The scope of this foul ‘De Anza rape allegations case’ initially caused my obstreperal lobe to throw both its claws in the air, exclaim “That’s it!“, bundle a few provisions in a bindle, and take to the rails. This morning, unexpectedly, it came shuffling back, bruised but vociferant, clutching in its tentacles a slew of reports from San Jose MercuryNews.com. I’ve spent the last hour reviewing these, with increasing nausea.
By now you will have heard a summary of the case: in San Jose, California, at a house party on March 3 of this year, three men gang-raped a comatose teenager while ten jolly spectators whooped it up on the sidelines. On May 21, Santa Clara County DA Dolores Carr astonished the victim, the sheriff’s department, and right-thinking humans everywhere when she dismissed all charges because of ‘insufficient evidence.’
Outcry, both local and blogular, has ensued.
The media lump together the assault and its concomitant juridical circus under the moniker ‘the De Anza case’ because two of the rapists were members of the (San Jose, California) De Anza Community College baseball team. This factoid is significant because the media know a fortuitously sordid sequel to the popular ‘Duke lacrosse scandal’ when they see one, and can’t leave the sports angle alone. It is also significant because DA Dolores Carr clearly had no wish to toddle down the same thorny path as her College Sports Rape Scandal counterpart in Durham NC, old Mike Nifong, whose hubris-y personal ambitions got him busted for concealing evidence favorable to the Duke rapists.
MercuryNews reports are rife with male-dominant vernacular, both from quoted sources and in the reportage itself. This language reveals that, in the popular imagination, in adjudication of rape cases, and in media culture, there flourishes a truly despicable, antifeminist, misogynist zeitgeist. The prominent themes are alcohol-and-consent, the aforementioned irrelevant circumstance that the rapists were college athletes, and the bizarre idea that ‘insufficient evidence’ is now the equivalent of ‘it never happened.’
For your blaming convenience, here’s an overview of the case, compiled exclusively from MercuryNews articles, and viewed through Twisty-colored glasses.
March 4: Gang-rape occurs; spectators cheer; victim is taken to hospital by women from the party. Police captain Steve Angus asserts that “some sort of sexual assault occurred,” but the rape is always described as “alleged”; as we now know, if there is ‘insufficient evidence,’ suddenly there was no assault. This magical thinking omits to consider, you know, facts, as well as the views of the women who took the victim to the hospital after she’d been brutalized (they were never asked to testify before the grand jury), not to mention the victim herself.
Apparently it’s perfectly normal for incapacitated teenage girls to blithely service multiple baseball players while a shitfaced mob yuks it up. Says young eyewitness Megan Keefhaver, whose boyfriend just happens to be a De Anza baseball player, “The people in the room obviously were cheering the guys on or something like that. But I didn’t think of it as a rape situation.” Because she’s from the moon.
March 17: MercuryNews runs a story entirely devoted to the sorrowful heartbreak so unfairly inflicted on — yup, you called it — the baseball team. De Anza has suspended eight players for what reporter Elliot Almond calls ‘questionable behavior’ ; the team is suffering sorely as a result of the inconvenient rape. Laments coach Scott Hertler, “Mentally, none of us are sleeping great. We’re probably not eating right because we just don’t feel good.” He regrets that they didn’t teach him how to deal with rape-based morale-slippage in “coaching school.”
But the “team’s resilience” shines through, and they win the big game! Yay team!
Way to romanticize, via our dudely young athletes, those lofty all-American ideals of character, brotherhood and sportsmanship with which male college sports teams are commonly thought to be imbued.
They aren’t supposed to rape and pillage, though, before they turn pro.
March 19: 20-year-old Steve Rebagliati, host of the rape party and one of the ‘alleged’ rapists, executes a felony hit-and-run just hours before raping the teenager. This tidbit will disappear like magic from MercuryNews reports, but Rebagliati, whose family owns the rape house, will become the Face of the innocent baseball team.
April 9: A second woman comes forward. It turns out that she was raped by the same baseball team in the same house three months earlier. They’d given her shots of tequila and matched her with shots of beer. What sportsmanship!
Like the hit-and-run mentioned above, this allegation vanishes into the mist.
May 16: After testifying before the grand jury, the chivalrous sportsman MercuryNews calls “Freshman pitcher Ryan Kanzaki” is overheard in the hall gleefully reporting to his family that he has been granted immunity. MercuryNews implies that this human stain Kanzaki was one of the cheering crowd urging his teammates on to feats of drunken brutality. Of course! His all-American sportsmanlike team spirit naturally makes him reluctant to rat out his fellow criminals.
Two other uncharged suspects are described in terms of their wholesome sportiness: “sophomore Chris Skinner, an infielder,” and “Spencer Maltbie, who doubles as a pitcher and infielder.” Causing my obstreperal lobe to throb uncomfortably, Maltbie apparently believes that because he doesn’t “drink or smoke” he is above suspicion.
May 22: DA Dolores Carr issues brief statement re: the ‘insufficient evidence.” Mistaking this for vindication, suspect Rebagliati relates his sorrowful tale of woe at having been a “scapegoat.” A reporter actually asks what he would say to the victim if he had the chance. He would, in fact, take the opportunity to lecture the lying slut — because let’s face it; if there was no rape, but she did a baseball team, she has to be a lying slut — on the importance of developing character: “I’d ask her why she chose to put us and herself through so much. My only thought is I hope that she learned a lot, as well as about herself, in the last two months.”
In case you were wondering, he can sleep at night, knowing that “as a team, [we] are innocent and free to live normally again.”
There’s no interviewing the victim, who of course will never be “free to live normally” again, so MercuryNews reports that she’s “disappointed,” but that heavy drinking makes prosecuting sexual assaults “difficult.”
The real reason that prosecuting sexual assaults is difficult — i.e. our culture’s fucking endemic misogyny — is not mentioned.
May 21 In an opinion piece, Scott Herhold demands answers! He wants to know whether the cops flubbed the investigation, sure, but he won’t be satisfied until there has been a thorough and public recap of the actual rape. Presumably this is so he and all the other CSI-poisoned sexperts out there can judge for themselves whether or not the baseball team pronged the victim en masse because they are rapists, or because the drunken little slut just really likes “sex.” He wants details!
What harm could it do? The case isn’t just about a rape victim, he says. It’s “about how our elected law enforcement officials do their job” (no doubt the victim would consider it just peachy if MercuryNews published a play-by-play of her rape, but alas, Herhold can’t ask her to confirm; she’s already moved away to escape the horror and humiliation). And besides, he says, who’s to say there isn’t a “problem with the credibility of the victim herself?” Everybody knows that 17-year-old girls constantly rush around to hospitals and make shit up about how they were gang-raped by baseball teams.
May 22: “Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Tuesday she believes that ‘individuals got away with sexual assault’ at a party attended by members of the De Anza College baseball team, and that ‘at some point, someone needs to speak up for the victim.’” Well, duh.
May 23: This MercuryNews report characterizes the victim as “the girl” and her rape as a “controversy.” Also, readers who are anxious with concern for DA Dolores Carr’s conscience can rest easy. Quoth Carr, “I’m at peace with my decision.”
And once again, the right of mobs of drunken male athletes to relieve their incontinence in semi-conscious teen receptacles has been upheld by law enforcement. This sickening and egregious miscarriage of justice, my young onions, is precisely what the Twisty Consent? Schmonsent! Protocol would address.