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Violence

Hello,   

My name is Lauren. On March 3rd and 4th, I attended a party thrown by my school's baseball team. At the party two of my friends and I witnessed a girl be raped by members of the team. It wasn't like we speculated that something was going on inside the bedroom, we looked through the curtains to see 8-10 men surrounding a girl while they took turns having sex with her. We immediately broke into the room, saw that she was unconscious with throw up on the floor and on her face. The other things we saw in that room were horrible. We immediately took this girl to the hospital where the only thing she was able to say to us was "help me" and "I'm sorry".Later at the hospital we learned her name and that she was only 17 years old.

Since then, the case has blown up and it's been almost two months since this incident. There has been extensive detective work and investigation. In the duration of the investigation, another girl came forward and said she was sexually assaulted by the same boys at another baseball party. Today, we learned the district attorney has decided to not press any charges against the members of the team. We are in outrage and think this is ridiculous. The D.A. said there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Even the Sheriffs and police think the D.A. was wrong and don't understand the reason behind her decision.

I was just wondering if there was anything else we can do? My friends and I rescued a girl from being raped, and they said if we hadn't got her she would have choked on her vomit and died. Not only that, since another girl came forward, it shows this isn't the first time it happened. Now these guys are just walking free. We think this is going to discourage girls from reporting sexual assaults and make guys think they can do whatever they want. We think this is completely unjust and think there is something that can be done. The D.A. is scared for political reasons, because she was just elected. I searched on google and there are many articles on this case.

Thank you for your time and listening.

Sincerely,   

Lauren

 

People have asked me about the implications of the Duke case, which was eventually thrown out, I have repeatedly said that the larger problem for me is that it is already hard enough for women to pursue these cases and this adds more obstacles. This case seems to be a direct reaction to that case, because so many of the facts were similar, I'm guessing they were extra-sensitive to scrutinizing any weakness in the case. Even when all of the facts line up, rape cases are still incredibly hard to prove, because there has to be a rape kit employed in the 48 hours after the incident. Also because those tests aren't conclusive, or are subject to many gaps, and then there is what results, which many people don't want t put themselves through.

This is all to say that even in "ideal" situations, or cases where all of the facts line-up, it's still rare for justice to be served. This is why I often advise people that they need to find other ways to define justice beyond legally, since it's rare that they will find it that way. For instance, perhaps you want to work with the college or the community to get better reporting or to have a more sensitive community. Also, maybe demystifying what a rape kit is and where it is available. There is also the fact that women rarely want to actually persecute their rapists, they don't want to "punish" them and they don't want to make themselves further vulnerable. Given this, I think that we have to do two things: 1.) really putting pressure on men to make this behavior unacceptable and sadly, I think that has to come mainly from their male peers who will shame them for their behavior; 2.) we need to not be so polite: we need to shame someone in the same way that they have shamed us. We need to say their name, and tell their story and make them pay in humiliation alone. Of course, I think to adequately pull off the latter that women have to be over-confident and many people who have experienced rape don't always feel that way.

I also think it's important to support the women, as you have done. So often we focus on condemning the perpetrator, without helping the victim. I hope that gives you ideas....and thanks again for reaching out

-- Amy