Once again, survivors of sexual assault may find the themes of this post upsetting.
It's turning into Stanford Rapist Week here on "The Historical House", showing that I too have been sucked in by the Greek Tragedy aspect of it all. However, the iconic character who has now caught my attention is that of the woman who defends a man who has done the indefensible and pays a heavy price.
The rape survivor had a lot to lose, and it was stolen from her. Now the rapist's childhood friend has lost her band Good English their gigs. That is to say, people found out what she wrote to the judge, and they are taking it out on her band.
Her bandmates are also her sisters. There are a lot of sisters suffering collateral damage in this story. The sister of the rape survivor, the sister of the rapist, the sisters of the rapist's character reference ...
I feel sorry for Leslie Rasmussen and even more sorry for her sisters. Did she have any idea that the letter she wrote to the judge pleading for her friend would be made public? Was she only 19 when she wrote it? Yes, what she wrote about rape was stupid, but no more stupid than Whoopi Goldberg's "rape rape" remark (she was in her fifties), and WG still has a showbiz career. So does Roman Polanski and a host of his defenders. I don't think Martin Scorsese should be forced to stop making films, and I don't want Good English to be forced to stop making music.
The idea that a budding female artist has blown her chances to perform and create because she wrote a letter defending a friend really bothers me. When I was 19, I had a male friend or two who really didn't deserve my friendship. I went to great lengths to help one write his essays, and I spent a lot of hard-earned money funding the meals of the other, the leader of our gang. It was just so cool to be around boys, you know? Good Catholic Boys who didn't pressure me for anything----except my help, my money and my support in their battles and causes. I vaguely seem to recall other boys, quieter boys, telling me I shouldn't be so generous, but did I listen? No. Loud, strong-minded women can be suckers, too.
So I feel very sympathetic to Leslie Rasmussen even though her character reference for her friend included a stupid lecture on what rape is and who rapists are. If one were brave, one would argue that Rasmussen did America a favour by illustrating the dumb ideas about rape the Stanford Rapist and his high school friends grew up with. (I note she said she could think of other people they knew in high school who might have ended up in Brock's situation.)
Calling a 20 year old girl a "rape apologist" for a letter in which she tried to convince a judge her friend wasn't capable of rape and then blackballing her band strikes me as getting close to lynch mob behaviour. She thought her friend was incapable of rape, and she was wrong. That shouldn't wreck her life. She didn't hurt the rape survivor. The rapist hurt the rape survivor. If he deserves six years in the state pen, then he should get six years in the state men. The public shouldn't take out their righteous indignation on a woman.
Update: Rasmussen's statement, which has been removed from Facebook. That's too bad, as it is necessary corrective to her letter to the judge.