I was talking about the Kobe Bryant case with my mother this morning and while she claimed the alleged victim was looking for a payday, a common consensus in the black community as far as I can tell, the story seemed all too familiar. It came up when people were talking about his marketability if he's not convicted. I think if he's innocent, his image will encourage people to let it all slide.
I don't know, honestly, if he's guilty of rape, but if the prosecution can't claim she said no and the judge says the case is weak, a conviction is unlikely.
But that isn't what bothers me about this. Because it seems like an all too familiar story. College age girl sleeps with guy and he disposes of her like garbage. MTV's Fraternity Life had an episode where a guy pretty much dumped a girl who she thought he was dating seriously. She went a little psycho, following him around, trying to get into his room, and playing out some drama. Finally, the kid has her banned from the house.
Girls and women are constantly being defined by the ability to get and keep men in their lives. So much so, it's now common for women to forget sex partners over time. It's now commonly understood that single women have more sex than single men. In the movie Clerks, Dante, the store clerk is astonished when his girlfriend says she's only had three sex partners, but given 37 blowjobs. To Dante and his partner, that number went from 3 to 37 in lightning speed. Monica Lewinsky described her asignations with Bill Clinton in the same way. Few men agreed with that. Even in junior high school, when Dr. Phil asked the boys about the girls who were blowing them at parties, they uniformly called them sluts and hoes. One said "I could never introduce her to my mother. She's just someone you hook up with at parties."
Among adult females, you often hear excuses like "oh we went out for a while" or "we were friends". Men are not stupid. We know you fucked these guys. And in most cases, we don't care. After all, men have their secrets, but they rarely have to do with women. It's the non-women activities we'd like to forget, public urination, drunken escapades. Women seem to deal well with men who have multiple girlfriends, they deal less well with men who have exposed their ass in Yankee Stadium.
The alleged victim seems to fit a type you see in college a lot. A former cheerleader, she goes off to college and then is hit with fact that she's merely one pretty girl among many, and no matter how cute she is, it isn't going to be enough to get her over the hump. She's going to have to develop a personality and skills other than shopping at the Gap and batting her eyes. Now, this doesn't make her a bad person, evil or stupid. She's just taken to heart a bunch of messages about sex which we tell girls. Be pretty, be available to men, but not too available. Be attractive to women, have sex with them, but don't take that too seriously or you'll be a dyke. You always have to orgasm and if not, something is wrong with you. You don't need men, but you better be able to get them.
Even educated, intelligent women get hit with these messages and sometimes come ourt scrambled. Teenage girls are bait for boys who have a much simplier goal. Just get laid. As my mysoginist friend said about his buudy's latest girlfriend, "what relationship? She's just another semen recepticle.". He tnen told her to perform a certain sex act as a joke, which she did. The irony, of course, is that he's faithful and repsectful to his girlfriend. But the point is that men can be incredibly cold towards women once ardor wanes or she starts making demands on his time.
I do not know what the alleged victim was thinking when she chased a married man. Maybe she wanted an adventure, or had dreams of being his mistress and living in luxury or she found him attractive and thought he would treat her better than the local boys did. Whatever she thought, her experience with Bryant was bad. Whether he raped her, and the judge, and I suspect the prosecutor, think the evidence is weak , or not, this is a girl who's having a series of bad relationships with men. When you go for a rape test and another man's semen is in your panties, you've just created reasonable doubt.
It is really easy to call her a money grubbing whore who entrapped him, and people are doing so all over the black community. You hear it on radio all the time. But I don't think it's that simple or pat. I think she feels violated. Her claims could be spiteful, but I doubt it. I think it's about perception. She feels used and violated and he treated her the way many men, especially rich, famous men treat women, as disposable. So even if legally, especially when the prosecution can't claim she said no or acted to get away, he might not have raped her, she was violated. She did something that she regrets and now can't really make right. This happens on college campuses all the time. The guys want to get laid, the girls think something else is going on, and at the end of the day, the girl is used and disposed of like a condom.
We create these contrary sexual expectations: you must have a partner, and be sexually available, and then wonder why things go wrong and why so many people are unhappy. Men benefit from this, getting to pick and choose committment while still having sex, yet the magazines and the talk shows why women don't get married. Well, if you tell people that they need to both have lots of sex and find a soulmate, weird things happen. It's as if perfection is a duopoly of sexual license and sexual committment and nobody's perfect.
posted by Steve @ 5:59:00 PM