Sep 022004
 
Authors: J.J. Babb

Wednesday, Kobe Bryant’s accuser decided not to testify in

criminal court.

She did not recant her story; she just refused to tell it in

open court.

The district attorney dismissed the criminal case against Bryant

after the alleged victim decided against testifying.

As rumors fly that the 20-year-old woman is “wimping out” or

changing her story, it’s essential to examine the

circumstances.

“The fact that her name was released on the district attorney’s

Web site would speak to the fact that she wasn’t safe, even in that

environment,” said Jody Jessup Anger, director of the Office of

Women’s Programs and Studies.

Why someone would want to go through this is beyond me.

Especially in this situation. Not only was the alleged victim

planning to testify on her sex life with Bryant, – and because of

court rulings her sex life with others – she was being crucified by

the media.

Have you ever had to sit in front of a courtroom full of people

and discuss your personal life? Have you ever been badgered by

someone about your sexual activities in public?

I have been there.

Three years ago, I took the stand to testify in a trial against

a man who had hit me. As the questions continued, the lawyers

focused on my sexual activity.

Sitting there in front of a jury of nine people I did not know,

my then-current boyfriend, a few community members who had ‘just

wandered in,’ the man I had accused and his father, I was terrified

and embarrassed.

On the stand, after swearing on the Bible, I had to tell about a

guy at a party we had been at who had shown me his pierced penis.

While this may have been a humorous tale in another situation,

sitting there on the stand and telling the story was

humiliating.

Having to explain personal sexual encounters to strangers might

be the most mortifying experience there is. It is something I would

not wish for anyone.

The women’s programs office tries to assure women who seek help

for a sexual assault that “not everyone will know their story,”

Jessup Anger said.

She also stressed that although criminal charges against Bryant

have been dropped, it does not infer that the alleged victim lied,

nor does it imply that Bryant is guilty.

“Really taking it at face value is in the best interest of all

of us,” Jessup Anger said.

As for me, I understand why she would refuse to testify.

I don’t blame her for finally having enough.

I am angry, though. If Bryant did commit rape, he should face

the repercussions. And if he did not, he should be cleared without

doubt.

At this point, he will only face allegations in civil court if

the alleged victim continues with that trial.

Until then, we must take the dismissal at face value and

understand the reasons that may have caused this young woman to

refuse to take the stand.

J.J. Babb is a senior journalism major. She is also the news

managing editor at the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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