Rape Victim "Collaborated" With Rapist

Comments

1
All true. But it's not up to the defense to prove it was consensual, but rather up to the prosecution to prove otherwise.
2
Reasonable doubt is predicated on subjectivity and faith in the collective wisdom of the dozen "equals" that sit on the jury. In these cases it seems obvious that justice might have been better served if the case was heard by a judge - but maybe not. Without having been there, I would not assume that the jury's decision was based ENTIRELY on the jeans, but that was just one of several factors that added up in their minds to reasonable doubt. Maybe....but I just wouldn't jump right to that conclusion. I sat on a jury and know others that have, and unless you have a really biased jury, the deliberation is done with a good deal more care than that.
3
A woman who encounters a stranger in a bar and goes home with him and then goes upstairs to his bedroom with him may not be asking for it but she is doing a pretty good imitation of someone eho is asking for it.
4
Ditto #1: innocent until proven guilty.
5
Fearing for your life, you might strip off any item of clothing.
6
If someone puts a gun in my back and asks for my wallet, should I wait for them to shoot me, or should I hand it over? Seems like if I hand it over, I'd be collaborating with the person, thus rendering myself and accomplice. Not only should the other person be acquitted, but maybe I should be convicted....

Things that make ya go hmmmm....
7
This exact thing was covered in Italy, in 1999. I mean, EXACTLY the same--a rape conviction was overturned because it was decided that a girl's tight jeans couldn't be removed without her cooperation. There's even a day for it--some people at my college used to make little jeans pins out of decorated denim to raise awareness. http://www.supportdenimday.com/
8
I don't take a position one way or the other, but wish to point out one technical/procedural point: juries don't ask the judge for further information on matters about which they are certain or on issues or facts on which they need no clarification. If they decided guilt or innocence on, say, five key facts and sought clarification on only one of those it is unfair to the jurors to assert that they decided solely on that one openly discussed point.
9
I don't think it's any indication of the consentuality of the sex, but those jeans are really fucking hard to get off. It's definitely a two-person job if you're lying down.
10
I'm with @2 here. I've never been on a jury (and probably never will be), but I've spent enough of my life in court to have an almost supernatural respect for juries. It's astounding how often they manage to separate the wheat from the chaff and arrive at the correct answer. So I'm not about to second-guess what a jury did, particularly when any opinion I might come to probably isn't based on the whole story.
11
I'm basically with #2 here. Not, of course, that I can really know anything for sure about this case, but I think it's possible that they may have felt obligated to pin their verdict on something concrete, like the jeans, rather than on a cumulative impression created by things like inconsistencies in her story.

Of course, even in that case, the jury could still be wrong. Hope they weren't.
12
I found it odd the papers covering this story tended to mention the jeans were a size six, like six is, absolutely, a small size. The tightness (i.e. the "removeability") of the jeans is only relative to the size of the woman. If she were a size four, her size six jeans wouldn't even factor in here. Weirdness.
13
@9: I could imagine a man straddling a woman backwards to pin her down and just pulling on both legs at once.

Ok. Who owns skinny jeans? Time for a Slog scientific experiment!
14
@11: Inconsistencies in her story, I think, are actually more concrete; her testimony is recorded and documented. If you just have a *feeling* that she isn't telling the right story, naturally, this isn't evidence. But if she's really not telling the right story, it's possible to catch on paper.

The issue of whether a type of jeans can be removed or not is, in comparison, quite variable depending on all kinds of factors that can't be easily replicated.
15
They are actually easy to take off if you don't mind turning them inside out in the process. In any case, the idea that hard-to-take-off clothing is proof that there was no rape is outrageous.
16
I think Jos's reminder is a good one: that a rape victim might remove his or her clothing to prevent further violence or increase the chances of surviving the attack. That doesn't make it any less rape. But note that the victim in this case insisted that her assailant removed her jeans by force. She didn't claim that she took them off to protect herself; she said he ripped them off her body. So while the reminder above is useful and should be repeated, it doesn't really apply here given her testimony.
17
I have taken skinny jeans off of consenting people without their assistance many times. It's not hard to believe that a stronger person could pull them off a weaker person without consent.
18
I think Jos's reminder is a good one: that a rape victim might remove his or her clothing to prevent further violence or increase the chances of surviving the attack. That doesn't make it any less rape. But note that the victim in this case insisted that her assailant removed her jeans by force. She didn't claim that she took them off to protect herself; she said he ripped them off her body. So while the reminder above is useful and should be repeated, it doesn't really apply here given her testimony.
19
3 suggests she went home with a stranger and thus was "doing a pretty good imitation of someone who is asking for it." But the link shows she arranged to get together with him in a bar to console him. He'd been dating one of her friends.
20
This article immediately made me think of this classic George Carlin bit about rape:

"Now, the biggest problem an Eskimo rapist has, trying to get wet leather leggings off a woman who is kicking. Did you ever try to get leather pants off of someone who doesn't want to take them off? You would lose your hard-on in the process. Up at the north pole your dick would shrivel up like a stack of dimes!"

