Experience A Rape Trial Through The Perspective Of A Victim » VSB

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Experience A Rape Trial Through The Perspective Of A Victim

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You’ve just experienced the worst night of your life.

Maybe you remember all of the details, maybe you don’t. And truly, both circumstances are a unique brand of unfathomable hell. Either the detailed knowledge of all the ways that you have been irrevocably violated seared into your brain for eternity. Or a gaping space of unknowns left to be filled with speculation as to just how, exactly your personhood was desecrated. It’s a quandary I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

No matter the circumstances, this series of events will impact your day-to-day life for the foreseeable future. And should you choose to take any sort of punitive action, you will be forced to relive that experience, in detail and ad nauseam, for years on end.

You may start with a close friend or family member; presumably — or rather, hopefully — a sympathetic ear that doesn’t prod moreso than offer themselves as a source of support. But then there’s the police report. Where you will have to answer what happened to you multiple times in as many ways, assisted by a detective combing painstakingly over your narration for inconsistencies.

Depending on the timing, you may be compelled to get a rape kit done — a rigorous, two to four hour ordeal where you are stripped naked and probed at length, on the heels of one of the worst violations possible to a person’s body. You are then questioned again, by several people, asking the same iterations on inquiries, which ultimately demands that you re-experience that trauma for them.

Assuming the DA’s office decides to pick up the case — which can be unlikely absent witness testimony, video proof, or DNA evidence — you will have to again endure the soul-crushing repetitive cadence of informing yet another individual of that day. Not only will you need to detail what happened to you, you will need to address how you arrived at that environment, what grey areas may have existed — and there will always be one to exploit; there is no such thing as a “perfect” rape victim — what your career is, what your grades are if you are in school, what kind of daughter, sister, partner, or mother you are, your recent sexual history, any interaction you’ve had with the assailant following the incident, and an eternal list of harrowing probing at a regular frequency for weeks, if not months.

If the prosecution decides to push for a plea deal, it stops there, regardless of whether the conclusion is to your satisfaction. Because even in your reprisal, your agency is limited. If it proceeds to a trial, then you are wrung through the excruciating rigamarole again, only this time it includes parties even less invested in your vindication. Throughout this entire exercise of agonizing and comprehensive personal dissection, you are expected to never waver; to be consistent; to stay beyond approach.

Best case scenario? Your attacker is found guilty with limited cause for appeal. Worst case, the aggressor is acquitted and the months, possibly years of retelling, at great toll to your personal well-being and livelihood, is seemingly for naught. And you are expected to pick up your life and move on, with the knowledge that the person(s) that laid ruin to your spirit have not been held accountable.

That is what it is like to “experience a very painful moment in my life.” That’s what it is like to know that your “life will be examined and put under the microscope in ways that it never has.” And that is exactly why framing a rape trial around the experience of the accused vs the victim is one of the most tone-deaf responses to the adjudicate of rape and sexual assault possible — and how Nate Parker’s initial response prompted a cascading increase of scrutiny culminating in the present-day excoriation of a 17-year-old case.

Enduring the harrowing agony of a rape trial following your near-inhumane victimization is an almost-indescribable experience. My words — the combination of personal lived experiences, as a victim and recounting as an advocate — don’t do it justice. Continuing to frame the event through what the accused went through and not affirming or acknowledging the torment that is demanded of the victim(s) not just in this high-profile case, but most others that don’t make it to the headlines, is a slap in the face to the realities of surviving rape and sexual assault. It is imprudent at the very least, and continuously abusive and derogatory at the worst.

As we continue to engage in discussion around the tragic circumstances in this case and the ones sure to come after this, it would behoove us to choose our language and narratives wisely. At the core of these conversations is a person’s pain and trauma, and that can’t be erased from any conscientious dialogue on the topic if we plan on making any progress on addressing rape and rape culture with any level of substance.

Shamira Ibrahim

Shamira is a twentysomething New Yorker who likes all things Dipset. You can join her in waxing poetically about chicken, Cam'ron, and gentrification (gotta have some balance) under the influence of varying amounts of brown liquor at her semi-monthly blog, shamspam.tumblr.com

  • OG Mermaid

    Thank you for this. As a person who volunteers at a local women’s shelter as apart of their sexual assault response team and is dispatched as a victim’s advocate whenever a hospital calls to report an assault, I can tell you that watching someone’s rape kit being performed will forever change your perspective on rape and sexual assault. And by watching I mean physically being in the room and holding the person’s hand and comforting them while the nurse ask you if you can put on gloves and hold the person’s vaginal swabs, while they set up their black light to look for other fluids that might have been missed, or if you can help hold the person’s leg steady while they are doing the swabbing, because the person is shaking from the trauma of this entire experience. I cried on my first call, but I keep going back because someone needs to be to let that person know that they are not alone…

    • L8Comer

      You could spend your free time doing anything… Thank YOU for volunteering to help women through this ordeal. Women need someone there with them… and smh, believe it or not (although I’m sure you know) sometimes the nurses aren’t supportive at all so having an advocate is really helpful for many women

      • OG Mermaid

        Oh, I’m well versed in nurses, lol. Some of them are great, and some of them are like “here we go again.” And lawrd forbid if the victim/survivor is on drugs, then the behavior/treatment towards them goes to inhumane. I had to let one nurse know “Sweetie, this is your job, you CHOOSE this job, if you don’t like this job, then get a new one, I get it we all have bad days/nights, but now is not the time for your attitude or disgruntledness (not sure if that’s a word) of having to “deal with” a survivor who happens to be high, now is the time for you to actually suck that ish up and treat them fairly as you would any other survivor.”

