naming names: why the Bryant case is different
There seems to be some confusion over the issue of whether I think the identity of Kobe Bryant's accuser - or anyone who accuses someone of rape - should be made public.
I never stated an opinion either way. People just assumed that because I was not posting the pictures or the URL to any sites that have the pictures, address or name of the accuser that I was taking a stand against it. The only stand I took was that you would not be able to find those items here.
For example, Lemondust states:
This blog [A Small Victory] is run by a right wing feminist. I think. Anyway, I found her while looking for commentary on Kobe Bryant. She is against publishing the pictures of the accuser.
I replied (after stating that I am in no way, shape or form a feminist):
It's not that I'm against whatever the people coming to my site were looking for; I was just making the point that they weren't going to find it there. Judging from my comments and email on the matter, most of the searchers wanted the pictures for nefarious reasons: they wanted to find her and humiliate her. Just as Kobe is innocent until proven guilty, the accuser is to be believed until proven a liar. I make no stand on the case. I just make a stand on who so admire a sports star that they are willing to stalk a woman accusing that sports star of rape.
Over at So Cal Law, there's a discussion on the subject which states, in part:
A Small Victory is having trouble with Kobe trolls visiting her site looking for pictures, names and other details associated with Kobe's accuser. Based on some of the comments I have received on this site, I can understand her frustration. On the other hand, re-posting the very offensive terms that drove people to her site is the surest way to increase web traffic of people looking for those terms.
Once again, I don't care if they come here, I just wanted them to know that they would not find what they are looking for.
So Cal Lawyer feels this way about announcing an accuser's identity:
Rape is not comprable to other crimes. It is vastly under reported compared to other crimes. Moreover, other crimes do not entail as much "victim blaming." For example, nobody tells a carjacking victim who drives a nice looking car that he/she was asking for trouble. Finally, the adverse consequences to any victim who falsely or truthfully reports a rape (via having a defense attorney question every aspect of the victim's life before, during and after the rape), is likely a big deterrence to not bring false accusations.
There's also a previous post here.
I agree that making it a policy to name the identity of one who accuses someone of rape will only serve to make less rape victims come forward. Rape is a degrading crime. To have your name splattered in the newspaper as a victim of such a crime would be adding insult to injury, making the victim feel even worse about a crime that so often is compounded by unecessary guilt.
However, until the rape claim is substantiated, you can also say the same for the accused. But I hardly think that saving face for the narrow amount of fake rape claims reported will somehow outweigh the humiliation and degradation suffered by real rape victims.
The fact is, this case is different. Here, you have a celebrity with a huge, loyal, rabid following. The reasons for many of these people wanting to know the name of the accuser is so they can harass her. Just look at my comments on any of these posts. Go do a search and find any website that defends Kobe and you'll see what I mean. There are people looking for address so they can stalk her, wait for her to come out of her house and hurl insults at her. There are people who want to physically harm her. They want her email address to send her threatening letters and the only reason they want to see photos of her is so they can post the photos themselves while captioning them with insults.
Bryant's fans - at least this portion of his fans - have already determined that he is innocent. They would rather see this woman dead then see their team play without their hero. Now, that's a sad statement. And that is why I believe this woman's name should not be made public. Of course, it's too late for that, but you will not find that information here, ever.