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 mfarley@prostitutionresearch.com


Signed,
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<img alt=”5.JPG”

13 Responses to Duke lacrosse team sexual assaults

  1. Gregory Kane does a nice comparison of a similar case: Mount Hebron High School in Howard County two years ago.
    -Annie-
    April 17, 2006 Monday
    HEADLINE: Race, image front and center in Duke story
    SECTION: LOCAL; Pg. 1B
    BYLINE: GREGORY KANE
    Until last month I hardly thought about Duke University’s lacrosse team , except as whompin’ fodder for my beloved Johns Hopkins University lacrosse team.
    Then came the revelations about the mid-March party at a house three of the Duke players rented. There was booze involved. And underage drinking. And two women who, since they’ve been euphemistically referred to as “exotic dancers,” we can assume were scantily clad performers from the school of rump shaking.
    Then came the rape allegations. One of the women, a student at North Carolina Central University, said three of the players dragged her into a bathroom and beat, choked and raped her.
    One Duke player was suspended from the university after sending an e-mail in which he said he’d like to kill and skin strippers. After that we got the results of DNA tests done on 46 players, which their defense lawyers say prove that no players were involved. Then we learned that a police officer for Durham, N.C. – the location of both Duke and North Carolina Central – said the woman was passed out drunk in a car on the night of the alleged rape. We also learned she was once charged with trying to run over a cop while driving a stolen car.
    Oh, the story just keeps getting better and better.
    The kicker may have come last week, when some folks of an ad hoc – and no doubt hastily formed – organization called the Committee for Fairness to Duke Families hired lawyer Bob Bennett to act as their spokesman. Bennett was former President Clinton’s lawyer in the Paula Jones’ sexual harassment case.
    Great PR move, folks.
    “It is unfortunate that members of the Duke community, players and families are being judged before all the facts are in,” Bennett said, according to several news stories. “A lot of innocent young people and the families are being hurt and, unfortunately, this situation is being abused by people with separate agendas. It is grossly unfair, and cool heads must prevail.”
    Hold on there a second, lawyer guy. Let’s not rush into making Duke’s lacrosse players victims just yet. They may or may not have been unfairly accused of rape. But it’s hard for me to feel their pain.
    The investigation into the alleged rape is continuing. No one has been charged. Not one Duke player has had to cool his heels in Durham’s city jail while awaiting a bail hearing. That’s a better deal than three young men got in an incident at Mount Hebron High School in Howard County two years ago.
    A review of that case may prove instructive. Three Mount Hebron boys, ages 18, 16 and 15 at the time, were charged with rape. A girl said one of them held her wrists, another watched at a restroom door and the third forced himself on her sexually. The three were charged as adults and denied bail.
    The girl’s story soon unraveled. She later admitted the sex was consensual. The girl was white. The three boys she accused were black. That’s a complete flip-flop of the situation in Durham.
    The “exotic dancer” is black. The three men she accused are white. Many folks – of all races – might ask if a double standard isn’t at work in Durham. If three black football players at North Carolina Central had been accused of raping a white “exotic dancer,” would local officials have waited until the results of DNA tests before charging anyone?
    It’s a good question, but the wrong one for the incident in Durham. A more appropriate one might be why a lacrosse team of 46 white players and one black one ended up with two black strippers dancing at a party. I don’t know much about Durham, having only driven through there twice on trips to Atlanta. But I’m sure there are white strippers in the town.
    These guys chose two black women. But before black folks start talking about how, at the very least, Duke lacrosse players obviously don’t hold black women in very high esteem, we’d better ask ourselves where they got that notion. Could it have been from those black rap artists who feature black “exotic dancers” in their videos doing the same thing those two black women in Durham were probably doing at the lacrosse team’s party?
    Respect for black women should start at home. Before we get angry at Duke lacrosse players who may only be guilty of excessive boozing and ogling, we should call into account Jay-Z and Ludacris and 50 Cent and fill-in-name-of-black-male-rapper-here for how black women are portrayed in their videos.
    Karrine Steffans, author of Confessions of a Video Vixen, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show last week. Steffans used to appear in those videos before, she says, she grew weary of being a sex object.
    “The world sees [these videos],” Winfrey said to Steffans, “and the world thinks that this is who we are, particularly as black women.”
    “Especially as black women,” Steffans agreed.
    If it transpires that Duke’s lacrosse players overindulged in one too many of those videos and bought into the stereotype of black women as what Winfrey called “video hos,” then we’ll know exactly where else to point the finger of blame.
    greg.kane@baltsun.com