        • L8Comer

          it’s such a shame. And I get survivors not wanting the advocates around or anyone for that matter. But those types of nurses are exactly why i think advocates are necessary. You never know what type of nurse you will get and it’s too hard to speak up for yourself during that time. Even just having someone observe, without talking, can be useful later on.

    • LadyJay?

      All the respek, for your voluntary efforts!!!!!!!! You are necessary!!!! You matter!!!

      • OG Mermaid

        This is what I tell myself every time I get a call; Even on nights where the victim/survivor doesn’t want anyone there, not even the nurses.

        • LadyJay?

          I want to write more, but imma leave it at that. I bless and thank God for you.

        • LMNOP

          I can’t tell you how many people I know whose mothers had nasty things to say after they were raped. What you do really is so important and valuable.

    • First, thanks for doing that. Your efforts get these fools off the streets. But the fact that so few jurisdictions want to actually fund testing for those kits is abhorrent. The victims did their part with subjecting themselves to the exam. The lab needs to do its part.

      • OG Mermaid

        I couldn’t agree more; the mishandling of the kits is scary.

        • And a lot of it is at the discretion of the DA’s who,nationwide, trend white and male. This is what we mean by a “rape” culture, or patriarchy- the deliberate handling of resources toward one aspect of criminal justice and not toward sexual crimes.

          • Duff Soviet Union

            I have to laugh darkly when people talk about the rape kit “backlog” as though these kits are just sitting somewhere waiting to be tested when police officers get time. There is no backlog. They’re deliberately being mishandled and “lost”. And a big reason is that a lot of the time, the rapists are….police officers.

          • Karenmgingerich

            <<hp.. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!il119r:….,….

      • PinkRose

        I’ve run the kinds of experiments that are similar to what’s done in analyzing samples from rape kits. And I can tell you that the process is both time consuming and expensive. People well trained to do this kind of work won’t work for the county because the pay is FAR too low. That’s the main reason there’s a back up, even if they have the funding for these positions, most people trained to do the analysis won’t apply/take the job.

        • Agree on the technical difficulties and the pay. Those samples are what usually lead to headdesk situations. That said, there are private contractors who do the work and pay decently. Why not send it to them?

          • PinkRose

            Cost.

            • Governments spend money on all kinds of dumb ish but not on stuff they’re supposed to do? Grrr…

              • LMNOP

                Right, we could decriminalize drugs and spend the money saved from not incarcerating addicts on getting rapists put away. The government has a lot of say in how it spends money.

                • Considering the knock on effects of being a victim, locking these fools up would save money on human services in the long run. But people don’t think…

        • Janelle Doe

          not to be fluppant, i rwally mean this: these are the kinds of innivations I wish smart people qould do some focus in rather than apps galore. Sidenote I wonder if good buzz could be created from Malcolm Gladwell doing a podcast on the topic (*plugged in case he reads VSB comment section)

      • Speaking of “fools off the streets” Just saw this on TV:
        Darren Sharper, Ex NFL.er drugs, “assaults” almost 20 women, gets
        9 years, then judge changes mind and doubled it.
        Thats one…

    • Minx

      Bless you and your strength.??

      • OG Mermaid

        Thank you, my strength is definitely challenged within this act of service.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      You’re a hero.

      • OG Mermaid

        Thank you; I’m not a hero though, just a regular person fulfilling a need.

    • God Shammgod

      Thank you for your work. Advocacy and social work is draining to anyone’s fortitude. It’s been some time since I’ve done any kind of one-on-one work but some memories and names will stay with me forever.

    • Nortey

      Respek to OG Mermaid.

    • Melissa Rainville

      As a person who found themselves laying on that table, holding an advocate’s hand, I cannot thank you enough. I cannot. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • I’ve been livid at all of the empathy for this sob… The victim got nothing but harassment and strife… Even black women are siding with this monster… I’m just done.

    • NonyaB

      Ugh, you know it! Just unbelievable to see BW actually mouthing support for that monster. One can hope that as they comment openly, the many replies that point out the absurdity of their position somehow makes see a sliver of sense. But I ain’t holding my breath.

    • LadyJay?

      Yes to all of this.

    • A.P. Millz-CT

      Girl, you would be UPSET if you go to Sanda Rose’s website.. ALL BLACK WOMEN there support Nate Parker.. It’s truly disgusting.

      • PinkRose

        Isn’t that site on the “low life” side of internet blogs? NO surprises!

        • Val

          Very much so.

