Friday, April 21, 2006

Another moment...

Now, a bitch is not fond of absolute statements and my ass strives not to make them...a work in progress, but at least a bitch makes the effort (wink). This bitch has not said…nor would my ass ever say…that baiting is the exclusive province of white straight men. This bitch has witnessed far too many examples to the contrary to go there.

A bitch does not seek to…nor does my ass currently…live in an exclusively black world. My life, my writing and my activism are not demonstrative of that shit. And a bitch does find it curious that folks go there whenever there is a discussion that involves race, class and/or gender.

A bitch fears that the current spin against the victim will cause other victims to pause or not come forward. By the time you finish reading this a woman will have been sexually assaulted and will have to make the decision to come forward, seek justice and begin the process of healing. Yes, a bitch is concerned that any false claim of rape…in any instance…has the result of staining any future accusations, which ultimately hurts the victims. All you have to do is observe how many Tawana Brawley references have been made in the last month to know how long lasting and detrimental that stain can be.

A bitch is also concerned with the response to this case…with the dismissive labels being slammed on the victim and the absolution being granted the accused.

Are the men accused in this case innocent until proven guilty? Yes, that is the legal standard. Will the state have to prove its case in a court of law? Yes, that is the legal standard too.

Does this discussion demonstrate that a smoldering fire is not an extinguished flame? Yes, we have a lot of shit to work on. And should the broader issues brought up by this case be discussed…should we examine what the various reactions to these issues say about American society today…should be seek to learn from this exploration and better understand our reality?



Waddie G. said...

I'm with you on this! It's bullshit how the media and authorities want us all to know that the victim is a Black, female stripper...not that she's a student or a mother-of-two...they let us know that she has a criminal record already but rarely speak about the criminal record of a hate crime that one of the arrested guys have...

anonaMaux said...

Sadly, ABB, you are the only one writing solid and insightful posts on this matter. I hope you continue. FYI: You've been linked. Your writing is thoughtful and intuitive, more than can be said for the "regular media."


Anonymous said...

The way I see it is there has been a huge rush to judge her as an unworthy victim because she works as a stipper. Well, as far as I know, working as a stripper is a legitimate way to earn money. Period. People need to get over THEIR OWN issues and stop making invalid assumptions about her based on what she legally does to make a living.
However, the criminal backgrounds of everyone involved will be brought into play IF the lawyers can legally use the info to make a compelling case about each one's character or honesty. Most of the derogatory crap we see in the press about her criminal background has been put out there because the defense attorneys HAVE to (sleazily)leak it out in the hopes of influencing the public (i.e., potential jurors) because they know her criminal background will be irrelevant (i.e., they won't be able to use it legally during the trial)to the case. The good news is that the State will most likely be able to use the criminal histories of the accused rapists if their criminal backgrounds ARE ruled to be relevant to the case.
That all being said, what I find the most sickening about this entire "blame the victim" mentality is that so many "average" people seem to think (and are willing to get out there and say it publically)that since she works as a stripper, she is partly responsible for being attacked. I really thought we as a society had moved on from that kind of puritanical, judgemental mindset. Bottom line: NO ONE DESERVES TO BE RAPED. WEARING SEXY CLOTHES, DANCING A STRIP TEASE, GETTING DRUNK, GOING OUT AFTER DARK, JOGGING ALONE IN THE PARK, MAKING OUT AND THEN PUTTING ON THE BRAKES, WALKING ALONE, ETC. DO NOT EQUAL ASKING FOR IT OR BRINGING IT ON YOURSELF. A VICTIM IS A VICTIM. Does this really still need to be said again and again and again and again???

B said...

Thanks for staying grounded, ABB. I've had to have this conversation way too many times the past few days, and I can barely stand to read about this crap anymore. Thanks for not spewing hate and spin. Thanks for keeping it relevant, important, insightful, and readable.

Lois said...

Fascinating - I must be too focused on politics these days or something. I've only peripherally heard of the case, and I've never heard her name, and I didn't even know she was black. I most certainly had no idea that one of the accused has a hate crime on his record - please, does anyone have any more information on that?

The only real involvement I've had in the matter is reading one of the team member's fathers saying, "I know these boys, all of them, and there is no way any of them would do something like this," and thinking, "This man is stoned. I don't know ANY group of people numbering over five that I could say, without hesitation, "None of these could be sex offenders."

Interesting post.

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