Monday, August 31, 2009

Double standard: the media attention given to Jaycee Lee Dugard contrasted with that given to Dwayne Dail

By now, everyone has heard the ghastly story of Jaycee Lee Dugard's 18 year captivity by a convicted sexual predator.

But how many people have ever heard of Dwayne Dail? Did Dwayne Dail's story ever assume national prominence? Mr. Dail was wrongly incarcerated for -- you guessed it -- 18 years, for an alleged rape he didn't commit. While in prison, he was subjected to almost unspeakable atrocities. Among other things, he was repeatedly victimized by the very crime for which he was incarcerated but did not commit.

You see, Mr. Dail was convicted and sentenced to two life sentences plus 18 years for good measure all because a girl claimed he looked like the man who supposedly raped her. That's right: a 12-year-old girl pointed the finger of guilt at Dwayne Dail, and that was enough to destroy him.

I'll bet that if it weren't for this blog, most of you never would have heard about Dwayne Dail.

Other men have served even longer sentences for rapes they didn't commit. While their releases from captivity are reported by the news media, there is precisely zero national fascination with their ordeals, and few people pay any attention to their stories.

The nation is rightfully outraged about Ms. Dugard's captivity. Yet somehow we find a far more common sort of captivity, a captivity that is also atrocious, acceptable. It's the captivity that results when alleged rape victims use the state apparatus to destroy the lives of innocent men and boys.