      • NonyaB

        WTF IS WRONG with people?! Then again, look at the venue: a site known for being on the lower side of decency/integrity for various reasons.

      • I can’t

    • Leggy

      And the girl was repeatedly harassed and she finally killed herself. Nate Parker hasn’t even denied that he did it yet black women keep caping for him. You can’t read those court documents and think for a second that they didn’t rape that girl.

      • LadyJay?

        Can you imagine. Raped AND then HARRASSED. C’mon now. Then I have to go watch birth of a who what where? Not me. God Forbid.

      • Reading the documents, we can disagree on who did what, but the particulars of an assault are obvious to all.

      • LMNOP

        That’s so sad that she ended up killing herself.

        But people want to just “leave it in the past” because it happened 17 years ago…

        • LadyJay?

          THAT irrrrrrrks me!!!! And NOW he is a respectable man, with daughters.Phakk outta here.

      • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

        And then they wrote a fake rape into the Nat Turner story.

    • Minx

      I actually keep running lists in my head of people’s reactions to things like this so I know so who to never engage with again.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    Gotdamn. Well said.

    I don’t think many people get what it means to replay a traumatic scenario dozens of times in your mind, repeat the memory audibly for someone else to hear, then stop so they can ask multiple questions that may or may not be designed to poke holes in your retelling, then reexamining what you said, comparing it to what they asked, and slightly wondering after every single interruption….is what I remember what I ACTUALLY REMEMBER? Did I forget something? Is my mind playing tricks on me? I know I didn’t make this up, but why are they acting like I made this up?

    That slow decent into madness where you feel like you can’t even trust yourself. Can’t even rely on your own memories because they may be lying to you. That maybe you’re so scared and hurt that for what you do remember, there could be parts you don’t remember, but you can’t prove it.

    It’s hard to have a serious conversation with someone who’s never been forced to destroy the protective boundaries of their mind in order to relive a trauma that people will question you for just because “this stuff seems to happen all the time”.

    • OG Mermaid

      That last paragraph was glorious; And you’re right, the constant questioning is agonizing. And please don’t be relieved in one telling of the story and angry in another telling because even that becomes a question of validity.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        The tone always has to be the same. The words have to be the same. S h i t, even the amount of tears you shed have to be the same.

        Any deviation from the first go around is enough to question everything you said, call you a liar, and deem your story basura.

        • Nik White

          Unless you’re an Olympian that is.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            Ha. Good point.

            Dude is literally getting a pass from the head of the Olympics, saying “kids will be kids”

            Dude Latoche is 32, how the h e l l is he a kid?

            • Janelle Doe

              indeed. wypipo stay young but our teenagers “look like adults”

            • I saw that f!ckshit this morning and sadly not surprised that people are portraying him as a kid.

    • As this regards to race, Cornel West once said that every black person in America is dealing with some form of PTSD and in order to deal with it we have to compartmentalize our minds. That causes us to remove part of who we are.

      That loss of personhood is what we need to protect everyone against. Who are we if not all of ourselves?

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        And we have the right to question that pain. Because if we don’t and leave it alone, when others question us, we are so defenseless.

        If you think about it, that’s why we as Black people are usually so angry when speaking on race. It’s deeply rooted within us but we do tend to not go deep enough to examine our true painful connection to the feelings it gives us.

    • QueenRaven23

      “what I remember what I ACTUALLY REMEMBER? Did I forget something? Is my mind playing tricks on me?”

      This reminds me of the people that feel that Cosby’s accusers are lying because they remember things. I know this: my memory was murky and then things started to become clearer for me as days, weeks, and months went on. You don’t know what to think because it’s not easily expressible. You know what happened, but people think that it’s only rape if it’s the terrifying thought that everyone has in the mind about what they think it should be in order to prove that it was.

      Sad to say, but it was Cosmopolitan and an article that it published years ago about “gray rape” that made me understand what happened.

      • That was a really good article. Sad #doe.

      • Nik White

        WOW Cosmo had an article about this but I’ve never heard it until now.

        • QueenRaven23

          yea, I was surprised. I can’t stand that magazine, but when I read that article years ago, it was what I needed. I couldn’t go to anyone in my family because I knew the scrutiny

          • Janelle Doe

            Glad that article found its way to you.

      • L8Comer

        Sorry, Queen. :(

        • QueenRaven23

          aw thanks :)

      • LadyJay?

        What in the Phakk is a ‘gray rape’. You must be kidding me!

        • QueenRaven23

          Cosmo described it as such because we (especially at that time) would only see rape as a “scary, someone breaks in etc” kind of rape (not to dismiss any of it as less than) because that was the narrative people went by to either say it happened or it didn’t. The issue is, a lot of times, it not like that. And it sits in like this gray area of how to prove it, what happened, what didn’t happened, etc. It had various people’s stories, from the accused to the victim. Rape is rape, but the cloud of judgment that not only the victim receives from others, to the guilt that the victim places on themselves carries on. I know most don’t or didn’t understand it, but that helped me more than just going to family.

          • LadyJay?

            I’m glad it helped you.