Ah, George... I miss you.
21
@3 @19

Um.. Who cares if she went home with a stranger? Who cares what she was wearing?

Here's a brief lesson for you. It's really just common sense.

It doesn't matter if she was at his house, if she had gone into his room to look at something or what she was wearing.

It doesn't even matter if they were naked making out and caressing one another.

If a person says no to intercourse then they mean no. Pure and simple.

Once someone says no to what you are doing, DON"T do it. Back the fuck off.

If someone says no to you sticking your dick (or another object) in them and you still proceed then it is rape. It doesn't matter what they wear. It doesn't matter if they are a virgin or if they have had sex with 100 different men.

Rape is rape.

Really kids, is our society that dumb?
22
19

"... to console him."

;)

atta girl!
23
21
Totally.
Drink.
Go to his bedroom.
Lay on him.
Then get to explain it all to a jury.
24
In any case where two witnesses offer contradictory information, it is the responsibility of the jury to determine who is telling the truth and who isn't. Most of us have evolved bullshit detectors: we can tell when someone is being less than truthful, and a lot of that detection relies on non-verbal cues: eye motions, vocal pitch, talking speed, general demeanor, etc. Which means it can be difficult to explain why you know someone is lying; you're just pretty sure that they are. This may be such a case.

I don't have any of those non-verbal cues; I can only look at the facts, but I can imagine a scenario where she is lying. Specifically, she has a crush on her friend's boyfriend, her friend and the boyfriend break up, and she swoops in to "console" him and have some opportunistic sex. When the friend finds out and gets their circle of friends to expel her for breaking the "don't fuck your friend's ex" rule, she claims rape.

I can also easily imagine a rape scenario, where the victim is a sweet girl who genuinely felt bad for the poor guy and was trying to (non-sexually) cheer him up when he took advantage of her. I would want to hear both of their stories, and I would pay attention to how they told their stories. My guess is that the jury did just that.
25
@24,

Most people are notoriously shitty at reading body language correctly.
26
One of the most erotic experiences of my life involved having a pair of skinny jeans removed without any assistance from me. They were a size 2, but since I was kind of horrifically skinny at the time, they weren't tight. Still, while I was willing, I wasn't cooperating, and he had no trouble at all removing them by force. They aren't that hard to get off, unless they're sprayed on. Especially jeans on a 100-pound woman being removed by a 210-pound man.
27
This reminds me of some wonderful research in the 1980s at my college, that included the question 'Have you ever regretted having sex afterwards' to claim this large, world renown midwestern college campus was the rape capital of America.
28
Skinny jeans, especially good skinny jeans, stretch more than other jeans--which makes them pretty easy to take off no matter how tight they look.

Leggings are pretty tight but I've never heard anyone say they can't be taken off by force.
29
@25: Not just body language: pitch, glances, etc. Are you really arguing that most people can't tell when they're being bamboozled? Keep in mind that the witnesses aren't "professional" liars (used car salesmen, lawyers, politicians, etc.); we're talking about normal people, who are generally crappy liars. There's a reason why normal guys sitting at a poker table lose all their money swiftly.
30
what if she is a size 4 wearing a size 6? This is bullshit. It doesn't matter if she slept naked. She was raped.
31
As for the size of the jeans... well, doesn't that depend more on the woman's body type?

[Caveat: as a rape defense, "skinny jeans" is pretty full of shit. As other commenters noted, a rapist could simply order a terrified woman to help him take off the jeans. I'm just posting about the difficulty of removing jeans, apart from the rape context.]

Some women have wide hips and narrow waists, and getting their jeans off is hard when they're lying down, even with the woman's help. Getting the material to move over the substantial curve of her hips/ass is difficult when she's lying on her hips/ass. Some women, on the other hand, have straighter figures-- narrow hips and a wide waist-- and getting their jeans off is pretty easy (mechanically). This is somewhat independent of the woman's size.
32
You need to correct the headlne. The jury found that she was not raped. Therefore he is not a rapist. Slander to call him one at this point.
33
#32 is right, Dan. . . . . 12 jurors sat there, heard the whole story from both people, and decided that the accused is not guilty. Calling him a rapist once he's been acquitted is slander, though he probably won't sue you, and just isn't right. Change that headline!
34
Good to know!

