Thursday, April 27, 2006

On the subject of multiple rape reports

Now that the news is out that one of the Duke lacrosse team accusers made a similar allegation ten years ago (saying she had been raped by three men was she was fourteen), bloggers are rushing to comment that her credibility is now very much in question.

I do not know whether the lacrosse team members are innocent or guilty; that is for a jury to decide. But I do know a thing or two about rape and sexual assault, and a woman making more than one claim of being raped by a group of men is not unusual. Perhaps this woman is not telling the truth now or was not telling the truth then. Perhaps she was just unlucky enough to be raped twice. But a more likely scenario involves the syndrome of childhood sex abuse, especially incest.

Little girls who are raped by adults, especially adult family members (who are supposed to be protecting them) develop all kinds of problems. Their sense of personal boundaries collapses, and they are likely to do inappropriate things for the rest of their lives if there is no intervention. In an incest home, people tend to read each other's mail, enter rooms without knocking, and say things with adult content to children and adolescents.

Once their own boundaries have been violated in these ways and in the ultimate way--through sexual assault and rape--they tend to lose any sense of personal and social boundaries, which means that they are frequently in the wrong place at the wrong time.

They also become unconsciously seductive, and sex offenders easily find them. And they frequently believe they have no use in society other than as sexual objects.

Many of these girls, when they enter adolescence and adulthood, become the victims of multiple rapes. I do not know anything about the Duke lacrosse accuser, but she could easily fit this category. My point is that claiming to have been gang-raped more than once is not at all unbelievable. And no matter how poor a woman's boundaries may be, or how programmed she may be to be a sexual assault victim, rape is still rape.


There seems to be more time spent online discussing the psychopathology of the accuser versus that of the two young men.

By Anonymous April, at 12:42 AM  

I agree, Rape is rape. If they raped her, then they should pay.

By Blogger zelda1, at 5:53 AM  

April, I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case, I thought it was necessary to say something about this syndrome precisely because of the discussions I saw about the accuser on the Web. Many of them, I should add, from liberal sources. There is a world of difference between being a liar (her assumed psychopathology) and being a lifelong victim of abuse.

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