            But rape is rape, no gray areas. The details do not change the fact that the victim didn’t consent. 1+1=2, not 2.1 or 2.gray, just 2.

      • Kas

        Sorry you had to go through that.

        • QueenRaven23

          :) Thanks. I wish I could erase 2007 from my entire existence and memory. But we do what we can do in hopes that people will one day get it without having to experience the actual event. I’m happy that people are starting to get the picture and are talking about it.

      • NonyaB

        Sorry you went through that. {{{HUG}}}

        • QueenRaven23

          :) Thanks love.

      • Val

        *eHUG*

        • QueenRaven23

          :) Thanks

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        First off, you deserve a bear hug right now.

        Secondly, people are programmed to think these scenarios play out like Law & Order: SVU, where we have everything we want to say fully laid out for us.

        You know what I know..that when you question your own memory, you can’t function properly anymore. I’m 32..I’m remembering things that clearly happened when I was under 6 years old and I’m fucking terrified to ask questions because I still don’t know if I can trust what I see. That’s how funny the human mind is, it just works when it wants to.

        I don’t even know how to call it. You could only do what you could do in those moments. I just wish people understood what that meant so that the pressure could have been off your shoulders to breathe for a moment.

        • LMNOP

          I think your mind holds onto things until you are ready and able to deal with them sometimes.

          I’m so sorry you’re dealing with all this though, that’s so hard and confusing. I just want to reach through time and space and give 6 year old you a big hug.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            I mean it’s all confusing but it’s better I come to terms with it now than pretend like I’ll be ok. But it keeps reminding me how often I’ve met people who’ve been traumatized and that it is so rampant.

            Thank you love. I’m just going to hope for the best.

      • LMNOP

        I’m so sorry you went through that.

        It’s so interesting how the brain processes traumatic memories differently than regular memories. I mean it’s interesting to read about, but obviously confusing and scary to experience.

      • cilgen

        So many hugs for you, Queen. {{{QueenRaven23}}}

      • Duff Soviet Union

        It’s been shown that trauma causes victims to misremember lots of little details, and yet people always use this as evidence that the victim is lying. It’s such garbage.

        • Nortey

          SMH.

      • Nortey

        {{{HuG}}}

    • NonyaB

      You’d think people would universally realize that suppressing memories a coping/survival mechanism. Otherwise, how could we all function daily if our most horrible memories kept looming large permanently on “refresh” mode?

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        That’s the problem though. Mostly, humans can only relate to each other through similar circumstances. If you get attacked by a dog as a kid, as an adult you’re afraid of them. But the dog lover can’t understand that, and thinks you’re just overreacting.

        Even then….we could have a group of people speak on their rapes and that still wouldn’t mean we are all eye to eye on the subject. Some people would flat out deny their feelings, some people would be too overcome with grief, some people would be in progress, some people would be completely over it, and some people would just be tainted forever.

        We are a fickle bunch.

  • Getting raked over the coals over and over for inconsistencies (causing you to relive the nightmare) in the re-telling has GOT to be one of the most painful stages of the investigation – (that, and them not really believing you) As a man, I can only sympathize, and commend anyone that can still hang in throughout all of the above.

    • There’s efforts to change the questioning process so that investigators can get what they need without having to repeat questions, but no one wants to fund training for them.

      • Janelle Doe

        Glad it has been even considered. That retelling and ‘checking the story for inconsistencies’ is something I have always found puzzling.
        Why must “the story” remain the same? why can’t the essence of the story be the piece that is considered.
        I mean I can’t give you a play by play of my day today under oath much less a traumatic high stress event that I would prefer to forget and I would be so drained by the constant questions of.
        Rather I would find stories that are strongly consistent to be rehearsed and far more questionable than one that only changes in blurry places but maintains the core threads.

        • Very true about the strongly consistent story. That’s how the whole UVA situation a year or so back fell apart. There were too many pieces that were too neat and fit preconceived notions.

  • LadyJay?

    On the train this morning, I read word for word, detail by detail, even noting the commas and full stops, in the transcriptions. Then, I re-read, what he said, “I’m not going to continue to relive the past” or something along those lines. I paused. You don’t have to because, you were the perpetrator! The victim, now dead, had to live through it. Just because the case was settled and you were acquitted, don’t mean, SHID for the victim!
    Folks talking about, I can separate the man from his art! Birth of a nation can go to hayle.
    Being raped is a life changing event. The scars may not be visible physically, but they are rooted deep within the wells of ones emotions and mental wellbeing.

    A rape trial…you are forced to re-live it again! Very painful.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      Don’t do that. The movie is the movie.

      Who Nate Parker is has nothing to do with his movie. His movie is basically a trumped up tool to bring up his past.

      Whether he is being arrogant, dismissive, or downright disrespectful, he is just one part of the movie. It was built with a cohessive team to bring it to life. Damning the movie because of Nate Parker being the face of it dismisses everybody else. They weren’t there on that night. They didn’t do anything to that woman, and they shouldn’t have to go down in flames because Nate Parker may deserve to go down in flames.

      Part of the issue with dealing with rape is subjectiveness. It’s way too nuanced to say damn everything.