Since skinny jeans apparently mean she couldn't have been raped, all I need to do to keep a rapist from raping me is point out my invincible skinny jeans. \o/

Since skinny jeans are rape-proof sales should soar, yeah? Maybe we can even offer them up en masse to the poverty-stricken women living more rapey third world nations. This is going to totally cut down on sex trafficking. What is a pimp-rapist going to do if she's wearing skinny jeans? He can't get them off, no way. He will have to move along to the girl in regular jeans. WIN.

Stupid fucking dolts.



Jesus fucking Christ humans are such stupid fucking dolts.
35
I agree with douche canoe #33- Since they were jeans of the skinny persuasion, maybe "Calibrated With Rapist' is more accurate?
36
Clothing cannot consent to sex. And the fact that the jury even asked about what she was wearing is proof that culturally we don't take a woman at her word when she says she didn't consent either.
37
Clothing cannot consent to sex. And the fact that the jury even asked about what she was wearing is proof that culturally we don't take a woman at her word when she says she didn't consent either.

Really? I thought it was evidence that this jury did not take this woman at her word in this instance when she said she didn't consent to sex.

If a jury finds Alonte Saunders guilty of murdering DC-area high school principal Brian Betts, will you say that's proof that culturally we think all black people are criminals?
38
@ 32 and 33 - No, actually. That's not how defamation works. (And for the record, since this is written, it would be libel, not slander.) There are tons of defenses to a defamation claim - for instance, if Dan believes that the defendant was acquitted despite being guilty (which, when you consider the very high bar set by the reasonable-doubt standard, might well be true), then this sure as hell isn't defamation. Because this was a public trial, moreover, this could fall under "fair comment."

The good-faith standard for defamation defenses is much, much lower than the reasonable-doubt standard for a criminal conviction.

For instance - I can write a blog post saying that OJ Simpson is a murderer. I can disseminate it broadly, go on talk shows saying it, etc. Now granted, OJ is a public figure, so the already high bar necessary to prove defamation is heightened further to an "actual malice" standard. But even if he weren't, I could claim a reasonable belief that OJ did it. No jury in their right mind would find that belief unreasonable simply because he was acquitted during a criminal trial.
39
I cry bullshit on that one. My boyfriend has - on more than one occasion - stripped me out of my size 2 skinny jeans without even unbuttoning / unzipping them.
40
Y'all know that juries aren't always right. http://www.innocenceproject.org/know/
41
@40: Yes, but one would hope they're right at least 51% of the time, which means we should give the jury the benefit of the doubt. Especially since they had access to far more information than a blurb, and since they spent a lot longer thinking about what happened than we did.
42
Considering that the "skinny jeans prove consent" issue has come up in a number of different rape cases, I think the question of whether or not we know enough to judge this particular case is neither here nor there. The point is, what a woman is wearing should *never* enter in to the question of whether or not the sex was consensual, either from the point of view of "she was wearing something sexy, so she must have wanted it" or from the point of view of "this would have been too difficult to remove." The latter POV is especially disturbing because it shows some inaccurate and common misconceptions about rape that lead to a lot of wrongful acquittals, namely those having to do with the idea that a rape is only a rape if the woman is physically struggling with all her might the entire time.

Whether there were other grounds for reasonable doubt in this case is irrelevant; the "jeans prevent rape" argument does not provide such grounds in any way, shape or form and should not even come up.
43
"...culturally we don't take a woman at her word when she says she didn't consent either."

And so we shouldn't. We don't take anyone at their word when they accuse someone of a crime. As difficult as it is, we can't make an exception for rape.
44
@18 - Unless, of course, she lied about the removal of the jeans because she felt she had to in order for people to believe the rape was real. It's possible.
45
"...culturally we don't take a woman at her word when she says she didn't consent either."

Indeed, lauralgardner, I agree, we shouldn't. There's an argument about it being hard for women to report rape (because of this 'cultural barrier'), and it's a valid one; but I don't think the way to change that is to lessen our standards. Someone reporting a crime, no matter which crime, is exactly this: someone reporting a crime. It's up to the police investigators, and ultimately to the jury, to determine whether or not this person is lying.

