I am re-printing one of my first blog posts concerning the Duke Lacrosse case. This is originally from my Xanga site before I switched to Typepad.The views presented below were my first impressions I got from reading the copy of the police report on the Smoking Gun site.
After reading that report, alot of questions were popping up in my head. Things just didn't add up. The whole thing just didn't seem to make any sense. Many changes have occurred in the months since that post, yet my initial reaction - that gut feeling that tells you that something just isn't right, hasn't changed.
On the surface, the Duke Lacrosse case may appear similar to all the other gang rape situations on campuses across the country. The fraternities and privileged athletic teams, the arrogance, the sense of entitlement - all of which appear to be involved in campus rapes.
This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed and those who commit the crimes should be held accountable, no question.
However, looking below the surface, I believe there are too many differences in this particular case and too many things that just don't add up.
When I evaluate something, I ask myself, Is it logical? Does it follow a logical sequence? Does it make any sense? My answer now is the same as it was at the beginning: No. The whole thing just doesn't make any sense, especially considering the umteen number of versions we've all heard.
That's why I keep going back to the original police report. That's what the accuser claimed at that time - immediately after the alleged rape. To me, that's the most important report.
Of course, we later find out that she initially claimed there was a rape, then there wasn't a rape, then there was and the other dancer participated; then it was by 20 men, no five, no three, then four - or is that reversed? I don't know. It's gotten so confusing it's been hard to keep track.
Yes, granted, it's well known that victims of sexual assault may have some memory problems, due to the trauma they've suffered, and that's acceptable but C'mon now - there's a limit!
I've treated many patients of different sexes, ages, races, and socio-economic groups - From college kids to the elderly. And to be honest, I can't recall a single case - of those who were conscious - where my patient couldn't remember how many had personally violated him / her. On the SANE exam sheet, it listed in a row:
- Assailant #1 Known Name -------- Unknown Role in the assault
- Assailant #2 Known Name -------- Unknown Role in the assault
- Assailant #3 Known Name -------- Unknown Role in the assault
- Other assailants Known Name -------- Unknown Role in the assault
I can only go by my experience, but among my patients, most don't have any problems answering the above questions. They are usually pretty darned sure.
Another thing that set off warning bells was the
sequence of events as told by the accuser. It didn't make any sense to
me. It didn't sound logical. As soon as I read the accuser's claims of
being punched, kicked, and choked, especially once on the ground, I
immediately thought: domestic violence. Go ahead, type in the accuser's
words into Google and see what pops up.
That's because punching, hitting, kicking, and choking are classic signs of domestic and interpersonal violence. Yet, you rarely see these types of injuries in victims of rape alone, even of gang rape, unless you're dealing with the anger-retaliatory or sadistic type of offender or an abduction / rape situation. I've seen injuries from those kinds of offenders and there was never any question. They could be brutal.
Most rapists will only use the amount of force necessary to subdue and control the victim.
By all accounts, the accuser was already three sheets to the wind, along with some help from the Flexeril, so what would have been the purpose of putting a choke hold on her? Most fraternity type rapes don't involves physical (as opposed to genital) injuries. Why punch and beat and kick? Why not just wait until she passed out on her own? According to the reports, they wouldn't have had to wait that long. So why the overkill?
No one heard the commotion? No one saw her battered and bruised? Instead of having difficulty moving, she was able to just get up and leave? Does this sound logical? Does this make sense to anyone? Even if bruises don't show up right away, unless you're unconscious, if someone punches and beats and kicks you, you're still going to feel pain immediately!
Part II will be in the next post.
According to the news yesterday, the DNA report shows no evidence linked to any of the Duke lacrosse team players. Watching the Fox News coverage yesterday, I sensed the feeling of disbelief on the part of the reporters questioning defense attorneys representing lacrosse team members. How could this be? After all, the woman had claimed to be beaten, kicked, strangled and raped by three of the Lacrosse team's members, while performing at a frat house party March 13th.
Reports state she had bruises. She had five broken false fingernails she claimed she broke while fighting and scratching one of the accused. She had left her make up bag, cell phone, one shoe and her money behind as she supposedly fled the house. The police report stated that the woman's injuries were "consistent with a sexual assault". All the signs of a horrible attack just seemed to be lined right up.
Bruises and broken fingernails, while suspicious, do not necessarily equal rape. It was reported that she also had injuries consistent with sexual assault. But when and by whom? The accuser claimed that she and another woman, hired to be exotic dancers, left after just a few minutes because they became afraid for their safety. She said the men suddenly became excited and aggressive and started making racial slurs. What I can't figure out is why they went back, especially after having been threatened with a broomstick.
