As I noted before, I crossposted the original entry about the Duke case over at the My Left Wing megasite....and promptly got highly praised (and the highest rating) by the MLW Fairy Blogmother (aka Maryscott O'Connor) as well as another regular named Shanikka, who is highly respected there for her prolific viewpoints. However, Shanikka did manage to drill me for ignoring some of the facts emerging from the case; and she sent the following response to my diary earlier tonight concerning my original recollection of the case:
That is not what has been reported as occurring, not since Day 7 (the first report outside of the original police report.) And the last thing you want to be accused of is changing the facts with a story this serious (and, so far, this ignored). Here are the facts as were reported by the victim herself during an interview on March 28:
The victim was hired to dance at what she was advised would be a bachelor party with approximately 5 guests. There was another dancer who had also been hired who was there. They discovered that, contrary to what had been represented to them, there was a house full of 40 men. Both women had misgivings, but decided they needed the money and so agreed to stay. When their performance began, several of the men began making a number of racist and misogynist comments. One reportedly simulated with a broom handle a desire to sodomize one of the dancers. The women became uncomfortable with this, and stopped dancing and left. Several of the men followed them outside and continued taunting them racially: one is reported to have screamed "Be sure to thank your grandfather for my cotton shirt" as they were leaving. Neighbors and a white woman driving a passing car called 9-11 to report this part of hte incident. When the dancers were outside, several men in the house came out, apologized for the behavior of their friends and promised that if they came back and finished their performance there would be no further problems. According to the victim, when they went back inside, she was separated from the other girl, forced into a bathroom, and raped and sodomized by 3 white males who she identified by first name. She reported struggling and, in fact, lost 4 of her fingernails (acrylics) which were later found in the house. The victim reports that this went on for approximately 1/2 hour, when she was allowed to leave. She then exited the house without one of her shoes, her purse with all the money that had been paid, her fingernails and her cellphone, and got into the car of the other dancer, who then drove her to Kroeger's Supermarket parking lot. The police were called from Kroeger's.
So, in other words: (a) there is no allegation that the entire lacrosse team raped this woman. In fact right now we don't know if the perps are even on the lacrosse team. All we know is that the event occurred at a house rented by members of the lacrosse team; (b) there is no contention that the women were forced back into the house. They weren't. Moreover, the sole African-American member of the lacrosse team has not denied being there: the only reason he was not DNA tested is because the victim identified her attackers as white males.
The reason these details matter is precisely for the reasons you highlight with your diary: already the charge of anti-white racism is making the rounds (along with the standard "we all know Black women can't be raped" subtext of the delayed reporting and action on this case.) It therefore becomes 1,000 times more important to be meticulous in reporting the facts. Especially now that, as I suspected, the DNA is rumored to have cleared all of the members of the lacrosse team (which is why my suspicions were greatly raised when I heard that the testing was limited to the members of the lacrosse team to begin with.) Folks were already crying "Tawana Brawley" before tonight. It will only get worse. The fact that the woman was injured vaginally and anally and ended up in the hospital will be utterly drowned out by the cry that the lacrosse team was persecuted unfairly. The clearing of these particular men will, within a week, mean that there was never any rape at all.
A genuine and valid point...and I hereby correct the record and apologize to you all for not getting the actual events straight...even though I still feel that even if the Duke lacrosse team may not have actually participated in the dirty deed; they do hold at least some responsibility for the climate of racist hostility and allowing the assault to happen in their venue. And none of this changes the main thrust of my essay about the attempt by neocon right-wing media to pile on the victim as a stupid, vain "slut" who got what she deserved, or just made it all up to spite Whites...the fact remains that she more than likely was assaulted and brutalized, and she deserves all the justice that any victim of rape should get.
But...accuracy is still important, even when you are right in your anger...and Shanikka was right on for calling me out on not getting the facts right. My sincere appreciation and thanks go to her for that needed kick in the ass...and I do hope that she and I get to debate each other more here and at MLW in the future.
See, Clones..I'm man enough to admit that I'm wrong, and I always do my best to clean up my mess. I wonder if the wingnutters at FrontPage.com can ever say that.