Friday, May 25, 2007

Not exactly rape is still not acceptable

Stories like this, about potential rape cases where it seems obvious that a truly despicable sexual assault occurred but the defendants are acquitted, or the DA declines to prosecute, tend to leave something important out. Maybe those baseball players didn't exactly commit rape against the victim, but it's absolutely clear that they did something vicious and inhuman. The law doesn't define reality, and not convicting is not at all the same thing as clearing a defendant of unacceptable, despicable behavior. When I see arguments splitting hairs over the legal definition of rape, I understand that it's an important question, but I have to wonder what kind of person would like to just slip past being guilty of rape.

It's so painful and frustrating and heartbreaking to hear these stories - I've heard so many. To know what's happened and know the viciousness with which rapists will continue to attack victims to escape responsibility for their actions. The only perverse, nihilistic way I've been able to come close to living with it is to know that even a conviction doesn't unrape a victim, and an acquittal can't erase the moral crimes of a guilty perpetrator. Our justice system has the capability of punishing for and deterring from crime, but even that is merely a consolation to the victimized.

I offer my deepest sympathy and support to the victims.

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