I was going to chime in on the weird fucked-up-edness of the whole Duke University rape case fiasco. But the SmackDog Chronicles already said pretty much what I wanted to say about it. So I’m just going to point you to his blog instead. The quotes that really struck me:
But what really saddens and angers me about this case is that it simply reimposes all the usual memes and biases about sexually proactive women and women who do sex work voluntarily; in effect, if you are overtly sexual and happen to be violated in any way, you can expect to have no support or sympathy from the general public and damn near little or no support from the “feminist community”âŠespecially if you happen to be a person of color, poor, or a sex worker or sex entertainer. And especially if your perpetrator just so happens to be either White or a person of privilege who has the full weight of his privilege behind him.
All of this makes my duty as a sex radical, a radical Black man, a feminist sympathizer/supporter, and a sex-positive activist that much tougherâŠbut also that much more important. If there ever was a time for a sex-positive Left perspective, it is now.
All this is reminding me of the Lynn Griffiths case. (I tried to find a link about it, but it happened in the pre-Internet days, and I couldn’t find anything on the Web.) Back in the ’90s in San Francisco, there was a very public, all-over-the-news incident of a lesbian named Lynn Griffiths who had been badly queer-bashed. The gay community and the gay press was all over it, in a “See, this is what homophobia looks like, this is what we have to be afraid of” way. And when the police started commenting that there were holes in her story, the community got irate about police insensitivity.
Except it turned out that there were holes in her story. Because it didn’t happen. She turned out to be kind of a nutjob — she injured herself, and claimed she was gay-bashed to get attention. When the holes in her story started getting impossible to ignore, she actually did the same thing a second time — and then, in the face of increasing anger and incredulity, fled the state.
Which just made it harder for everybody. Because it’s not as if queer-bashing didn’t — doesn’t — happen. But after this incident, everyone who really did get queer-bashed — or who fought against anti-gay violence — suddenly found themselves a little less credible.
And it’s not as if African-American women, and sex workers, and African-American sex workers, don’t get raped by privileged white guys. But now the ones who do are going to have a much harder time of it. There are thousands of times that this happens, and it never makes the papers — but this is the case that people are going to remember.