This article seems mistimed, falling as it does in the limbo between "Holden Thorp Asks Honor Court to Suspend Proceedings Against Gambill," and the findings of the investigators and external review boards. It is crafted in support of Landen Gambill, but I simply do not understand how anyone can pretend to know what happened between Gambill and her ex. Obviously, Honor Court is an absurd venue for serious criminal accusations. But months had elapsed by the time Gambill reported the alleged rape. Isn't it hard to picture a DA enthusiastic about going forward with that case? No, I do not want rape victims to be re-traumatized; and yes, the Honor Court questioning does come off as clumsy and insensitive -- but mild in comparison to what Gambill could have expected in a court of law. There are many things we need to make better, but the mission of the courts is not unconditional support and validation for alleged victims. (That's what therapy is for.)
Irresponsible reporting has spawned hundreds of headlines echoing Gambill's characterization of herself as a victim, her ex as a rapist, and UNC as covertly involved in a shameful attempt to silence her. Do we know if ANY of that is true? Sure, okay, maybe all of it is. Rapists do get away with it sometimes. But why not pause to reflect on the possibility that the ex is just some guy who made some mistakes, did his best to correct them, and -- having been found not guilty of rape -- would like to get on with his life without being called a rapist every time he turns around? That also seems plausible. Anyone who doesn't get how uncomfortable his life must be just isn't thinking.
(And BTW, I find the line suggesting that the ex's Honor Court charges might be construed as "another form of verbal harassment" of Gambill to be laughable. My understanding is that a no-contact order prevents him from communicating with her in any other way.)
Yes, UNC has made mistakes. (If the ex is ever revealed to be a football player majoring in African American Studies, Lord help us.) But if somebody in the administration was really dumb enough to open the university to charges of retaliation, against a person with no apparent fear of publicity... that was really, really dumb.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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