  2. Yesterday, an external report commissioned by Richard Brodhead (president of Duke University) was released to the public. Authored by William Bowen (former president of Princeton University) and Julius Chambers (former director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.), the report analyzed the handling of the recent lacrosse team rape case and cited “a gap in communications that is extraordinary”. Other critiques offered by the report included:
    – The Duke police force not alerting administration officials to the racial element of the case.
    – Administration officials being too heavily influenced by Durham police reports about the woman changing her story.
    – The university not conducting its own investigation.
    – Senior leadership of the university being handicapped by limited diversity among its members.
    – The university president not learning about the problem of race in the case until he read about it in the student newspaper.
    I commend President Brodhead for seeking out an external review of the handling of the rape case. By analyzing the response of the university and local law officials, Brodhead is expressing his commitment to handling future cases of rape more effectively and with greater sensitivity to the victim. Hopefully, other universities will follow Brodhead’s example and will begin to take steps to improve reactions to acts of sexual violence that occur within the university community.
    To view the entire story, visit: https://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/09/education/09duke.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  3. Newest Updates on Duke Lacrosse Rape Case
    The Herald-Sun reported on May 10th that the Duke University Police Department officials agreed with the City Manager Patrick Baker that a Duke police report’s doubts about the credibility of the alleged victim in the lacrosse rape case were based on remarks OVERHEARD from a Durham patrol officer.
    It was reported in a press conference that the Duke officer who wrote the report did not speak directly with the Durham officer he overheard saying on a cell phone that the victim changed her story several times, and that any charges arising from the incident would be only misdemeanors.
    This atrociously irresponsible reporting of an overheard “conversation as fact” influenced university officials to initially underestimate the seriousness of the situation and to question the credibility of the victim.
    This negligence has greatly influenced the subsequent handling of the case, and the reckless actions of the Durham police department has already adversely affected the perceived validity of the victim’s case. Such carelessness MUST be a highlighted factor in further handling of the case, so that the victim can receive, as much as is now possible, an unbiased handling of the information of the case.
    Hopefully Duke University will learn from this grievous error and ensure that further sexual violence cases are handled responsibly and are investigated thoroughly.
    For more information visit the Herald-Sun at: http://www.herald-sun.com.
    On May 15, 2006 David Evans from Duke University became the third lacrosse player charged in the pending case. The charges include rape, first degree sexual offense, and kidnapping. Evans was released on Monday for a bail sum of $400,000.
    David, along with the other lacrosse players, are scheduled to initially appear in court on June 19th. Though access to money and prominent lawyers stacks up the odds in the favor of the perpetrators, we can only hope that a fair trial is still possible for the victim.
    For more information, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/200/05/16/spots/sportsspecial1?16duke.html

  4. Whether the woman in question was legally raped or no, what was certainly done is in itself a crime whether legal or not.The whole idea behind this “party” was the dgradation of a human being.

