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Duke lacrosse team sexual assaults

Response to Duke lacrosse team sexual assaults

We are outraged by the commercial sexual exploitation and brutal gang rape of a young African-American woman student by white European-American members of Duke University’s lacrosse team, who had hired her as an “exotic dancer” on March 13, 2006.
We deplore the ignorance or bigotry of those who describe the gang rape of an African American woman by white European American men as “complicated.” Sexual exploitation and rape are not complicated– they are acts of sexual violence and violations of human rights. Racism and class prejudice are an intrinsic part of men’s sexual assaults against women and are also intrinsic to commercial sex businesses. We must understand this crime for what it is: simultaneously a violent crime and an egregious abuse of sex, race, and class privilege.

The Durham community has held vigils and public protests against these horrific sexual assaults. There have been outpourings of support and rage at North Carolina Central University (the victim’s school), and at Duke University (the lacrosse team’s school). The district attorney seems to have taken the victim’s testimony seriously, and has threatened to charge Duke lacrosse team members with obstruction of justice for keeping silence to protect their brothers.

Charges were finally filed against two of the perpetrators of the crimes against the victim on April 17, 2006. The assault against this woman is both a race hate crime and a sex hate crime. Will there be justice in Durham North Carolina for this young woman? Will she ever heal from this nightmare? To sign on, email

Prostitution Research & Education, San Francisco, Melissa Farley
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, New York, Dorchen Leidholdt
North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Monika Johnson Hostler
Captive Daughters, Los Angeles, Sandra Hunnicutt
Alesia Adams, Atlanta
Donna Hughes, University of Rhode Island
Melissa Snow, Washington, D.C.
Kristen Houser, Omaha
The Prostitution Alternatives Round Table of The Chicago Coalition for the
Homeless, Samir Goswami
Children’s Civil Rights Union, Berkeley
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Tamika D. Payne
GiRL FeST Hawaii and The Safe Zone Foundation, Kathryn Xian
Arte Sana (Art Heals), Texas, Laura Zarate
Minorities & Survivors Improving Empowerment, Chong N. Kim
Equality Now, New York
Breaking Free, Minneapolis
Young Women’s Empowerment Project, Chicago
Polaris Project, Washington, D.C.
SAGE Project, San Francisco, Norma Hotaling
Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers
Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
My Sister’s Circle, Chicago
Progressive Solutions, Chicago
Humans Against Sex Trafficking Exploitation, Eugene Oregon, Lauren Visconte
Veronica’s Voice, Kansas City, Kristy Childs
Christine Stark, Moorhead, Minnesota
Sex Industry Survivors, Los Angeles, Anne Bissell
Silver Braid Survivors of Sexual Exploitation Network, Houston
The Paul and Lisa Program, Diana Desnoyers, Connecticut
Machon Toda`a, Awareness Center, Tel-Aviv Israel, Leah Gruenpeter Gold
Prostitution Research & Education, Chicago, Rachel Durchslag
Voices for Justice Network, Anchorage
The Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio, Columbus
Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women
Media Watch, Santa Cruz, Ann Simonton