Friday, October 31, 2003

I can't believe I'm actually commenting on Kobe Fucking Bryant, but this is too infuriating to ignore.

The identity of Kobe's accuser isn't the best-kept secret in the world, especially if you were on the internet a month or two ago. And there is certainly a legitimate argument to be had about the convention of anonymity for alleged rape victims. [ie, does it perpetuate the culture of victimization of women, is it quite fair to the accused, etc.] But what the Globe did is beneath contempt, even for disgraceful tabloid publications.

The Globe published a high school prom photo of the alleged victim, in which she lifts her skirt to reveal a garter belt on her thigh. Beneath the photo, the headlines blare "Kobe's Accuser: Did She Really Say No?" (go to if you want to see the picture. They had the decency, at least, to blur our her face and her name. for what it's worth.)

I think we can all read between the revolting lines, right? "Kobe's Accuser: look at what a skank she is! You know she wanted it bad." I heard rumors a while back that the girls' sexual history is to be admitted at trial, and suggestions that she might have had sex with another man on the same evening that the attack allegedly took place.

Don't we all know by now that none of that matters in the slightest? Who cares if she slept with five men that night? Ten? What does this thought process imply, if not that chaste girls can be raped, and sexually active or even promiscuous girls can not be raped.

Headlines like this may sell magazines, but they promote and perpetuate the dangerous and devastating misperceptions that surround sexual assault and taint the victims. One of the regularly cited reasons for maintaining the anonymity of accusers is that public recognition and the attendant stigmas of rape might discourage the victim from coming forward. People have argued that such stigmas are largely gone, that we are more enlightened, and the victim should have no shame in publicly naming her attacker.

Unless, thanks to the Globe, she wants to be outed and a called a slut in every supermarket in the country.

Congrats to sexually deviant celebrities everwhere, I can promise you that the ladies will think twice about bringing any charges now.


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