Saturday, April 20, 2013

New low: Jezebel writer suggests keeping an open mind about a rape investigation is 'rape apology'

Jezebel's Katie J.M. Baker suggests that keeping an open mind about a rape claim is "rape apology." Here is how she starts her article:
What do you do with an untapped penchant for Clipart and rape apologia? Cover Rehtaeh Parsons' neighborhood with Pepto-Bismol pink posters proclaiming: "Speak the truth. There’s two sides to every story. Listen before you judge. The truth will come out. Stay strong and support the boys."
Rehtaeh Parsons is the teenager who was taken off life support after she tried to take her own life, 17 months after online distribution of photos showing her allegedly being gang raped while intoxicated. It is a tragic story that raises questions about the accused boys' possible criminal responsibility and the police department's handling of the matter. The case is being investigated, likely due to the public outcry.

Baker proceeds to quote the deceased girl's mother's Facebook post that suggests the boys are guilty. While it is perfectly understandable that persons who know and love the deceased girl will continue to support her, it is equally understandable that persons who know and love the accused boys will continue to support them. Baker seems to think the latter is unacceptable.

This site denounces the de rigueur rush-to-judgment that convicts innocents of heinous offenses in the court of public opinion; we are equally adamant in our denunciation of the rush to judgment that assumes an accuser lied about rape. Just yesterday, our site highlighted a story about two women who were falsely accused of making false rape claims.

An accusation is not a proven rape, and a suicide is not necessarily evidence that a rape occurred. There are two sides to this story, and it is, indeed, tragic that the deceased girl is not here to tell hers. The bottom line is that the girl should not be deemed a "slut," the boys should not be deemed "rapists," and trial-by-Jezebel is anathema to the due process rights cherished by a free people. It is hoped that the police will conduct a proper and fair investigation. Until that investigation is concluded, all of us would do well to withhold our uninformed opinions.

It would be difficult to fathom a more irresponsible assertion than the "rape apology" tag that Katie J.M. Baker lobs at people who dare to suggest there are two sides to a rape accusation. Baker's smear is an attempt to brand teen boys as rapists by reason of an accusation. That is disgraceful even for a partisan site like Jezebel.