Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shunning a Rape Victim

In October of 2010, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Gina Tron was raped.

Recently, she wrote about the rape and the ensuing ordeals for a magazine called Vice. Since she is more than aware of the foolish decisions that put her in danger we will not repeat them here.

In her article Tron details her ultimately fruitless quest for justice and makes mention of the failure of her friends and family to provide moral support.

Everyone knows that the American criminal justice system is ill-suited to prosecute rape. Amanda Marcotte explains that:

The way that the justice system puts victims on trial instead of rapists means that far too many rapists go free.

Tron’s experience with the police and the ADAs was harrowing, and one would prefer a system that, by meting out swift justice, could function as a deterrent.

Unfortunately, the criminal justice system works  poorly in these cases because it presumes the accused to be innocent and affords him the rights to competent legal representation and to a trial where he will be able to confront his accuser.

As everyone knows, such a system is ill-suited to prosecuting and convicting rapists.
Some college campuses have tried to remedy the problem by convoking administrative tribunals to adjudge accusations of sexual abuse. Since these seem to deprive the accused of his rights, they are also subject to a different kind of abuse.

Tron’s experience with the criminal justice system was, in some ways, predictable. Rape victims often refuse to testify or even to report rape because they know the indignity that awaits them.

And yet, a woman ought to be able to count on her friends and family for moral support. Right?

In Tron’s case, not right. In two harrowing paragraphs Tron described the reactions of those near and dear to her:

Meanwhile I had to deal with the ramifications of my rape that didn’t have anything to do with the cops or the courts. I initially only told a few people I trusted about what happened—I wanted to keep the situation on the down-low, since I was worried people would react in all kinds of ways that would make me uncomfortable. Well, that didn’t work out. Within a few days 60 or 70 people knew, and nobody wanted to hang out with me, out of fear that as a “rape victim” I’d burst into tears unpredictably or whatever. One of my best friends at the time told me she couldn’t be my friend anymore and wouldn’t even listen to me when I told her details about the assault. She said it was too heavy to hear, and claimed that what happened to me had given her post-traumatic stress disorder.

A few family members told me that they were grieving over me, because rape is a “fate worse than death.” Another told me that they were not shocked this happened to me because I was a victim by nature. “Some people are victims and some are predators,” they said. “You are a victim.” Some people actually seemed straight-up jealous because apparently I now had a “valid reason” to be depressed. These were acquaintances who were generally unhappy and they probably felt insecure that they only had minor relationship hassles and shitty bosses to blame their ennui on.

I have no doubt but that Tron’s Park Slope and Williamsburg friends are living breathing feminists. Without knowing any of them, I guarantee you, they all voted for Obama. I promise, not one of them is a Tea Party patriot.

Apparently, none of these enlightened women has any sense of decency at all. They are incapable of provide any moral comfort to a friend who was raped. Instead, they shunned her.

Whatever you think of Marcotte’s chronic inveighing against slut-shaming, what do you think of a group of feminists that shuns a rape victim?

The criminal justice system has an excuse. It is designed to avoid wrongful convictions.

Tron’s friends and family do not.


Bobbye said...

"Unfortunately, the criminal justice system works poorly in these cases because it presumes the accused to be innocent and affords him the rights to competent legal representation and to a trial where he will be able to confront his accuser"

I hope you really mean "unfortunely" in a sarcastic vein instead of literally. That said I looked at Gina's article and came to the conclusion that the only person who let Gina down was Gina. Perhaps her family and 'friends' know her better.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Yes, of course....

Sam L. said...

Sisterhood doesn't care.

Awoman said...

The sad thing about rapists and child molesters is that many of them are very very good at selecting their victims.

They select the least credible witnesses, they have the knack for figuring this out.
(How many serial rapists actually have gone after hooker after hooker)

In this case, Gina had some loss of credibility (drunk and had done coke)
But it was clear that she came back "to" once she was in his car.
She said "No" over and over and over again. She begged for him to stop. She begged for her life.
No matter the case, NO ONE deservs to be raped. NO ONE...

And he deserves to be hung from his balls...

Anonymous said...

There are cases, based on later discovered DNA evidence, where the woman identifies the wrong man in court. An innocent man gets convicted of rape and goes to prison. The guilty man goes free. The ability to identify a person is subject to error. I studied law and my conclusion is this: there is no justice, there is only a social process called a justice system.