      The movie will come and go, but this rape happened 17 years ago under the radar and was fortunately able to have a second life thanks to the circumstances. It allows us to ask questions that may have not been asked before. The victim is deceased but now she can have defenders that she did not the first time around. So with that said, it makes sense in my mind to treat it different by coming at Nate Parker from a different perspective than the emotional tone rape brings out in most of us.

      I could be wrong, but I just don’t like the idea that he just gets the finger wagged at him and that’s it. He deserves a special brand of scrutiny he couldn’t get when he was just a regular person, but will definitely pay for because he is a famous person.

      • LadyJay?

        I’m NOT going to support the movie. Others will. Not me.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          That’s fine. Totally your choice. I wasn’t asking you to pay for it. I was asking you rethink about blaspheming the movie simply because of Nate Parker, when he is not the only person involved in the movie.

          • LadyJay?

            I’m not blaspheming the movie. I’m blaspheming any and all his works. Sorry oo. This one we will just agree to disagree. I just can’t separate the monster and the art. For those of you who can. Kudos.

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              Understood.

              • Hey Re…
                You think the movie will suffer?
                Just asking you as a bruh…

                • RewindingtonMaximus

                  I feel that it will.

                  I’m not trying to be a bleeding heart about it because s h i t, I don’t watch movies I don’t care for, and I am not even pretending like I was going to watch this in the theaters.

                  However, I’ve paid attention more to when someone is a public face to a project and then their actions or past actions tarnish the image of that project. This movie may suffer, but there was never any proof it was going to be a box office smash either.

                  Only issue is now people have an emotionally vitriol reaction to the name & face of Nate Parker, and this whole film will suffer because he thought his past was in the past and is not handling the topic in the present like he gives a damn.

      • NonyaB

        Yes the movie is collateral damage, unfortunately for the rest of the production team. Everybody draws their line in different places and given what we know, I’ll be damned if I go out, pay money (some of which goes to him and his co-monster) to see this movie. Not a big deal for me as I wasn’t planning to see it and I don’t think people should necessarily not but I think it’s a meaningful gesture to see those interested yet empathetic to the victim to do so for free only (e.g. if it drops on cable, downloads, etc).

        This is what happens when you evade accountability and atonement, without accounting for it to pop up in court of public opinion later. He and his partner enjoyed getting away with it for years but I bet a small part of him wishes otherwise now. If they’d been properly held accountable and punished then, we’d grudgingly acknowledge they’d done their time, no matter what we still thought of them. But they weren’t, so we can’t. Fxck them and this extends to anything they make. Sorry for the team but at least they got the movie made, got credits for it and good demo reels.

        • LadyJay?

          Thank you for your articulation. Glory!

          • NonyaB

            Always here for the people. ??

        • Thank you.

          RewindingtonMaximus, either the production crew knew about his past and was OK with it, or didn’t, and therefore took a check blind. I understand they have families to feed and lifestyles to support; the complexities of human life are vast and we surely can’t account for them all. Regardless, they took a check from a man who, based off records, either is a chex criminal, or enabled his friends of a chex criminal- and then had the temerity to say he was victimized when the actual victim took her own life

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            Yea but…if you think about it…that literally describes millions of people around the world.

            Many of us have or probably do now, work under someone who’s committed a crime. Hurt people. Maybe even killed people. Yet do they know? No.

            When you watch the news, the kinds of people who do horrific stuff are every day people, in all kinds of positions. So when it’s someone who’s employing others or supervising others (say a politician, CEO, etc)….does what they do in their private life speak for all the people that work with or for them? No…because they have no idea who the real person is.

            The things I”m saying in no way are to exhonerate Nate Parker. I simply thought about this from a stand point what he embodies doesn’t personify everybody else that worked to put the movie together. That’s it.

            If people don’t want to support it, that’s their decision. It’s no different than watching a stream of the movie online instead of paying to watch it in the theater. I’m just aware we have a tendency to say “no fuck that movie because HE MADE IT” without taking to account that he is not the only person involved.

            That’s it. That’s all I’m saying, but perhaps it’s just a redundant point to speak on in general.

            • I’m not doubting your intentions or anything- I’m glad you’re in the “F!ck Nate Parker” camp.

              I’d push your thinking, though. Rape is not a “private life” action, but a criminal, moral, and spiritual act of violence. Someone who gets drunk every weekend or does hard drugs in his free time is different from someone who spends his time hunting and preying on women. When that knowledge becomes public, the people who associate with that person needs to consider how it changes their behavior.

              I’d also push the ambivalence in your language- specifically when you say “many of us” or “maybe.” I’ve got family members who are drug addicts and robbers and repeat felons I don’t talk to anymore because I don’t need that nonsense as me and Mrs. Mortal Man being growing our clan. If you’ve got real experience with this, let’s talk about it. Otherwise, let’s not pretend a vague, philosophical conversation is going to move dialogue forward; if Nate Parker proves anything is that predators hunt in the grey areas. We all love you here and won’t judge.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                Understood.