  5. Duke Rape Case
    These Duke Lacrosse Players want to suffer no consequences
    I keep hearing from so many people, that these Duke guys are innocent. They argue, “They did nothing wrong. What they did was legal.” I argue with them, “These Duke males do something so unethical as to purchase another human being to sexually objectify her, and want to go consequence free?
    Just because our liberal legal system allows the purchase of women for sexual objectification, the commoditization and objectification of women is a violation of human rights and dignity, an International War Crimes issue. Sexual objectification of the OTHER serves as a prelude to commit sexual violence toward that OTHER. As John Stoltenberg in his book, Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice, states, that
    “Not all sexual objectifying necessarily precedes sexual violence *[that is, if you don’t think all sexual objectification, in and of itself, is not violence], and not all men are yet satiated by their sexual objectifying, but there is a perceptible sense in which every act of sexual objectification occurs on a continuum of dehumanization that promises male sexual violence at its far end. The depersonalization that begins in sexual objectification is what makes violence possible.”
    Our patriarchal USA legal system is incompetent in handling the Duke case because the patriarchal legal system supports property rights over human rights when it comes to male property owners owning women as property. These Duke guys committed a crime against humanity. Therefore, every one of them should be tried in the International War Crimes court. The international court, in holding these guys ethically accountable for holding a male supremacy ritual, at the very least, should order them to take up feminist studies in order to redefine their male identities, to learn how to treat women with respect, and / or to participate in the demolition of the patriarchy.
    *brackets above are from me
    Ethical Accountability
    In this male supremacist and white supremacist world of human commodity relations, money is the excuse used to absolves the oppressors / objectifiers from any consequences that would normally go along with oppressing / objectifying the oppressed / objectified.
    A Party?
    Everyone keeps talking as if the Duke Lacrosse players held a party. They call it party as if the event was some kind of neutral event. It is a male supremacy ritual, not a party. There was no moral or ethical neutrality at this “party”. This “party” was for the sole purpose to sexual objectify women. Or, make that, it is a male supremacy and white supremacy all in one.
    Duke Lacrosse Players are Henchmen
    Right-wing media said that one of the guys was innocent, that he “just watched”. Excuse me, but being a person “just watching” while at a male supremacy ritual, is like being a person, “just watching” at a white supremacy ritual. These “innocent onlookers” are henchmen), just like the henchmen in a white supremacy ritual. Henchmen should be held accountable, too.
    Reade Seligmann, the “innocent one”.
    Isn’t it likely that R. Seligmann, a.k.a. Mr. Innocent, was participating in the male supremacy ritual in either one of these ways:
    – He could have been instigating / cheering the participants / rapists to sexually assault their sexual prey.
    – He could have been waiting for his turn to sexually assault the victim, but didn’t get his chance.
    – He could have just been getting off on watching the victim suffer sexual objectification by the others.
    Mr. Innocent did not participate because he was going to get married. Hummmmm! This argument needs to be broken down into two logical reality-based interpretations.
    Mr. Innocent, with his post-modernist “logic” argued, “I DID NOT PARTICIPATE because I was going to get married”.
    According to post-modernist thinking, someone can be in a room and not be in a room at the same time? Is the activity of participation so relative that even a henchman at a white supremacy ritual is not a participant? A reality-based logistician would argue, “He was there in the room jeering wasn’t he? Mind fucking his prey, wasn’t he? An accomplice to the crime against humanity wasn’t he?”
    Mr. Innocent argued, “I did not participate because I WAS GOING TO GET MARRIED.”
    “BECAUSE I WAS GOING TO GET MARRIED”.
    WOW! Mr. Innocent is morally evolved. A somewhat morally evolved person would have said simply that he didn’t want to sexually assault (verbal, coaxing) or batter (unwanted sexual touching) her because he didn’t want to violate her human rights.
    – An even more morally evolved person would have not only said that he didn’t want to sexually assault (verbal, coaxing) or batter (unwanted sexual touching) her because he didn’t want to violate her human rights, but also immediately walked out at the inception of a human purchase and made a human rights violation report.
    – An even even more morally evolved person would not have even attended a male supremacy ritual in the first place.
    Both Mr. Innocent and Fox News share the same patriarchal, capitalist, and post-modernist morality. I believe we need another kind of morality (not a religious kind). We need to be morally evolved beyond or outside the scope of post-modernist, patriarchal, and capitalist human commodity relations. Our morals need to reflect RESPECT for ALL human beings, including WOMEN.
    The Duke Case: A case of male supremacy and female “inferiority”.
    A male supremacy ritual took place even if rape of the black woman did not occur and even if the black woman lied about some of the sexual assaults and battery done upon her, and even if there was no verbal and physical assaults and battery done upon her at all (i.e. just doing her “natural” reproductive duty as a woman, performing a naked samba dance for those superior male people) by the male supremacists and henchmen at the male supremacy ritual, for the fact alone, she is still considered having been used as the “ho-object/fetish”, by sexists during the sexual objectification and dehumanization process at a male supremacy ritual. Why not male bond through the purchase of a Dancing Samba Dinah Coon doll? No, that is just too 1930ish! Why purchase a cheerleader blowup doll, (which is still unethical as it is for the purpose of woman hating) to express your misogyny when you can afford to degrade a real woman in the year 2006? You can even rape her for pay, because the pay absolves you from the rape. And, if you treat her like she is not a real human being, then she is not a real human being. Your are, therefore, off the hook.
    Think in terms of a white supremacy ritual. If a black male was hired to be someones “nig-object/fetish” by white supremacists and the black male did a freak show for them, even if the black male lied about some of the assaults and battery done upon him, and even if there were no verbal and physical assaults and battery done upon him at all (i.e., just doing his “natural” duty as a black man, performing a colorful sambo dance for those superior white people) by the white supremacists and henchmen at a white supremacy ritual, for that fact alone, he would still be considered having been used as the “nig-object/fetish” by racists during the racial objectification and dehumanization process at a white supremacy ritual. People used to purchase Sambo and Dinah Coon dolls in the 1930’s (www.antiqueweird.com/johnson2.jpg) to express their hatred toward blacks.
    North Carolina Definition of Rape
    According to North Carolina laws, unwanted sexual penetration with an object other than a penis is not considered rape. It is considered a sexual offense carrying the same punishment as rape, but is not considered rape. Also, guys who commit sexual offenses (both assault and batter) but not penetration are still sex offenders. I did hear that the Duke “good-old boy’s” performed the old broomstick up the vagina trick. I hope these good time male tricks get charged as sexual offenders and kidnappers.

