more on the nose title: athletes and sexual assault: golddiggers, ….

Unlike sports parents today, some of whom dedicate their lives to their young athletes in hopes that they’ll be the next Tiger Woods or Michelle Wie, my immigrant parents sent me off to swimming lesson in the summer and made me find my own way there and back on foot.

I was a terrible swimmer and though I have a slight build, my backside always seemed to sink. And even though I share my given name with the Greek goddess of the sea, I’m afraid of water. (connect up this swimming part a little better) I dragged myself over the hot cement in the impossibly muggy weather of Norfolk, Virginia to take swimming lessons because there wasn’t much else to do. One day, as I was walking alone, a man accosted me and said he’d give me a dollar if I let him suck my leg.

I froze. “Suck my leg, ” what did that mean? As he knelt down on one knee in front of me, I ran off losing one of my flip-flops in the process. I told my mother that I’d lost the flip-flop at the pool. That was all I said.

When I was a graduate student at Boston University, I went to a brownstone late one evening to join up with some friends who were going out dancing. The light in the entryway was broken and I had to put my face right up to the mailboxes to figure out which bell to ring. As I turned around to look at the mailboxes on the other side of the room, a big man with a broad face held up a hunting knife and stood directly in front of me about a foot away. I was dead I thought. My life was over. As he started rubbing up against me, somehow I managed to think of pretending to have an attack of asthma and I slowly collapsed to the ground wheezing more and more with every inch. When I finally reached the ground, he shook his hands in front of me as if to say, “No, no, everything’s alright, don’t do that, start breathing, get better(yuck).” He was afraid I was going to die.

He walked out of the building and I picked myself up, found my friends and called the police. It turns out that the man was a Marielits, one of the people released from Cuba by Castro and put on boats to the US during Jimmy Carter’s reign. He was later convicted and jailed for rape. He had raped a woman on campus then gone back to the scene of the crime.

I felt bad for him. I guessed that he’d probably been institutionalized in Cuba and Castro used the opportunity to get rid of some of his more disturbed citizens. I also thought that he’d have been sent to a mental institution if he’d had a better lawyer.

Many years later I walked into a cafeteria during my morning break and saw a man exposing himself as he sat at one of the stools along a counter facing a wall. I immediately told the owners of the restaurant, but afterwards, I wasn’t sure I’d seen what I saw.

In the late 1990’s I went to an event at CalArts where they showed films from the Women’s Building (a little history). The woman who had the films had put them out on the sidewalk to be picked up by the trash collectors when she received a call asking if CalArts could show the films. She had to run out and pick them up off the sidewalk.

One of the films show an abstract gooey, jello-like substance as a voice over describing an incestuous relationship with her father. She admitted that she’d flirted with him because she liked the attention.

In the discussion after the films, I said that this time in history is probably the first time that father’s are going to jail for incest, the first time that anyone has openly talked about incest and warned children of the possibility. As proof of my point, I gave as an example a recent television show with Ted Danson and Glenn Close as husband and wife in a critically acclaimed program about incest. If the star of Cheers could play and incestuous father, it was an open subject.

A young woman in the audience vehemently disagreed. “Nothing has changed!” she said rather forcefully. Afterwards I wondered if she had been sexually abused at home.

[show my further feminist principles by saying that I skipped the sixth game of the 1975(?) World Series, the one where Carlton Fisk hit the home run to send the series to a seventh game, to attend a meeting of the Massachusetts Feminist Federal Credit Union.]
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timeline:
Mark Sanchez: arrest April 26, 2006; charges dropped: June 2nd, 2006, lack of evidence, medical exam inconclusive. (how would this woman have made money? Suing Sanchez, he’s from a middle class family, and suing USC. http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/sports/atoz/article_1200983.php: Evidently Sanchez had used a fake ID to go to a bar and do a bit of underage drinking. He and the woman had gone back to his apartment and, “A D.A.’s office report said Sanchez and the woman engaged in consensual kissing and more on his bed, but he stopped each time she refused his advances to have intercourse.”
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Duke case: alleged rape occurred on March 13th. Newsweek article about the rape with details of the evening: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12335371/site/newsweek/. So, in the middle of March I watched to protesters and listened to a woman from Duke’s Women’s Center address the issue and I thought to myself, why are they out there protesting before the investigation is completed. They’re skewering these guys without good evidence (yuck). Never mind that I would have been right there with them in my college days and, of course, you protest to make sure that a proper investigation is carried out.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12463693/ The DA’s office evidently only showed pictures of lacrosse players to the alleged victim: owever, NBC News has exclusively taken a look at those documents. Dan, this is what I saw. The date, April 4: about three weeks after the alleged gang rape. The documents say the police only showed her photos of lacrosse players and they flashed the photos one at a time on a big screen in front of her for one minute at a time. And in each case they asked her, do you recognize him? In the transcripts that I read, when she saw a photo of Collin Finnerty, one of the players indicted, she said “That’s the man who stood behind me” and then she briefly described how she says he sexually assaulted her.

Detectives then asked, are you sure. Her response, yes. Then when she got to the second photo of the second player indicted, Reade Seligmann, according to the transcripts, she said he was the player who stood in front of her and forced her to perform oral sex. Detectives asked her, are you sure? And her response, yes, 100 percent.