                I’m not here pretending I have the perfect words to describe these things. I just don’t always want every discussion on my end to be tied to my emotional standpoint, so I try to be pragmatic and see different angles. It’s clearly not a popular method but I just want to catch all sides. But I’ll work on my language and find better ways to express what I’m thinking.

                • You don’t gotta be perfect, but you’ve got to try. And the point of writing and exploring different perspectives is to make sure you eventually arrive at a correct one. Don’t be afraid to communicate your destination.

                  • RewindingtonMaximus

                    Thank you for that.

              • LadyJay?

                Where is your church located, because you are doing Jehovah’s work, no Witness.

                • The doors to my church are always open.

          • L8Comer

            Your tone reads to me like you think the crew should be admonished as well. Is that right or wrong?

            I mean, I doubt many the members of the crew are doing background checks on all of the people leading projects before they agree to accept a job. Are you saying they should, though? Not agreeing or disagreeing, just wondering if that’s what you’re proposing. I ask cuz that’s not something I’ve ever done… look for criminal records of my current employer… I always take my “check blind”, so then should I be if it comes out my boss(es) did something terrible years ago that I didn’t know about? I do a google search on my future employers… but I’ve never tried to see if they had criminal records which is more tailored search. But if I found out they were involved in something like this, I’d move on and find a new job.

            • I took from Rewindington’s post that the crew didn’t deserve to be punished, that they deserved successful for a strong production. I agree, and I’m also arguing that they, in a sense, do need to bear some responsibility for who they worked for. Nobody goes into an organization knowing their employers and co-workers full histories. But once it comes out, though, I’m concerned if it doesn’t result in a behavior change.

              I’m also specifically referring to this Nate Parker situation, for clarity’s sake. A broader conversation about knowing the dirt for who you work for is another covno.

              • D A

                Isn’t that rather too much? An employer need not be a friend, should not be a lover and is rarely a family member so what he, she or it does is hardly of relevance to employees if it is unrelated to the job. Especially in a case like a movie production where many employees need not have any connection with the producers at all; the sound and other engineers, extras, carpenters etc. I can see someone who has to work closely with him being affected having to see, speak with or be around him often but outside of that I cannot see the rationale of placing that kind of burden on someone trying to pay student loans. If only jobs were just lying around waiting for you to pick up as you feel like it!

                Also, I can imagine that most of them will say that he was about 20 years old at the time and he doesn’t seem to have made a habit of it so any responsibility on their part is highly unreasonable.

                • I think that the leader’s actions does impact his organization and the people he works for. I’m mainly using personal experience- as a former assistant principal in a small town, going out to the bar and spilling drinks was no longer acceptable now that people in the community recognized me as a leader at my school. I also think we have to make a distinction between embarrassing behaviors (getting drunk) vs. immoral ones (rape, or being an accessory to it). The scarcity of good work makes decisions hard, and I don’t expect people to be moral avatars and do the upright thing all the time. But they do need to acknowledge they made an imperfect choice and that sometimes consequences come knocking.

                  And Parker’s crime did happen 20 years ago. He’s not made a habit of it based off his public record. His first instinct, though, was to make himself the victim. And that’s unacceptable.

              • L8Comer

                but many of us are just finding this out now. The crew has finished their work I assume and moved on to other projects now. It’s too late for them to quit. Maybe the post production team? Even me, when birth of a nation came out, I did a cursory search to get some background on Nate. Clearly I didn’t search well enough cuz I never new about this.

                • I hear you. I am being a tad judgmental.

            • Epsilonicus

              I know for me, I did not even know this about Nate Parker until VSB mentioned it. They might not have known it either

              • L8Comer

                Yeah, me neither. I’d assume most people involved didn’t

        • LoveTrenia

          “This is what happens when you evade accountability and atonement…” Say it again for the back row.

          • Nik White

            Atonement is key! If NP expressed a tiny morsel of it there wouldn’t a need to continue discussing it.

        • Nik White

          Co-monster!

          • NonyaB

            If the shoe fits, mayne!

      • L8Comer

        “Who Nate Parker is has nothing to do with his movie”

        How is this true? When he wrote, directed, starred… and was involved heavily at every step of the way. Who he is has a lot to do with the movie and the way the story will be written, conceptualized, the visuals, the direction.. etc. The way the story is told – not the story itself – has a lot to do with him cuz it came from his mind…i don’t get this.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          I guess I’m just trying to think of the actual plot of the movie and those who made it. I know Nate Parker had all the big roles.

          I dunno. I was just trying to think about it from a different stand point. Not saying I’m right by doing it, I’m just being unconventional.

      • LoveTrenia

        This has already been stated, but the same thing happened with Straight Outta Compton. I feel like black women are always being asked to make exceptions for wretched male behavior aimed at women for the sake of art. No. I’m over it. If you’ve raped someone, and I find out about it, I’m not supporting you. Period. I don’t care who else was involved with the project.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Ok. I understand.

        • Duff Soviet Union

          It does seem like at some point “support black men” became “excuse everything they do even if it harms black women” for some people.

    • Minx

      Oddly enough, I had no intention of watching Birth of a Nation anyways, so when this came out, I chalked it up to the Lord guiding me away.

