Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The latest Duke rape case underscores that the infamous Duke lacrosse case was never really about the 'rape'

Have you been following the Duke rape case?

You say you don't know what I'm talking about? Hmm. Read this and ask yourself if it's not something you would expect to have heard about: "Frank Lombard, associate director of Duke University's Center for Health Policy, has been accused of molesting his adopted five-year-old African-American son and offering him up for sex with strangers on the Internet." Duke’s homosexual rape case elicits silence.

We must state at the outset that Professor Lombard is like every other person accused of rape discussed on this website: presumed innocent and entitled to his day in court. We will not presume his guilt here, and we write this post only to highlight an important truth about how we, as a society, view rape.

Mike Adams explains at Town Hall: "University administrator Lombard is accused of logging on to a chat room online and describing himself as a 'perv dad for fun.' The detective who wisely looked into the suspicious screen name says that Lombard admitted to molesting his own adopted son. All this was before allegedly inviting a stranger to travel to North Carolina from another state to statutorily rape his already-molested adopted son."

Now doesn't this allegation strike you as even more serious than the case that embroiled three young, white "privileged" Duke lacrosse players in a year-long media maelstrom over an alleged rape of a black stripper that never happened and that should have been dismissed almost immediately after the complaint was filed? Wouldn't you expect to see protests calling for Professor Lombard's castration, and multiple liberal arts professors signing a petition supporting the noble protesters, as happened with the lacrosse boys?

Why is there none of that here?

Could it be because, as Mike Adams notes, Prof. Lombard is gay? Could it be that Prof. Lombard's alleged act is not viewed as an exercise of hyper-masculine white male privilege and, therefore, is unworthy of our scorn?

"The Associate Press (AP) did not mention the fact that the five-year old offered up for molestation was black. Bringing that fact to light might be damaging to the political coalition that exists between blacks and gays. Nor did the AP mention that the adopted child is being raised by a homosexual couple. Bringing that fact to light might harm the gay adoption movement." Duke’s homosexual rape case elicits silence.

Isn't a small, defenseless boy deserving of our outrage every bit as much as an adult stripper? The fact that we are more willing to muster outrage for the latter than the former tells us boatloads about how we, as a people, view rape. Sadly, rape is more than just a crime in our culture; rape has become a rallying cry, a politicized symbol of oppression bigger than any crime. The outrage over it is has been channeled, and organized, and it's wielded to level perceived gender, race and class privilege.

The problem is that when rape is politicized, it is all too easy to lose sight of the fact that a real flesh-and-blood victim, who doesn't care if his or her rapist is gay, straight, rich or even female, has been subjected to a vile assault.

The problem is that when rape is politicized, it is all all too easy to presume guilt because the alleged rapist fits a "type" in the official rape metanarrative, as happened with the Duke lacrosse case, and as has happened throughout our history to countless minority men and boys.

The problem is that when rape is politicized, perpetuation of ideology becomes more important than eradicating rape. The persons doing the politicizing insist, for example, that women don't lie about rape when, in fact, they do, so that the problem of false accusations is permitted to fester. Every law enforcement official candidly admits that false accusations hurt real rape victims, yet the persons who control the public discourse about rape do nothing to stop the liars because any such effort would, by necessity, admit a crack in the armor of their ideology.

I am glad that Prof. Lombard has not been subjected to the scorn heaped upon the lacrosse players. I am glad there are no signs calling for his castration. He is entitled to his day in court and the presumption of innocence because he might just be innocent. But Prof. Lombard's case does pose a striking contrast to the lacrosse case, does it not? That contrast tells us much about our culture, and sadly, none of it is good.