Instead, they decided to accept the apology of a young man and return inside. The accuser claims that shortly after going back inside, she and the other woman were separated. If they were so frightened for their safety, why didn't they stick together? How is it that the other woman just seems to have disappeared from the picture at this point?
According to the police report, the woman stated that "two males pulled her into the bathroom". The bedroom is where college gang rapes against females (which usually involve use of the date rape drugs) typically take place. The usual scenario is for a "target" female to be picked out, given a spiked drink and led to the bedroom, where she passes out. The men then take turns raping the unconscious female. Usually, there are no serious physical injuries. In fact, most gang rapes, which can be extremely violent, involve men against men.
In this case, however, the accuser stated that two males pulled her in the bathroom. Someone closed the door and said, " Sweetheart, you can't leave." She said she tried to leave but the three males held her arms and legs, beat, kicked, strangled and raped her during the assault. First there was two, now three. Where did the third guy come from?
If three strong males were already holding down her arms and legs, why would they need to beat, kick and throttle her? Why use a strangle hold when she was already down? Most rapists will usually use only the amount of force necessary to subdue the victim. Why continue to beat and kick her during the assault? This type of extreme violence is more typically seen in domestic violence assaults. Nothing has come out yet regarding exactly what injuries were noted in the medical record. I would expect to see a pattern of injuries which match the accuser's complaints. According to the police report, the accuser attempted to defend herself and broke five false fingernails. I would expect to see corresponding scratches on at least one of the accused.
Once the alleged assault was completed, what then? Did they just walk off and leave her lying there? I would expect her to have difficulty moving due to extreme pain from her injuries. Did everyone there just stand there and watch her leave, battered and bruised? What about the other woman? Did she just stand there and keep her mouth shut too?
The accuser later turned up at a grocery store. The security guard called the police at approximately 1:22am. Considering the extent of her injuries, I question why she didn't just go straight to the hospital. Two days later, the police searched the house and found her make up bag, cell phone and false fingernails still in the bathroom. It would seem that if someone had something to hide, they would have immediately cleaned up the place, in an attempt to hide evidence. Yet even the money was still there. Instead, the team members cooperated with the police, gave interviews without a lawyer and asked for a lie detector test.
On Monday, April 10, 2006, a news conference was held, in which it was announced that the lab report was back in. There was no DNA evidence linking any player to the alleged assault, according to the attorneys for the team. It's not uncommon not to find DNA evidence in one on one assaults. However, this case supposedly involves three men in an extremely agrressive assault. Locard's principle is applied in forensics. That principle states that there is a transfer of evidence no matter what we do or where we go. It is very difficult to see how such a horrific attack could result in no transfer of evidence. It will be interesting to see what the second set of DNA tests show.
Rape Exam Report
Sexual assault exams, done by the SANE nurses are very thorough. Multiple pages of detailed questions are asked of the accuser. Blood is drawn to check for alcohol and drug toxicity levels. The accuser is examined from head to toe for physical injuries and photographs are taken. Swabbings are taken of all areas where there may be suspected DNA. Once done, everything is sent to the crime lab.
The police report states that the medical report shows the accusser had signs and symptoms of a sexual assault. If the SANE nurse documented that, I don't doubt her interpretation. We have to go by the evidence presented and by what the accuser tells us. I don't question the nurse's word. However, as it stands right now, the pieces of the puzzle just don't seem to be fitting together. Perhaps when more information is available, certain aspects of this case will make more sense. Unlike many people, I'm not going to jump on the band wagon in vilifying these young men just yet. As any seeker of truth, I prefer to separate logic from emotion and fact from fiction. We will need to wait and see how it all plays out.
College Rape Facts:
- 80-85% of the college victims knew the perpetrator.
- Most victims of college rape are in the freshman or sophomore years. They are typically the same age as the rapist(s).
- 93% of rapes involve persons of the same race.
- 90% of all rapes are planned.
- Over 60% of college rapes occur in the victim's residence.
- Approximately 1 in 4 college women have been raped. Among survivors 18-29 years old, two-thirds had a prior relationship with the rapist.
- About 10% of college rapes occur in a fraternity house.
- Over 50% of college rapes involve use of alcohol or drugs.
- Approximately 3% of college rapes have shown positive for date rape drugs.
- Studies show: 45% of male college students believe it is acceptable to hold a woman down and force intercourse, under certain conditions, if they could get away with it.
- Less than 13% of college rapes are gang rapes.
- Most gang rapes are usually men against men.
- College gang rapes typically involve members of fraternities or athletic teams.
- Less than 20% of college rape victims sustain any serious physical injuries.
- Females are more likely to be physically injured by family members or close associates.