Every time I write a piece about rape, I think to myself, “okay, that’s it. I am done with this subject”. But then I run across stories like this one and I just can’t…..
Here is the story, quick and dirty: Gina Tron goes to a bar to meet some friends and she gets drunk. Some guy she doesn’t know is there, but she assumes he is with the group. He’s lean and swarthy and has a “disconnected” look in his eyes. He makes her nervous. But then he offers her cocaine, and hey, cocaine! She sets aside all her misgivings, and gets in the car with a guy she doesn’t know, who makes her nervous and who is “disconnected”.
What the fuck, Gina. Seriously. What the fuck are you doing? Gina ends up locked in the car with this guy, they drive to his apartment, she goes with him and whatever happened next, Gina considers it rape. She is transfixed by the 666 tattoo across his abdomen, and based on how Gina describes the guy, it’s a complete and utter shock that he would have such a thing, right?
He said, she said. Okay. Whatever Gina.
You know what kills me about this case? That three other women report the same thing happened to them. THREE! There are at least three women who are so unconcerned with their own safety and well-being, they put themselves in the exact same situation.
Parts of Gina’s story are bizarre, too. She went to the guy’s apartment. She knows where he lives. Why does she need to spend hours looking at mug-shots then? So she can ID him and then find out where he lives? She KNOWS where he lives. It makes no sense.
And she claims the defence attorney had incriminating character evidence against her at the Grand Jury trial, except Grand Jury trials don’t have defence attorneys and there is no cross-examination of any kind. The Grand Jury just considers whether there is the tiniest shred of evidence to have the case proceed to trial. In Gina’s case, the answer was nope.
The other two women who were allegedly assaulted by the same man declined to take part in the trial.
Let’s just assume for one moment that Gina is telling the god’s honest truth and the story played out exactly as she said. The commenters at Vice, and at Slate, where Amanda Marcotte (big surprise!) picked up the story use the same analogy over and over again:
Someone’s new car gets stolen, and the police respond that having a nice, new car is just asking for someone to steal it. A man walks down the street in an expensive suit. When he gets robbed, the officer tells him that his outfit was just a come-on for thieves, and, besides, he had been seen giving money away, and how did anyone know for sure that he didn’t give his money to the thief and just change his mind about it later.
If a man is walking down the street in a $10000 suit wearing a Rolex watch and someone jumps him and robs him, no one ever says it was not robbery because he “wanted it.” They never say it was HIS fault for dressing in a way to indicate he had wealth worth taking. If he is counting hundred dollar bills while walking down the street and gets mugged they don’t say it was not a crime because his actions led the attacker on. Nor do they dredge up things like, he likes to play poker therefore he has a history of willingly losing money. If someone steals a car they don’t declare it’s not stolen because the owner did not defend himself and fight back hard enough.
Really? Let’s take a look at that, shall we?
Here’s a story from Boston University that is roughly parallel.
A research assistant from the BU Medical Campus was stabbed, punched, and robbed of an iPad by two assailants at 8:32 p.m. Tuesday at the corner of Pleasant Street and Browne Street in Brookline. The victim, a 30-year-old postdoctoral fellow, was treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for two superficial stab wounds.
Yikes! Stabbed for an iPad. That seems a little harsh. Surely the commenters at the Boston U story are calling for the criminal to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and offering their heartfelt condolences to the victim.
Looks like maybe not.
When you move out of on-campus housing, this is a risk you have to expect. Instead of blaming BU, students should learn not to walk with their iDevices out and their heads buried in them. All of the people that nearly slam into me everyday with their head mashed in their phones become prime targets at night when they walk down dark side-streets that way.
Anonymous on 01.30.2013 at 8:00 am
I’m born and raised from Boston (not outside of Boston, the inner city of Boston) and when I hear about these things happening it doesn’t surprise me. Inner city kids know that a lot of wealthy kids go to BU. They know that students have laptops and electronics on them. Automatically you are talented. I grew up surrounded by this mentality.
The point is, all of us students need to be smart and aware of our surroundings. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t have your cell phone in your hand or out at all. Walk swift and with a purpose. If you see people walking towards you, cross the street. Don’t keep your hood up so you can keep your peripheral vision.
Street smarts people. If you aren’t from a city, start learning them.
Local Girl on 01.30.2013 at 5:32 pm
Just because we “shouldn’t have to be afraid” of getting mugged doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take precautions ourselves. You certainly won’t see me walking around with my nose buried in my iPhone or iPad (not that we know that was the case with this robbery, but still). I value those possessions and value my safety, so I can wait to tweet or send that text until I get home. Of course having these things out of sight will not guarantee I don’t get mugged, but it certainly makes me look like less of an easy target.
