a victim's credibility is dragged through the mud, I worry about what would happen if an attack like this happened to me. There's not a whole lot in my life that would be "credibility undermining," but a victim's credibility has been undermined by even just one witness saying "she had a bit of a wild streak." God forbid a rape victim not be a saint.
That said, here are your Friday Finds.
1. This is a (not safe for work [NSFW]) story about understanding the Slutwalk, as told by a stripper who got assaulted on the job.
2. Here's an interesting NYT editorial on the different ways we use propaganda to silence our opponents.
4. NPR did a cool story this week on gender trends and how we're erasing gender lines (and that's a good thing).
5. And last, why Taylor Swift [the Product] is a bad role model for girls. (that author has a problem with semicolons, just fyi).
And there you have it! Have a great holiday weekend, my American readers, and Happy Canada Day to those Canadians up there!