Letter to the Editor: Writer’s faux authority lacks sensibility

I was slightly impressed with the opening paragraph of Justin Rebello’s commentary about the Duke University rape scandal (“Rape at Duke shouldn’t be a race issue,” April 12). Rebello was able to create a decent summary of where things stood at the time of publication.

However, every word that followed cannot be understood as more than the misguided mumblings of some rich, white, upper-middle-class, overly-liberal-because-my-professor-told-me-so hypocrite. I applaud his attempt at discussing the complex, centuries-old dilemma that is rape with such fervor, but at the same time, I am disgusted about what he actually said.

The alleged incident has implications about race and social status that are to be sorted out and hopefully rectified by the campus and the community that surrounds Duke University. These same issues of social hierarchy, class and race lines face our very own university each day. And while I understood that the meandering point of his commentary was to separate these issues from the issue that rape can be a tool for woman to make money, I am appalled that he would ever make the generalized and lofty claim that women should use common sense in order to prevent such a “despicable crime and sadly one of the certain evils of our society.” His words mark a false inevitability of the institution of rape, which in turn propagates the occurrence of rape.

I agree that the most pressing issue at hand with regard to this case is whether or not this woman was raped. But he himself noted that the positions of the alleged accused and the alleged victim place them in entirely different positions of power. How much courage would it take for a poor young mother of two to speak out against an entire team of athletes that live as demi-gods on a campus known for its heavy sports recruiting? The bureaucracy that financially supports their education, their athletic careers and their partying ways is larger than anything this woman has ever touched or seen.

Whether one includes the word “black” in the description of this woman or not, the matter remains the same; the marginalized are always asked to prove their word before it is taken seriously. How will this woman be paid for her claims? Going to trial and using the justice system we have created to protect a woman in this position is the only option she has.

When this is all said and done, when the commentaries have been written, the wrists have been slapped and everyone is still in doubt about whether or not it actually happened, Rebello will still be sitting in his position of common sense that saves him from being raped. Or wait, is that position of common sense a big penis in your pants? See, sometimes I get them confused.

I absolutely support a full investigation of this woman’s claims. It is not my position in society to debate or decide the innocence and/or guilt of the accused. Those lacrosse players are not any more implicated because of their place in society than this woman is innocent due to her own station in life. I hope with all I have that this woman was not raped, that this heinous allegation of the current state of college campuses and education is merely a ploy to get rich quick. However, for every woman who has been raped and accused of lying about it, I hope this will serve as a point of discussion for parents, administration and those in power at the national level that something larger is brewing and it has to do with those who remain silenced in the margins.

Rebello was right in his claim that “Rape at Duke shouldn’t be a race issue,” because it should be so much bigger than that. It is an issue at the heart of how we treat people and who is going to stand by and let these “issues,” as he calls them, occur. As far as his letter, he should be ashamed of himself for writing with what parades itself as frank authority when in actuality it is nothing more than a peep show of his manhood acting as his brain. How dare he.

P.S. Where is this woman supposed to feel safer to perform? In a seedy bar until all hours of the night where any number of sexual predators can lurk, or one of the most academically prestigious and civilized universities where its student athletes are considered to be some of the best in the world? Common sense should be able to answer that one for him.

– Erin Simmons is a junior English major.

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