In the Hofstra Gang Rape Story, I find it very hard to believe that, according to the New York Post, 18 year old Danmell Ndonye, "exceptionally intelligent and quiet...[who] had gone to a private high school on scholarship," and who according to Antionette Perez, a retired NYPD civilian employee is, "a nice innocent, well bred, shy girl," would consent to have sex with not one, not two, not three, not four, but five men. There is something missing here. There is something that doesn't make sense.
I teach 18 year old young women. Some of them, like Ms. Ndonye, are recent immigrants from Africa--- and I may be guilty of over generalizing here--- but in my eight years of experience, that's 16 semesters, these women come from devout homes, from good families, and they are indeed polite, well-mannered, quiet and hard working; sweet and kind almost to a fault. I cannot fathom a young girl, kissing a man on the dance floor, the man saying "I have friends here with me," and the girl replying, "Bring them along. It'll be hot." And then having sex with five strange men in a bathroom.
It's not the first time a woman has retracted rape allegations. Most of the time a woman's change of heart is tied up with the thought of public humiliation added on to the private horror. It certainly doesn't mean these men are innocent. In fact it galls me to see their beleaguered expressions in the paper, their statement, "My name is forever tarnished. I'll always have to explain it." You're damn right you will. Whatever happened in that bathroom was not innocent, and I highly doubt it was 100% consensual. If anything its that gray area --- the ambiguous and highly charged landscape of date rape.
Camille Paglia claims that women ought to recognize and respect that men are beasts and women need to behave accordingly. Don't go to frat parties, get dead drunk and allow yourself to become a victim. Part of me agrees with this--- but part of me says, what about the young men who are growing up with a sense of entitlement and with no respect for women? I don't think these young men are degenerates who deserve to spend the rest of their lives in jail. But surely some punishment is in order. As I said, date rape is hard to categorize, and I'm sure that much more difficult to prosecute. But ask me to believe that an 18 year old honor student, characterized as "brilliant" and "polite" would agree to have sex with five men? No, that's impossible.
I can't be the only person who finds this hard to believe. I can't be the only person who knows that her side of the story is missing from the equation.
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