Monday, January 17, 2011

The absurd sex allegation against former ballplayer Lenny Dykstra

Yet another man best known for his skills on the baseball diamond is in the news for an alleged sex offense.  Former Mets and Phillies center-fielder Lenny Dykstra joins Mets pitcher Johan Santana and college hitting streak phenom Garrett Wittels, who've also been in the news the past few weeks, and who've been featured on this site. The Dykstra case, like the others, raises serious questions about our so-called "rape culture," and none of it is good for innocent men.

Dyksta was accused by his 41-year-old housekeeper of sexual assault, but prosecutors in California said there is not enough evidence to file charges. 

In fact, the allegation was an absurdity and, in important respects, a microcosm of everything wrong with our so-called "rape culture."  Dykstra may be no saint (who among us is?), but allowing this outrageous allegation even to be publicized does him a gross injustice.

Please note that the housekeeper's identity remains shielded in anonymity, the undeserved privilege of women who make unfounded or outright false sex accusations against presumptively innocent men.
According to Los Angeles County prosecutors, the housekeeper accused Dykstra of forcing her to perform oral sex while she was supposed to be cleaning his home on Saturdays.

Why do I say that this allegation is outrageous?  I merely report the actual allegation. The housekeeper told authorities she "needed the job and the money so she went along with the suspect's requests rather than lose her job."

Read it again, and let it sink in. 

The essence of sexual assault is the absence of consent for sexual contact. Consent for sexual contact requires an individual to be a willing participant in the act. The housekeeper's motivation for agreeing to sexual contact with Dykstra might have been a desire to keep her part-time job. Many women agree to have sex to satisfy men for any number of reasons that are not criminal, often to foster a long-term relationship with men. Many women agree to marry men to obtain financial security for themselves or their children.  The mere fact that many women who engage in sex are motivated by a desire to obtain benefits other than, or in addition to, a pleasurable sexual experience for themselves does not render such women unwilling participants in the sex act, nor does it turn the sex act into a sexual assault.  Such women are often every bit as, or more, willing to engage in the act as a woman who is motivated only by sexual gratification.

In this case, for example, Mr. Dykstra did not hold a gun to his housekeeper's head and force her to give him oral sex. Nor did he owe her a living. The question is simply whether she outwardly manifested a willingness to engage in the sex act, and all indications are that she did.

The housekeeper's allegation is a manifestation of an unfortunate culture that invites women to hurl injurious criminal accusations against men whenever a sex experience doesn't satisfy them for any number of reasons, with no repercussions or penalties.

In Dykstra's case, prosecutors say the woman reported the alleged incidents after Dykstra failed to make good on a $2,000 debt. Investigators said they found text messages the woman sent Dykstra asking for the money and requesting her job back. Dykstra told a reporter that the allegations were false and the woman was attempting to extort money so she could buy drugs. "If she was assaulted on Saturdays, then I'm a … ballerina dancer on Sundays," Dykstra said. "This is a maid. That's not even worth commenting on. Are you kidding me?"

News accounts here: and