About the third alleged attacker. The transcript shows that she thinks that there could be two other guys that possibly could be that one attacker.

When she looked at one particular photo, she said, “He looks like him, I’m not sure.” Then on the very next photo, she said that he looked like the guy who could’ve assaulted her. Dan, further down, the detectives ask her how sure she was about that guy and her response was 90 percent.
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Kwame Brown case: rape: early morning of April 29th (a Saturday). The Lakers had taken a surprising 3-1 lead on the Phoenix Suns Sunday with two fantastic last minute shots by Kobe Bryant, one during regulation time to send the game into overtime and another to win it. Brown had had sex with a woman in a Los Angeles hotel and the investigation was announced on Tuesday, June 2. So, the day that Sanches charges were dropped, we had another case to take over the current “sexual assault charges against athletes” void. I was starting my car up on a Tuesday night to go to yoga class when I heard about the charges against Brown. The Lakers lost the game on Wednesday and proceeded to lose the next three games to lose the series. That’s only the eighth time in NBA history that a team has lost a seven game series when they were up 3-1. The investigation ended on July 11th and no charges filed because of lack of evidence, a medical examination showed no sign of forced sexual activity.
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The Kobe Bryant case started this off. … see more info below. s&m 101.
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Issues here: golddiggers, D.A.’s who want publicity and an arrest, athletes don’t realize the power they have (Bryant s&m 101), this is a culture where

Sexual assault charges against high profile athletes may be unique events but they affect public opinion. I know because now when a woman accuses a celebrity of sexual assault, I am immediately sceptical. That scepticism will eventually enter the minds of others and adversely affect women who bring sexual assault charges against any man.

S.I. article about the whole Duke thing is excellent.

Athletes under attack by women and D.A.’s. Duke accuser was driven around to 3 appt.’s at hotels the week before the alleged assault the NY Times reported. Is this trashing the accuser or is it relevant to the vaginal abrasions the accuser received. Either way, when I read it, I thought, “See, she’s set them up.” Bad me.

Sexual assault charges against high profile athletes may be unique events but they undermine the progress that’s been made iin trying rape cases because the public loses confidence in accusers.

It started when I saw groups protesting on Duke’s campus after a woman accused members of Duke’s lacrosse team of raping her. Hmmm, I thougt to myself, remembering sheepishly that I once stood in groups stood in a stood around in a group like that. Why are they protesting when the investigation isn’t yet complete? Of course they were investigating protesting for the same reason they were protesting to make sure the investigation a was carried out.

When an athlete gets is accused of sexual assault, that is often not a not a problem. Michael Nifong is the district attorney (?) for the area that Duke resides in and, it turns out, he was

That is not usually a problem. District Attorney jobs are won by election. Elected officials are unlikely to let a p.r. opportunity go by. If I sound jaded, yes, I realized I slowly realized that, yes, whereas before I was right there with the protesting groups, now I was negative and jaded. In the Duke case, the district attorney, Michael J.(??) Nifong had been appointed to his position as district attorney but he was up for election (how long after the investigation began).

When a woman in Eagle County(?), Colorado, accused Kobe Bryant of sexually assaulting her in (date?), the local police went straight to the sheriff (is that right?) instead of going to the district attorney to get permission to talk to Bryant (?) or to get a request for an arrest warrant. I suppose the connection here is weakened if they went around the district attorney. The district attorney in the case, (???), was young (how long had he been on the job) and his office was overwhelmed with the task of indicting and trying an intenational celebrity. That explained the disastrous leaks of information about the accuser. O.k., I did feel bad about that. And I felt bad that And I bemoaned (yuck) the life Lif I also was upset It was much worse I felt bad for the accuser. It was bad enough that a man has been sent to jail for offering to kiil kill her.

When Mark Sanchez, freshman quarterback for USC’s football team was handcuffed and arrested, I wondered if a perp walk was really necessary. “Poor guy, ” I thought, that image is going to be beamed all over the news services and here is this eighteen year old kid who’ll be saddled with it for the rest of his life.

As I got into my car one evening and turned on sports radio, I learned

A few days after the Los Angeles Lakers had taken a three to one lead over the Phoenix Suns in their NBA first round playoff series, I got into my car and turned on sports radio. My heart sank as I heard that Kwame Brown, the Lakers’ young starting center who’d been a key part of their late season surge, was under suspicion for a sexual assault that allegedly happened the night of the overtime (?) victory that put them ahead three to one. At least he didn’t have to At least he wasn’t subject to a perp walk. And of oc course I thought, why did Sanchez have to be hadncuff handcuffed and carted off if Brown didn’t?

My heart sank because I figured that the sexual assault investigation would have was the end of the series. How could a sensitive young man, fragile you could even say – not a good thing for an athlete by the way. How could a sensitive young man – sensitive might be good for relationship material but not for an NBA player by the way, Brown had had problems at on his previous team because he was sensitive to criticism – how would he be able to play effectively in the playoffs with that hanging over his head? He didn’t play very well from then on, the Lakers lost in seven games – making Phoenix only the eleventh (?) team to ever come back from 1-3 and win a seven game series – but none of the other Lakers played well either.

