Friday, December 12, 2008

The media and rape, part 2 (by Suzie)

       While searching for examples for the post below, I remembered this case, whose bad wording seemed to merit a separate post.
      A stranger raped a college student last year after a parade. The initial story in the St. Petersburg Times quotes a Tampa police spokeswoman:
Initially, police were unsure that a crime had been committed because the woman was so intoxicated, she said.
It appeared to be a case of date rape at first, she said, because "she had willingly brought him back to her dorm."
But after interviewing the victim and the witness the next day, detectives concluded it was a case of sexual battery.
          This hits the trifecta of rape myths. The follow-up story discusses whether the college should alert students about date rapes. If a man rapes a woman he knows, then he’s no threat to others … wait, a minute, that’s crazy. I understand that it makes some difference in security precautions if a rapist breaks into a building or finds another way to get in. But predators are predators.
         By the third paragraph, the reporter is trying to be fair by … blaming the victim.
Though some students expressed outrage that school officials didn't notify them immediately, others suggested that the victim brought trouble on herself by drinking too much, leaving her friends and allowing a stranger into her room.
           In the fifth paragraph, the reporter explains that the rapist “escorted” the drunken student back to her room and then raped her. Escorted? Good grief.