Friday, April 28, 2006

Duke's dilemma

I was just sitting here reading NEWSWEEK about the story of the two lacrosse players indicted for rape.

There seems to be two extremes in this case. Those that agree with the defense and are calling the questionable character of alleged victim into question. She is a black stripper claiming that two rich white college men raped her. She is after money, attention or whatnot. Why should she be trusted? These men already were apparantly popular atheletes that had women at their finger tips. Why rape her?

The other side seems to be that people are deeply upset and already comdemning the men accused. It seems that people are sick of the average rich college student and what they get away with. Assuming these men did in fact commit the crime. They have no consequences for their actions. They can have keggers on the front lawn, have casual sex, urinate and throw up in public places, and even (allegedly) rape strippers and have little to no consequence. People have had enough and they want these boys punished - harshly.

I lean myself more towards the latter opinion. I am a little sick of rich college living in a way that would get another person arrested. Public drunkedness is not cute when someone does it and it is certainly not cute when a pomped up, spoiled college brat is doing it. I'm not saying these men did it and I must admit that the victim comes from a lifestyle that seems less than trustworthy. But so, it seems, do the lacross players.


Nancy Williams said...

It's informative for this class, I believe, to listen to what consumers of our reporting have to say about it.

Here's a good example -- from NPR this morning. The people of Durham, NC, think both sides of this issue have suffered from the media coverage.

Media Reports Fail to Portray Real Durham
by Minnie Forte

Morning Edition, April 28, 2006 · Commentator Minnie Forte is a member of the Durham school board, and an instructor at North Carolina Central University. Now that her town is in the spotlight, she says its true colors don't always show through in media reports.

You can listen to the story from this link.

Kat said...

You have some very strong opinions on this. I agree to an extent, but for different reasons. I don't care about the rich, white college guys who think they can get away with everything. To me, this is an example of the reasons so many incidents of rape go unreported. I don't have statistics, but I have heard it said in sociology classes, by police officers, and counselors, that one of the main reasons rape is not reported is because the victim is afraid no one will believe them. People shake their heads in disbelief when they hear that fact, but look at this case... its true and we all know it. Whether this woman is telling the truth or not, I wonder if the treatment she is receiving is going to make someone else afriad to speak up...meaning some other rich, white college boy might go free.

bekah said...

I think one of the main ethical issues involved in this case is the actual thing written about in the original post- the fact that so many people already have their minds made up about the case. To me, it looks like it could be very hard to have an impartial jury because of all the publicity about the case. People have enough prejudices about blacks, strippers, white college kids, rich people, etc., and now all the publicity is just giving more reason or backup for these stereotypes.

Another ethical problem dealing with this case is the way the plaintiff identified her alleged rapists. NEWSWEEK said that in a normal criminal procedure, the accuser points out the pictures of who she believes did the crime from a series of pictures of people who both relate and have no relation to the crime at all. However, in the Duke case, the victim was shown pictures only of the white players on the Duke lacrosse team (she said her violators were white). She had no option but to choose players from the team. Although the party was at a house where people other than players were, the picture line-up forced her to accuse the players and no one else. I definitely think this practice is unethical- the way the alleged victim should pick out pictures should be no different in this case from any other.

Either way, when the stripper went to the hospital the night of the alleged rape, the hospital confirmed that there were signs of rape. But even if she was raped, there is also the possibility that she was drugged- the other stripper said the "raped" stripper had consumed part of her drink before spilling and then drank all of the second stripper's drink. If the drinks were drugged, the plaintiff may not have seen the faces of her rapists clearly, whether or not she claims that she's 100% positive or not.

tyandnan said...

Rape is definately an ugly thing, and making an accusation is a serious thing. Weather or not the person was actually raped by these individuals seems to almost have been swallowed up in this story by the other issues involved, but to them is the most important part of the whold business. I don't think that the media should come out and say any names until there is proof of the whole ordeal, at least enough proof to satisfy the jury. When a decision has been made in court, then the names are fair game. But just consider the possibility that she was lying. Having that all publicized in newsweek before any strong evidence has been presented is a little risky. And suppose she was telling the truth, but incorrectly as has been stated. Why incriminate, in the publics mind, to possibly innocent white boys? If she was right, print away, but wait for more than just accusations. The incidence should be reported to some degree at present, but not with too much information on people who may or may not be innocent. I think that the media sometimes jumps the gun for a story, and I don't like it.