Public is not judge or jury in rape case

Dakota Ratley

Accusations of rape are never good things. Victim blaming, jumping to conclusions and considering someone guilty before his or her day in court aren’t exactly great either.

When the news of the rape accusations came out, ULM went into a frenzy.

A quick look at everyone’s favorite anonymous social media application, Yik Yak, showed thoughts around campus.

Hardly any of them included anything to quell the outrage from either side of the issue.

Certain comments told males to be careful and that women are trying to get guys in trouble.

There were also comments condemning the guy before he had even spent a day in court.

Stop. Please.

This is a horrible situation for all parties involved. The young man may have his life ruined for something that may have not happened. The young woman may be traumatized for life by something that should have never happened. We don’t know.

That’s the thing. We don’t know what happened. We probably won’t know what happened until months from now. Even then, we still might not know the whole story.

I understand the need for updates, and I understand the want for more information. I don’t understand how possibly dragging someone’s reputation through the mud helps the situation at all.

Similar past cases include the one of Duke lacrosse players in 2006. That case began when a stripper falsely accused three members of the team of rape at a team party. The result? A coach forced to resign. A program that still is haunted by the scandal. Most importantly, three young men who have had their lives changed forever.

By the way, the accuser is now in jail for second-degree murder.

Even at our own university, there have been similar cases.

For example, two ULM baseball players were accused of aggravated rape in 2010. They were cleared in 2011.

The bottom line is that we should withhold our judgment until after the case is over.

Maybe there was a crime; maybe there wasn’t. That’s not for us to find out. That’s for the court system to decide.

Maybe that’s why most of these comments are made anonymously. They really have no place in the discussion of the case.

Sure, discuss what you think may have happened. Don’t talk negatively about the accused or the one who did the accusing. You never know which one is in the right.

However, we do know that it’s not the person yakking about how the accuser is just trying to get someone in trouble or that the one accused is an animal that should learn to control himself.