BU Student with Common Sense on 01.30.2013 at 1:51 pm
What, exactly, is it about demonstrating just one iota of common sense that feminists hate so much? What part of “don’t get in a car and do coke with a guy who makes you uneasy and who is completely unknown to you” is unfair or unreasonable to expect?
I think Amanda’s spin on the story is rather revealing:
Women, it turns out, are in a perpetual state of consent unless they bring weapons to bars and are able to wield those weapons against rapists who have made it clear that they are willing to beat you into submission.
Excellent suggestion, Amanda. Bring a weapon. The one located between your ears is probably the best bet: your BRAIN!! Do you fucking have one?
The Grand Jury refused to indict in this case because it defies the imagination that anyone could be so utterly, implausibly stupid. As soon as your story starts with, “well, I went out with this guy I never met before to do coke in his car”, everything else you have to say loses all credibility.
And apparently, a lot of women who recount their “rapes” to police will often do so in a way that invites police to think they are crazy, stupid, and probably lying.
When Tom Tremblay started working for the police department of Burlington, Vt., 30 years ago, he discovered that many of his fellow cops rarely believed a rape victim. This was true time after time, in dozens of cases. Tremblay could see why they were doubtful once he started interviewing the victims himself. The victims, most of them women, often had trouble recalling an attack or couldn’t give a chronological account of it. Some expressed no emotion. Others smiled or laughed as they described being assaulted.
Rebecca Ruiz, writing at Slate, goes on to explore how neurobiology explains the way women recount their rapes, comparing rape to PTSD or the kinds of trauma torture victims endure. It’s all very compelling information, chock full of fancy medical terms and explanations that sound tickety-boo. Women don’t lie about rape because SCIENCE!
In the past decade, neurobiology has evolved to explain why victims respond in ways that make it seem like they could be lying, even when they’re not. Using imaging technology, scientists can identify which parts of the brain are activated when a person contemplates a traumatic memory such as sexual assault. The brain’s prefrontal cortex—which is key to decision-making and memory—often becomes temporarily impaired. The amygdala, known to encode emotional experiences, begins to dominate, triggering the release of stress hormones and helping to record particular fragments of sensory information. Victims can also experience tonic immobility—a sensation of being frozen in place—or a dissociative state. These types of withdrawal result from extreme fear yet often make it appear as if the victim did not resist the assault.
But there is another explanation for fractured memories and laughter and total lack of credibility: women are not necessarily LYING about the fact they think they were raped, but they are nervous as hell about the fact that they did not take one single reasonable precaution to avoid putting themselves in a dangerous situation. Perhaps the “traumatic memory” they are recalling is just how brainless and idiotic they were in the first place.
Perhaps Tron really WAS raped, and perhaps the jury really did refuse to indict a serial rapist: I don’t live in Brooklyn, but even if I did, it wouldn’t frighten me to know this man was loose in the least. Why not?
I don’t do coke, and I sure as hell would not get in a car with a man I don’t know who makes me nervous.
See how easy that is? I value myself. It’s really that simple. When feminism insists that no woman should ever be required to consider her own safety and her own actions and only rapists should be held responsible for rape, they are essentially asking women to discount their own value. Don’t consider yourself smart, capable, sensible, rational or in any way responsible for yourself.
This is why I don’t understand why any woman would embrace feminism. Feminism doesn’t just hate men, IT HATES WOMEN. What kind of philosophy rests on the assumption that women are incapable of taking the tiniest measures to protect themselves? That it is somehow unfair if women are asked to observe their environments, make a rational assessment of threats, believe themselves capable of avoiding potential harm and deserving of their own protection?
Perhaps the reason so many women are floundering in their lives and suffering existential angst is because they have bought the story feminism is peddling: women are irrational, incapable and undeserving. Victims. Always victims.
The only definite thing Tron is a victim of is her own colossal idiocy.
Don’t take car rides from strangers. Every five year old knows this. How does anyone grow up to think car rides from strangers mixed with drunkenness and some cocaine is a good idea? No one deserves to be assaulted, but holy hell!
When five year olds show more sense than grown women, you know we have a problem.
And the solution is fairly simple: grow up ladies. You can make better choices. Really. Give it a try. Believe you are capable. Believe you are rational. Believe you are deserving. Because you are, no matter what your Daily Feminist Blogger tells you.
And remember, only do coke with people you know!
Lots of love,