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Duke Rape Post #3- Rape on Campus

Newsweek put out it's breakdown on the case in Durham. I read it.
There's a few questions I have.

We hear about the lacrosse players, and are windswept with visions of their lives, pictures of the privilege they live with at home and on campus. We hear about their good grades. We hear how community big-heads back home think they're upstanding young men, who are good, good, good, who don't have any capacity for this kind of hurt within them.

A picture of upper-class, white, sporty-types, who graduate to become Wall-Street types.
Why are we supposed to think that this "image" is divorced from that of a person who commits rape? Why is this supposed to add to the "surprise" factor? When I think of men who commit rape, mainly due to my own campus activism and SEEING THE FACES OF MEN outside fraternity houses as they jeered and leered and catcalled at a SILENT MARCH of women who were victims of sexual abuse and assault, if any sort of pre-fab, stereotypical image pops into my head it is that of the mythic "Frat-Daddy." The white guy with the SUV and the really nice clothes shod in flip-flops, the cocky guy in the class who doesn't want to let anybody else talk but who's not admonished by the professor when he hogs the show himself.
So, perusing the MSNBC site I found another article on rape on campus, this one detailing the stories of three women who survived sexual assault and who attempted to get the universities involved in removing their assailants. In one case, the male in question had committed another assault BEFORE the woman in the story reported him; they still gave her the runaround and barely, oh so barely and lightly, slapped this boy on his beefy wrist when it all came out in the wash.

*spits out ire and bile, rubs it into the carpet with her shoe*

The thing is this: I don't think it's OK to say that what happened with the Duke lacrosse dipshits is rare. It's not an isolated thing. Rape happens on college campuses A LOT. And rape happens to adult dancers A LOT. It's a total logical fuck-up, the way this thing is being spun. On the one hand they are treating this incident as if it happened in some sort of academic vacuum, on the other hand you have university officials saying that this kind of behavior tarnishes the "good name" of their school, puts it in a league with "other schools" that aren't as "exclusive." I doubt that this is the first rape to happen at the hands of men on that particular campus. I wonder why the news wants us to think that this kind of thing is rare, or odd.

One of the Duke Lac-rapists was involved in a violent crime not even a year ago, one that led to him signing up for community service, during which he helped two other dudes beat up a man based upon his percieved "gayness" by his attackers.

The defense, a team of more than 12 hot-shot lawyers, is trying to say that since the accuser didn't pick the accused out of a bewildering and muddling pile of hundreds and hundreds of pictures of men, and since she DID NOT do a live line-up (essentially putting herself once more in close proximity to those who attacked her,) that her case is flawed to the xxxxxxxth degree. The other dancer at this fucked-up white-guy soiree is held up for intense scrutiny, too, because she's being really blatantly honest, it seems, about her situation and her options.

To be perfectly honest, I don't see how, after the descriptions of the situation in question, these women are supposed to remember every little bit of minutiae. I don't see how they're supposed to fucking remember the exact times they were there, and I don't see how they wouldn't be confused - especially if one of them was drugged, and especially if it's the woman who's charging rape. Think about it.

Two black women, with barely any clothes on, amidst a swarm of 40, mostly-white, men, taunting them and groping them, most likely hurling obscenities at them, wanting them to do really fucked-up shit for the amusement of the crowd. Add in that one of the men throws a broom into the fray, tells one of the dancers that she should basically fuck herself with it.

I don't know if any of y'all have ever been in a situation where you're performing, and you're doing sexually-charged stuff in front of a more or less male audience. The only experience I have with this kind of situation comes from when I performed as a dominatrix/fire-breather with a rock band, something I did for shits and giggles in my early twenties, for a couple of years. I had a partner who acted as my onstage "slave-girl," and we'd do these little vignette-type deals when we worked together onstage, very provocative stuff without full-on nudity.

I was more or less rudimentarily armed with either a whip or a cat or a crop the whole time I was performing, and I had my clothes on. The female who sometimes performed with me wore less clothes while onstage, and while she wasn't onstage she'd wear a big coat to cover herself, and we stuck together. We were with the band, a group of 5 male musicians, and they DID keep an eye on us. My situation is different on many, many levels (the most obvious of which being that I was never raped by audience members.) But working the crowd in that up front, middle-of-the-swarm context; well, I can say a little bit about it. Men are Fuckin' Scary when they get together and drink to pounding music. They would fuck with us, a LOT. Skinheads and thugs, for the most part. It's a gig I wouldn't have done, a crowd I wouldn't have gotten that close to if I didn't have some sort of battering implement in my hands or wasn't carrying live torches and a mouthful of accelerant. I did come close to burning a guy's mohawk off his head one time, 'cause he KEPT getting in my face and fucking with the band.

When those things happen, you tend to get fuzzy-headed. I don't know if it's adrenaline or what. But it's a bit of a stretch, logistically, in my view, to expect somebody who's facing attack in that kind of context, or any sort of context which involves violent sexual assault, for that matter, to remember everything in stark and clear detail.

And as for the timing, I don't think it's odd or off or wacky to think that these things could have happened in a very short period of time anyways. It just doesn't take that long for the average guy to "finish his business," not if he's worked up enough. Ask any woman who's been there, and by that I don't mean ask any woman who's been raped. I'm saying, talk to women who've had crummy sex. It doesn't take long at all. And it doesn't take more than a few minutes to make a woman feel like she's going through an impossible stretch of time when she's being brutalized, especially when there's more than one attacker present, ESPECIALLY when her orifices are being all jammed up without her consent.

I can say pretty much certainly that if I were in her shoes, my thoughts would be muddled as hell.

I have to go to work now.

1 comment:

manxome said...

From my experience, yes, adreneline might have a lot to do with it. It seems like it can break down into several parts.

One is what you remember just before you realize there is a problem and the adrenaline kicks in. Since our senses aren't on full blast, we have a hard time recalling everything that now becomes all-important. I've had this in a car accident that I didn't cause. I sucked as a witness, because my awareness did not kick in until just before being hit. What color that and another driver's traffic light was before I became part of it was not something I was necessarily recording for future reference at the time.

Then there's after, when the awareness and adrenaline kick in. When the event is quick, in my experience (a single car accident where I was driving) and there is not alot to take in, I find that I'm very aware of all kinds of things. It all slows down. My brain is working at full capacity recording it all, and because it's pulling in so much detail but is at an increased capacity that can handle it, I get the sensation of it being in slow motion. Even playing over in my head what happened in mere seconds takes minutes.

On the other hand, when the awareness kicks in and the increased capacity is not enough for more complex, longer lasting events, I find that I miss alot. Things play out more like snapshots than video. After it's over my brain is still processing the information, almost as if it's catching up, out of sync. You're trying to make sense of all these pieces as they continue to come in. Like the slo-mo, we're not used to this and it can be frightening, and others find it questionable because it's not usual. But in an adrenaline-filled danger situation, it is usual. Also, self-preservation takes over and since you are doing that moment-to-moment, what you recall later could seem weird, like remembering a distinct smell at a certain point but not a something more general like the color of the walls.

This is so anecdotal, but it's how I relate to things.