Okay, here’s the thing. We all know that a University of Washington Men’s Basketball player is being investigated for rape. If you don’t know by now, you’ve been living on Mars. In fact, I bet most of you probably know the name of the player who’s being investigated. You can talk about it amongst yourselves, but no reputable media operation can so much as whisper it in print.
In the world of journalism, there are some things that just don’t slip. Real journalism, in fact, might be the last honest profession on earth. Because journalists keep secrets and protect information like Swiss banks. Think of all those sources and all those names as one big vagina. And think of your friendly neighborhood journalist as the chastity belt surrounding that vagina, to which there is no key. That sh*t’s on lock. And it’s not getting out.
You know, though. You know, I know, we all know. We all know the guy who’s being investigated and we can’t discuss it. Because he hasn’t been charged with anything yet. And he may never be charged. Right now, this is all alleged activity. Alleged. Don’t you just love that word? It’s the ultimate asterisk.
“No, no, no, no…you didn’t catch me looking at porn. You allegedly caught me looking at porn. That would never hold up in a court of law.”
We know that (allegedly) this particular basketball player (allegedly) had some sexual interaction with a 16-year-old girl who he (allegedly) met via Facebook and (allegedly) invited over to his place of residence. After the (alleged) sexual interaction went down, the (alleged) victim came to the conclusion that what had (allegedly) occurred was not right and then involved the police and the media in the matter. This is what we know. Allegedly.
Talking about this sort of thing is considered taboo. But we need to talk about it. Because if we don’t talk about it, then someone else controls the story (like your rival’s student section, for example).
Fact is, what occurred on this night is being presented to us as illegal activity, regardless of what your opinions on the matter may be. Clearly, the elder party is in the wrong. It’s cut and dry. The law says it’s wrong, so it’s wrong. Simple as that.
This isn’t a one-way street, however. While the law may indict one person and protect the other, both parties are to blame in some respect for what occurred. Let’s review the (alleged) relationship for a minute.
Did the girl know what she was doing? I would imagine that yes, she did.
Was she forced to go to this athlete’s home and hang out with him? I would wager that no, she was not.
Did the girl know the consequences of what she was doing? Possibly, and I would argue likely.
Did the athlete know what he was doing? Most likely, yes.
Did the athlete know the consequences of what he was doing? I would hope so, but perhaps not.
I would imagine that if the athlete in question knew what was about to happen after this girl left his home, he would never have invited her in in the first place. I think we can all agree on that.
And did he know she was underage? That’s another question we need to ask ourselves. Because, frankly, it’s pretty easy for someone to say they’re of-age when really they’re not. We don’t often go around asking our romantic flings to provide birth certificates.
Regardless of what the law dictates, at some point or another good judgment must be called into question. At 18-plus and 16 years of age (allegedly), both parties failed on the good judgment meter. No denying that. At 18-plus, you’re required by law to make good decisions. And at 16, you’re old enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong and act accordingly.
Think back to when you were 16. You probably did some stupid sh*t. We all did. We drank, smoked, lost our V-cards, all that stuff. Adult stuff. We made those decisions then because we felt we were capable of living up to the consequences of those decisions. You aren’t stupid when you’re 16. You aren’t innocent when you’re 16. You’re merely protected by law due to your relative youth. It’s tough to label a 16-year-old a victim in a situation where he or she knows exactly what it is that he or she is doing. I’m not saying that’s the case here, and (allegedly) it might not be. I’m just stating that in general, if you know what you’re doing at 16, whether it’s a good move or a bad one, you should have a pretty clear understanding of the consequences of your actions. You’re old enough at that point to know.
Before you go blaming either party for their roles in this debacle, consider this: there are no winners here. No one will come out of this better for it, and that sucks. This type of thing could potentially ruin two lives, not to mention the lives of the family members involved. We don’t know what happened in that home on that particular evening that these acts (allegedly) went down. There are only two people in this world who truly do know. Everyone else is merely speculating.
With regards to the athlete in question, we have to hope that he remains innocent until proven guilty. That’s how it works in this country, right? Well, yes and no. We’d like to think it does. But in situations where the word “rape” is uttered, that’s not often the case. People would rather accuse first and ask questions later. That makes it tough for everyone. Even if this whole mess ultimately bears no fruit, people will still remember Player X as an alleged rapist for years to come. That’s a horrible label to be branded with.
But at the same time, the (alleged) victim and her family can’t win here, either. Taking this thing to trial would undoubtedly bring the character of the (alleged) victim under intense scrutiny. Win or lose, justice or injustice, this 16-year-old girl would be taken apart in a courtroom. Even if her story were to hold up in its entirety, there would be no sense of victory at the end of the day.
In the end, we may never know the facts. We’ll always have stories and rumors to fall back on. But the facts will be destroyed as soon as the first untruth is told. That first untruth may already have been lobbed, or it may not come until later. Either way, when that first fib is unleashed, this will become a matter of one person’s word against another. No one will win. No one will emerge unscathed. This is the world we live in, and unfortunately, this is the harsh reality of the current situation.