The point is not that 'she was wearing skinny jeans, so she was raped'. The point is: we don't know for a fact that she is telling the truth. Maybe she is. And maybe she isn't -- nobody wants a rapist to get scot free. If asking about the skinny jeans somehow helps ascertain whether or not she is lying, then the question is relevant. (Of course, those above who said that it's perfectly possible to remove skinny jeans without the wearer's collaboration show that the answer to this particular question may not be helpful. Better think of other questions then.)
46
@45 - Umm...you're saying you agree with me, but then you go on to write a complete contradiction of my earlier post. We are not in agreement on the meaning of the "skinny jeans" question.
47
@39 I was going to say, how incompetent do you have to be to not be able to remove jeans due to their "skinny" quality. I've removed plenty of "skinny" jeans with no issue at all, if you can get into them, they can be removed, and if you apply force, what the fuck.

This is really stupid, I hope she appeals and destroys this BS.
48
@45 Unfortunately, the challenge with rape cases is that they all hinge on consent, which is really difficult prove or disprove. The rapists that are usually convicted are the ones who use blunt force to get their way, but plenty of women are raped even when they are nominally consenting because they're trying to protect themselves. Hanging a defense on the ease with which a woman's style of pants are removed should be criminal because it has nothing to do with consent. Obviously I don't know all of the details of this trial, but the fact that this woman's skinny jeans were even entered as evidence points to the classic "blame the victim" strategy.
49
The not guilty verdict is even more appalling when you consider the other facts of the case.

First, a doctor testified at trial that a rape examination found strong evidence of vaginal and anal trauma. So the jury ignored medical evidence of rape in favour of the "skinny jeans" defence.

Secondly, the complainant was reported to weigh 45 kilos, meaning that she was physically a very small woman. The notion that she can get her jeans on without force but man (in the military) is not physically capable of removing those jeans with force is an absolute joke.

Generally, the DPP does not appeal jury verdicts but I'm hoping that they reconsider in this case.
50
If we were talking leather pants, I might agree, but stretchy, comfy, natural fiber cotton Denim?

Fuck the jury - fuck 'em right in the ear.
51
It's amazing how people ignore the presumption of innocence for rape cases. I believe it is the only crime for which the natural instinct of most people would be to say "he's guilty until proven innocent". And it's just so wrong!
52
Fuck you Alleged, fuck you! Maybe I shouldn't drink and slog, but I still know you and your suggestions that a woman might be responsible for her getting raped is pure evil.
53
@51: Agree. I'm amazed at the level of jury second-guessing that goes on every time a rape trial results in an acquittal.

It's important to remember that the standard of proof is not "more likely than not"; it's "beyond a reasonable doubt." So even if the jury thought the woman was probably raped, they still should have acquitted if they had doubts.

For instance, if the woman was caught lying about anything on the stand-- where they met, why she went to his room, and yes, how he got the jeans off-- then a conscientious juror may have reasonable doubts about the rest of her testimony. This is why it's extremely important for prosecution witnesses to tell the complete truth during their testimony, even if the defendant is lying left and right. If the jury thinks you're both liars, then reasonable doubt usually results in an acquittal.
54
@51, 53 According to RAINN, only 6% of rapists are ever convicted and sentenced to jail time, and 60% of sexual assaults aren't even reported. So yeah yeah, burden of proof, reasonable doubt, blah blah blah, but it's not as if this cultural attitude of believing the victim rather than the defendant is manifesting in court rooms at all.
55
"According to RAINN, only 6% of rapists are ever convicted and sentenced to jail time, and 60% of sexual assaults aren't even reported."

Ever get the feeling a statistic is total bullshit, just on its face? I just did.
56
Not really, no. I only know what I have seen though. Based on that, those statistics are no more or less reeking of bullshit than statistics of any other kind. I did see this headline recently: "A nine-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that student victims of sexual assaults face a depressing litany of barriers that often either assure their silence or leave them feeling victimized a second time." If that is true, not many have to ask why the students feel that way after reading about cases such as this one.

What people are so against in rape cases like this has less to do with whether the guilty or innocent are proven as such and more to do with the lacking assurance that they will be proven as such by a jury of peers with the mental fortitude to know that rape allegations are serious. They should be regarded with more magnitude than hinging entire cases on something as flimsy as cloth. No one is trying to take everything Not Rape and make it into Rape. What people expect is for the situation to be properly assessed, instead of countless harebrained jurors looking at what the victim was wearing like it *ever fucking matters*. Everyone from lawmakers to Bill O'Reilly spout off, reducing these crimes AND the reason they're committed down to simple pieces of cloth. I don't know which lunatics they're trying to appease. Fuck, I can sum it up in one sentence. Rape isn't all about a piece of cloth and it would do for people to wake up to that fact. There.