May 12, 2008

“Insufficient evidence” for De Anza rape case to proceed

Posted in news, rape and sexual violence, social justice, victim-blaming, WTF at 11:30 am by LB

*trigger warning*

This incident took place in March 2007. 3 female soccer players found an unconscious woman girl (she was 17) being gang raped in a room by a group of 9 male basketball players. When they tried to enter the room, the door was repeatedly shut on them by a guy all three were able to later identify. Originally, the DA’s office said they weren’t bringing charges at all. That changed after public outcry, but this past Tuesday the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the grand jury came back saying there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with the case.

Some key problems with this case:

  • The three females who witnessed the rape were never called to testify in front of the grand jury.
  • The victim was said to have “no memory of the incident” but this was because she was unconscious!! Read the details from the softball players here.
  • The article states that:

“were unable to provide consistent, useful identifications of the persons they observed engaging in sexual contact with Jane Doe,” authorities said. […] Grolle and Chief Elk, though, said all three former soccer players could identify a young man who held the door shut and repeatedly refused them entry into the room after they had spotted the alleged victim lying on a mattress surrounded by a group of men. One of the men was forcing the 17-year-old to orally copulate him, the two women said.

  • Apparently the guy preventing the 3 women from rescuing the victim and stopping the rape isn’t guilty of anything. And that’s bullshit. As one attorney said,

“Anyone who holds the door closed while other men commit rape is equally liable for that rape,” Hammer said. “There’s always a weak link – perhaps the guy holding the door. With enough pressure, somebody can be forced to say what happened.”

Even further, the women claim, “[He said] ‘Mind your own business; she wants to be in here’ and slams the door,” says Grolle. Doesn’t sound to me like he didn’t know what was going on.

  • And three of the guys were given immunity…but no testimony against the others?

It’s hard enough getting evidence in a rape case. This one had 3 witnesses, who can positively identify one of the group, who took the victim to the hospital where evidence was collected (including testing that determined that the vomit in the victim’s mouth was not her own). And there’s not enough evidence to proceed?! And as Cara at The Curvature writes:

In short, rape apologism shifts. When it’s a “date rape” people will say “how do we know she didn’t consent? It’s not like she’s covered in bruises.” When she’s covered in bruises, the victim in question will simply “like it rough.” When the woman is unconscious and therefore can’t just “like it rough,” she will be accused of misidentifying her attacker, or people will argue “well, she didn’t say no.” When she does say no, it’s “why didn’t she fight? He didn’t have a weapon.” When she did fight back or he did have a weapon, it’s “well there’s no DNA evidence.” When there’s DNA evidence, it’s “well he probably did it, but it’s not like there were any witnesses…” When there are witnesses, three of them in fact, who are willing and eager to testify? When there are witnesses, they just won’t be allowed up on the fucking stand

And as one of the women who found the victim said:

“It makes us think that no girl is ever going to want to come forward and say they were violated as this girl was, because they’re going to think it doesn’t even matter,” says Chief Elk. “But it does.”


This makes me feel nauseous and pissed, so I’m just going to leave it at that and link to Cara’s post about it at The Curvature.

Also, check out this post on Objectify This! about the lack of rape convictions in the UK and US, where this disturbing chart from Rape Crisis Scotland is posted:

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