      I also don’t trust people who immediately decide that the perpetrators art/career/livelihood must be taken into consideration. Why? They didn’t care about those things when they did what they did, why should I?

      • L8Comer

        ” I also don’t trust people who immediately decide that the perpetrators art/career/livelihood must be taken into consideration.Why? They didn’t care about those things when they did what they did, why should I?”

        Yep.

    • Helga G.Pataki

      Agreed. This movie and all of his future projects can go to hayle. Hopefully the other talents ( not his rapist friend) behind this film are given another opportunity to do great work that I can support, but this movie and anything else involving Nate won’t get support from me.

      • LadyJay?

        Exactamundo

  • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

    These heavy topics are draining

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      Life is draining. These things are every day issues.

      We can talk about sunshine and rainbows all we want but we still have to deal with this stuff at the end of the day.

      Best to put on a brave face, and endure it. Brings us all a bit closer together.

  • NonyaB

    THANK YOU for writing this Shamira.

    Maybe, just maybe, those who commented on the parker post about needing more facts, not knowing the story, needing to hear from the victim, etc will further appreciate the sheer absurdity of demanding a victim to crack herself open and perform her trauma all over again like it’s an entertainment gig. Gawd forbid they should actually read all available records on a past case, then make their conclusions. Because in their eyes, at least calling for information is a step ahead not reading the facts, yet arguing deeply like they did.

    FXCK the notion that because opinions are like azzholes and we’re all entitled to one, we can ignore value and expectation of informed opinion.

    • Jennifer

      “Because in their eyes, at least calling for information is a step ahead not reading the facts, yet arguing deeply like they did.”

      THIS. Why? I’ve never understood it.

      • NonyaB

        Seriously! Like, I couldn’t deal. You constantly see some commenting without adding value just to be heard on other topics. But you assume that on such a sensitive topic, they’d at least want to come somewhat correct but nooo… Then they hold tight to the trash talkingeven after been caught out, like it’s so bad to just admit you’re wrong or didn’t know of fact X and will now go read up.

      • They hide behind vague intellectualization or subjective personal experience to hide their lack of reading comprehension skills.

    • The people in the Parker post won’t change their minds because they place themselves beyond facts. What matters most to them is the skepticism in their hearts they have for rape victims, that the woman is intrinsically a liar or they deserved it.

      Forget having them come to Jesus. Shame them at every turn.

      • NonyaB

        It’s amazing the mental gymnastics some will try before just admitting their bias or ignorance of a fact.

        • It’s like how you’d like a racist to simply say he hates black folk.

          I’d wish they’d come out, do what Damon said, and say they believe women are simply liars and that they, emotionally, will never give them the benefit of the doubt. But a small sense of shame keeps them from being that honest. So they’ll either go about lying or dressing up their misogyny in intellectual language.

      • I read the transcripts that were posted about the case and from what I read it’s clear she was raped, I think from the comments I read from Twitter people don’t understand the concept of concent and they are so thisty to see the movie they don’t want to see the truth, even if you think he is innocent how can you excuse the arrastment?

    • Leggy

      Well the victim killed herself so those idiots will not be hearing her side of the story, I guess.

      • NonyaB

        Exactly.

      • Janelle Doe

        would they care though? if she was alive and told it(again)? some people don’t believe the bazillion Cosby victims. Others still defend RKelly. I wonder how many of the “I need more evidence” or “I’m waiting for the facts” people ever do change their minds?

  • Erica Nicole Griffin

    What would happen if those who committed rape actually just admitted it? He was acquitted so he can’t be retried. What if, in light of his fame, his role as a husband and father, and his millions of Black and/or female fans he just came clean? I was wrong. I made a mistake. I regret it. I won’t do it again. I will teach others how not to rape. Is this too far fetched an idea?

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      From a moral perspective? Sure that would be great.

      From a celebrity perspective? Nope. Never.

      That messes up the money train, and they didn’t become celebrities to be paupers again.

      The only way that would happen is if there’s literally an overwhelming opposition that would give this person no peace at all, and our society is too easily persuaded by new stimuli to stick to their guns about keeping up that kind of pressure against most celebrities.

    • LadyJay?

      He can teach others how not to rape while behind bars.

    • Can he fundamentally change though. I’m not sure how possible that is. I’m not even sure what sincere contrition and repentance for rape would even look like.

      • We shouldn’t stop seeking the other side of justice and mercy just because we don’t know what it might look like. I keep on thinking of a Bryan Stevenson quote- “We are more than the worst things we have ever done in our lives.”

        I think rape, in patriarchal America, is considered both a heinous crime and an act that many women lie about; thus, we don’t consider what genuine repentance for the act is (it’s unimaginable) and we also tend to make the accused the victims (so much of the “b!tches lie” arguments that made me vomit when it comes to sexual assault allegations). What’s common here is the defamation of the actual victim, who should primarily advocate what justice would look like to her.