  6. Well, pardon me for being born with the wrong set of chromosomes.
    First, to get it out of the way, anyone guilty of sexual assault of any kind definitely deserves serious punishment, such as life in prison.
    I’ll probably catch flak for this next comment, if it makes it onto the board, but think about it this way:
    Is girl’s (or ladie’s or women’s, whichever form of semantics you prefer) night out a “female supremacy ritual?” If not, then how is a party where the party-goers are all male a “male supremacy ritual?” It can be, certainly, but it is not inherently so. Was the duke party such a thing. Yes. I’m not questioning that.
    I guess my point is that if you want to say that men are wrong for treating women like inferiors (it is wrong, not arguing that), you can’t treat men like inferiors. If you do, you have become what you hate.
    White men can be the victims of racism and sexism too. I’ve experienced it from schoolteachers and bosses.
    Or, say that a man was hired by a group of women to dance nude. After the event, he claims that he was raped. Maybe he was, maybe not, but the fact is that no one will take him seriously. He’ll likely be vilified by the press. And if he was raped, he probably won’t have any help in coping for exactly the same reasons that no one took him seriously in the first place. Not a likely scenario, but the point remains valid.

  7. Indeed! I am shocked by some of the comments I read here. This site owes these men an apology. It would seem that the need for some feminists to seek out and destroy the oppressive male supercedes basic feminist principles of communication, fairness, and justice for all. Including men. The fact that this woman – who I might add excercised her perogative to go over to a home and perform for men, which is fine, I am simply saying it’s difficult to see how she was victimized directly in that dynamic, as there is no suggestion she was coerced and I might remind some that women are choosing to engage in sex related work and are excercising active agency. This person then fabricates multiple sexual assaults, and this ought to disturb everyone. We know now that DNA has excluded all of these men, that the DA witheld exculpatory evidence ( and is now facing disciplinary action for carrying through with charges that he knew were not justified). Yes hiring a stripper is tacky, and sexually objectifies
    women. Yes they were white, yes she was not. But surely our analysis does not begin and end there. Surely we do not compartmentalize and categorize such that we end up with a crude, and wrong analysis.
    I don’t see anyone tripping overthemselves to analyse and vilify her behaviour. But I guess because their men no one cares! This is not my feminism!!!

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  10. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner because I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your site.

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