April 12, 2006

This is Going to get Ugly. Well, Uglier.

Okay, so now there's no DNA match in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case.

Oh, boy. Let's review, shall we?

Drunken lacrosse players invite strippers to beer bash. The stupidity of this is glaringly apparent to everyone except the drunken lacrosse players.

Now, according to who you believe, either
a) The strippers, who were paid for an hour of stripping, decide to take the cash and leave after three minutes, resulting in the liberal use of ethnic slurs and threats of violence but no actual violence by aforesaid drunken lacrosse players, or

b) The strippers are physically, verbally and sexually assaulted, or

c) Possibly some combination of a and b.

Result? No more lacrosse, lacrosse coach, or student who sent stupid email after the fact; sit-ins, candlelight vigils, calls for heads on stakes; DA with political ambitions making the most of photo ops; and, in keeping with Durham's fine traditions, racial tensions out the wazoo--or more accurately, the same old omnipresent racial tensions back on the front page.

Let's set aside the question of what actually happened here for a moment, because frankly I think it'll take longer to figure out than we tend to have patience with in the Age of Teh Internets, and concentrate on this quote from a young co-ed upon discovering that the DNA evidence was a bust (from The Chronicle of Higher Ed--may be subscriber only, so I'm reproducing the quote here):

Ashley K. Bateman, a senior sociology major, expressed concern that students may lose sight of the questions of race and gender that the incident raised. "My hope would be that people wouldn't just kind of drop the issue," she said. Ms. Bateman, who works with Duke's Center for Race Relations, said she worried that because of the negative test results, discussions about broader issues would "lose momentum."

I will pause for a moment while you make the obvious jokes in your heads. All finished? Good. Now on with the show.

Oh, dear lord. So the fact that a young woman apparently wasn't sexually brutalized is bad news? Because it may mean that your personal crusade might "lose momentum?" And yes, the cynic in me tends to substitute the word "funding" for "momentum," but I'm evil, so there you go.

See, here's the crux of my problem, and why I cannot take campus politics--the external variety, not the internecine internal position jockeying--seriously anymore: these groups are parasites, more concerned about getting enough butts in seats at the rallies and facetime on tv to "raise awareness" than they are about the victims, real or alleged.

And I'm not even gonna go near the implications for the consciouness raisers if this turns out to be a false report --mainly because there won't be any, not really, if you don't count the fact that the folks whose consciousnesses (consciousness-i? consciousness'ss'ss, gah.) they're trying to raise will stop listening.

But I don't count that, because I'm not convinced that the great unwashed is really the intended audience anymore. If it ever was.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at April 12, 2006 09:24 AM

Re: No DNA evidence
As I see it, the lack of DNA only indicates that condoms may have been used, and remains a far cry from vindication. I am not on any personal campaign for a cause, I am only interested in the facts and justice being served, regardless of who the guilty party may be.
However, the question remains, what would a "lowly" stripper possibly stand to gain by making false accusations? Is there money involved? It seems like blackmail would be much easier, if that's all she wanted. As far as I know, she has gone to great lengths to conceal her identity as well as protect her children and family from the publicity, so she's not seeking fame and glory, either. It's not easy for any woman to make such a claim in front of the whole world like that. The entire process can be emotionally devastating. Doesn't she have a right to legal justice like anyone else?
Perhaps, more accurately, this case has become an issue of the growing disparity between the "haves" and the "havenots" in today's economy; People are just getting fed up with a legal system and a culture that caters to the privileged while so many are struggling just to get by, even if that means taking off your clothes for money (or worse).
The jocks are innocent until proven guilty and that will be the job of the prosecutor. Nor would I presume guilt on the part of the stripper just because there's no DNA evidence. The real question is whether justice will prevail, regardless of social status.

Posted by: Cheryl at April 17, 2006 09:45 PM