I’ve looked now and then but I can’t find any information about the Sanchez sexual assault charge except that it’s still under investigation. As far as the charges against Brown, I can’t find any information about them at all.

The rape case against the Duke lacrosse players ignited a lot of discussion and hullabaloo(yuck) because it highlighted tensions between the poorer University of Western (?) Carolina that the accuser attended and the much richer, whiter Duke population. That was added to(?) by the fact that lacrosse, though it is growing by leaps and bounds, is still largely a sport at prep schools and the lacrosse players came from wealthy families and the players had a history of arrests for such things as underage drinking.

The lacrosse team’s season was canceled for the rest of the season, it was one of the top teams in the country, and Mr. Nifong went onto to win his election after giving forty (?) press conferences about the charges against the Duke players. That feeling that had been growing only got worse when the DNA tests on the team members came back negative. And a little worse, or, at the very least, puzzled when three of the players were indicted after the DNA tests came back negative.

The first thing that came to mind was the young prosecutor in Eagle County (?) giving a press conference in which he was explaining why the charges against Bryant were being dropped. The accuser was not willing to testify after all. The young district attorney looked for all the world like someone in over his head.

Bryant didn’t help his case in the least. He spoke for a long time with police officers when they came and talked to him the night of the alleged assault. The officer recorded the conversation. On the tape you can hear Bryant ask if there is any way he can make the charges go away and outs his teammate, Shaquille O’Neal for paying one million dollars to a woman to keep quiet about a sexual encounter. O’Neal is one of the most popular players in the NBA among other NBA players. Bryant is, shall we way, a loner. That was bad enough, by the way, what is Bryant’s problem – isn’t everyone in the NBA told to call a lawyer immediately???? – but Bryant has always been adamant that he is a religious, faithful husband and here he was explaining a forceful sexual move that he often used on a woman he often had sex with who was not his wife.

No one would dare say that athletes, even an athlete like Bryant. Bryant was a willful, selfish, hard-to-coach athlete but his social behavior had been impeccable.

My own opinion is that Bryant had forceful sex without reading the S&M 101 manual. You do not, under any circumstances, apply a forceful move without prior agreement. In the middle of the sex act is way too late. My friend Barbara is a lawyer. Her take on the Bryant sexual assault case was that there should be degrees of sexual assault just as there are degrees of murder. Bryant could have been tried under a lesser degree of assault and the implications would not have been as broad. The legal punishments would not have been as severe and the accuser may not have been subject to so much harrassment.

That feeling was already there when the accuser in the Bryant case filed a civil case against Bryant before the criminal case begun making her a sure target for those who said she was in it for the money.

So far, there have been no convictions in any of these cases. The Duke players have not yet come to trial.

This is all very difficult for me. I was a victim of sexual assault. As I was looking for the doorbell one night in a Boston University brownstone in which the hall light was out, I turned around the find a rather large man standing between me and the door. He held up a large hunting knife. “This is it, ”I thought, “my live is over.” He unzipped his pants and rubbed up against me, I wonder if all sexual assaulters have a hard time getting it up, and I managed to gather myself quickly enough to pretend to have an attack of asthma. He waved his hand as if to say, “It’s o.k., I’m leaving, don’t do that….” and walked out the door.

He was later arrested for returning the scene of a crime. It turns out that he was a Marielito, one of the many people herded onto boats are released from Cuba by Castro during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Evidently Castro used the opportunity to get rid of some undesirables.

Even before I got over the shock I felt bad for the guy. He clearly just wanted to be back in an institution, why else would he go back to the scene of a crime, and when they sentenced him to jail for the rape, I wondered why he wasn’t in an institution for the insane. They say that victims of crime often feel that they brought it on themselves and here is the deepest divide I experience when I hear that another athlete has been arrested for sexual assault and I wait for yet another charge to dissolve under investigation: I should have felt enraged at the guy but I felt bad for him. That was my version of feeling that I brought it on myself.

Victims of assault should not feel that way. They do feel that way because they get a humongous amount of shit when they bring charges against someone and so did the accuser in the Bryant case. There still needs to be a shift in this country so that a victim of sexual assault (picked up Sande’s cousin, here mother did not want her to pursue charges – the rapist(?) spoke to her mother on the phone…..anyway, the fact that she was doing drugs doesn’t mean that it was o.k. for him to force her to have sex. Poor woman, she got back to my house and called up her boyfriend who immediately broke up with her.)

I wondered if it was really necessary to handcuff Mark Sanchez and put him through the perp walk – an image that would make it’s way into newspapers across the country. Wasn’t the sexual assault still under investigation? Was he a candidate for skipping town? Not likely. You could say, understandably, athlete’s don’t deserve special priveleges. Anyone else would have been carted off in handcuffs. And anyway, athletes at times act as if they own the world.

But then you look at Kobe Bryant’s arrest for sexual assault. The usual procedure after sexual assault is to go to the local sheriff. In Eagle County, (don’t I have notes or something for this?), the police went directly to the prosecutor. …

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