A few weeks ago this bitch received an anonymous comment asking me to share my current thoughts on the Duke Lacrosse case.
It was clear that Anonymous felt that feminism has been damaged by a case that has resulted in a District Attorney under investigation for prosecutorial misconduct, rape charges issued and then dropped and now the news that all charges are expected to be dropped as early as today.
First, let me say that I own my response to this case.
That's right, I own it.
We don't get to claim the clear-cut victories and then ignore the challenging not easily tied up with a militant bow cases. This one's ours too. Feminism will only be harmed if we fail to explore our individual responses, the community's reaction and what the struggle can take from this to grow stronger.
So, I own my response.
Trust that I still have all manner of opinions about this case.
But I think my questions are more important right now.
Will I hesitate in the future to challenge the notion of who "gets to be" a victim?
Before the specifics of anything where clear in this case...and a lot of specifics still aren't clear...the language used by the press and many a person commenting on this blog made it clear that feminism has some work to do. A definition victim was exposed by this case that is unacceptable, unrealistic and bullshit. My commitment to challenge that definition and all the nasty historical baggage contained within it remains unshaken.
Will I hesitate in the future to take a woman's word as a result of this case?
No, I will not.
I learned long ago that justice and legal justice are often not the same thing. But I took this woman's word when she accused and I must take it when she chooses to withdraw the rape charges. As an advocate I have faced this situation before...and I have handled it the same way and with the same unflinching support.
That must not change.
Does the news that all charges are going to be dropped close the book on the many issues of race, class and gender that have been explored through this case?
It will for some and it won't for others. It was already difficult to discuss that shit and the outcome of this case will not make it easier. But the case itself demonstrates the need to continue the discussion.
Feminism applies to the aftermath of this case as much if not more so than to the original case. Creating campus environments that are safe and empowering for all...addressing the economic issues that force many into unsafe work conditions just to pay for their education...building a campus community that responds proactively to disciplinary issues...creating a legal process that functions without humiliation and in the pursuit of justice for all...and educating women about their options and their responsibilities.
That's our struggle and I own the hell out of it.