      • LoveTrenia

        I saw this conversation between bell hooks and Kevin Powell, and he talked about his process of being reformed after being a perpetrator of domestic violence. Now, I’m usually just meh, on Kevin Powell, and men who say they’ve changed after being violent towards women. But he talked about contrition, atonement, going to therapy and making amends. It doesn’t change what happened, but his process opened my eyes to what’s possible for perpetrators. Because as much as they deserve punishment, we need them to be changed and reformed for the benefit of society.

        • I see. I’m just always wary of how fixated we can become of lionizing men for atonement of wretched things they did versus prioritizing the care of the people who were initially affected by the acts and behavior. How their reform because of the “face” of it over the victims/survivors.

          • LoveTrenia

            That’s a given for me, but you’re totally right.

        • LadyJay?

          A rapist can do all this change behind bars! I don’t need your change whilst functioning in society!

          • LoveTrenia

            That’s my point. If a rapist is convicted and goes to prison, he’s eventually going to get out. And make no mistake, I want his a s s to go to prison for his crime. But I also want him to do this other work, so he’s not a threat to another woman. Because we all know the likelihood of someone being reformed in the American prison system is not great.

            • LadyJay?

              What other work? Of change. I do NOT care, once a rapist, ALWAYS a rapist!

      • Aly

        Yes, it is possible. The way we talk about and even define rape has changed so much in the past 20 years (see the gray rape convo below). I’m about the same age as Parker, and I know it took me many many years to acknowledge that what happened to me in college was even rape. I can imagine that in his own mind, Parker feels the same way. He may think of rape as something that only happens between strangers, not with someone you know and have previously been intimate with. So I think contrition and repentance could start there. Just acknowledge that he was ignorant about rape, but he’s learning. Apologize, get therapy if needed. It’s complicated, but I do think change is possible.

    • ?Lauren?

      People will forgive him but he’s too prideful to do that.

  • Here is the problem with the law. We have to presume innocence until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt so the prosecution is generally at a disadvantage. That is the beauty of public discourse, we are not bound by such disadvantages.

    That being said, too many people treat s exual assault victims like they are the prosecutors office. Listen, try to understand and don’t be dismissive of obvious hurt and pain. S exual assault victims are one of the few victims that are immediately attacked and it is an agency issue. Women are not given their full humanhood by men or other women in this society and until that changes, the same thing will happen in court.

    • There’s also the real trauma of being told that they got the people who did it, only to found out that they got the wrong guy. Now, the victims get to relive that trauma that I can only imagine was oh so fun the first time around, they get to hear how they ruined someone else’s life to boot. That’s why we need to take some serious thought about how we treat $ex assault victims.

  • Thank you for the welcome perspective. From doing my homework on this, it seems that the judicial system does a crappy job of treating $ex assault victims, to put it mildly. What’s worse is that there isn’t much action oriented towards the victims. While I get the instinct towards doing *something* after centuries of doing absolutely nothing, throwing someone in jail doesn’t really help victims.

    I know a lot about the rape kits simply because they are technically considered medical devices. What’s done with them is a tragedy from a technical and personal level. But forgetting all of that, you have humans who are struggling with how to move forward from some traumatic experiences. That someone has to say “hey look at the victim!” says a lot about our values.

    • I’ve heard varying stories about rape kits and how there always seem to be a back log of unprocessed ones as well as states charging victims for the kits *looks at Sarah Palin*. Are they handled by medical examiners or outside labs?

      • miss t-lee

        Our county has a crazy backlog as well.
        Makes you think that solving these types of cases aren’t even close to a priority.

        • One of the sad things is that even if they get processed the state solicitors (What SC calls their district attorneys) or the counties have to do their jobs in court. My sister who still lives back home served on the jury in which one of my HS classmates was raped and the facts made it seem like a slam dunk but the solicitor who handled the case flubbed everything.*

          *Then again this is the same solicitor’s office in my county that only managed to get three or four murder convictions since 1980.

          • miss t-lee

            Dang.
            And you’re right. The DA’s definitely have to do their job.

            • The problem also lies with the DA’s and the defense attorneys rolling in the same crew too.

      • Definite maybe. In most large cities, the local police have a laboratory that does them. In some states, there’s a central lab for the state that handles it all. Private contractors also handle a decent amount of work.

        There are major issues with how they’re run too. They’re considered laboratory developed tests (or home brews for short), so they’re outside of the FDA regulatory regime. That isn’t necessarily bad, but the labs haven’t put in an alternative certification process as many such lab tests do. As a result, on the off chance they pay for the tests, the lab work is often shoddy, and a good defense lawyer can rip it to shreds. There have also been a number of scandals regarding fraud with these labs, leading to more issues.

        The one good thing is stuff like OG Mermaid is doing where they’re doing a much better job of getting kits done, supporting victims and processing them properly. At least that gives the lab a chance to get the job done.

        • In South Carolina the state police (SLED) handles those things because of the size of a lot of the counties and towns.

      • Nik White

        Here in Detroit there’s a movement enoughsaiddetroit.org that’s a collaboration between public and private entities to address the backlog of processing rape kits. I’m proud to report that my chapter made the single highest donation from the Divine 9 back in March.

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