RIP to Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and all on board the helicopter. Condolences to Vanessa his surviving wife and his remaining children as well as all affected by the crash.
As news of Kobe Bryant accident trends, condolences from mass media platforms, fans and famous personalities alike pour in by the thousands. Along with it are women reminding everyone that Kobe is a no good husband with a history of cheating and was accused of sexual assault.
Evan Rachel Wood tweeted, "I am heartbroken for Kobe's family, he was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously", garnering massive backlash from both men and women, as well as some strong female supporters.
Many made it about bad timing, said it was in poor taste, some posted a picture of her with Woody Allen, as if that stereotypical red carpet photo is incriminating enough evidence of her hypocrisy, it just shows us that immunity for female celebrities just isn't the same as male celebrities, women are guilty before proven innocent and men are innocent before proven guilty, being a woman makes all the difference, women are more harshly penalised than men are, even the ones victimised.
She was also questioned about her association with Woody Allen when she spoke about being sexually assaulted by two people in 2016. She has already addressed this.
One fan, @juicybombon, wasn’t impressed. He pointed out that Evan herself had worked with Woody Allen, a filmmaker who has been accused of sexual assault by his own adopted daughter, for her 2009 role in Whatever Works.
Evan not only took the time to respond to the Tweet, she took it as an opportunity to take a stance for what she believes is right, saying that she was unaware of the accusations at the time, and wouldn’t make the same choice today.
That was years before I read Dylan's letter. Unfortunately, I can't say that I would again. @juicybombon
Is there really a good time for people to speak up about sexual assault allegations or is it that beloved celebrities like Bill Cosby are shielded by the fatherly roles they play, wealthy moguls like Harvey Weinstein are excused by the power they wield, the all mighty position of president means influential figures like Donald Trump is beyond criticism, sports stars like Kobe Bryant or O. J. Simpson can get away with investigations that by itself would tarnish a woman's reputation beyond repair, yet they're still able to get endorsement deals in the aftermath?
The trial of the century - the O.J. Simpson trial where he was acquitted of two counts of murder in spite of a large amount of evidence was mention in the documentary The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, included in it was Trump's realisation of the importance of celebrity status in the US, how popularity as a public figure can swing votes, he quickly made plans to be the star of The Apprentice.
Kris Jenner also watched on with her ex husband, who was O.J's lawyer and realised she was also capable of building a public image from scratch, that developed into what's known as the billion dollar Kardashian empire.
O.J. was subsequently arrested for kidnapping, assault and armed robbery, sentenced to 33 years in a separate case. It doesn't mean he can't be convicted therefore victimisation didn't occur, the law isn't perfect. This also doesn't mean he would stop committing additional crimes in future, this angle is often neglected when it comes to celebrities like Kobe who're excused completely without any long term backlash to his career, as time passes it all fades from public eye, like it never happened, the only people who remember are the victims who have to carry the trauma, they can't escape it as they see aggressors move on, people talk only about the positive side of them, their own worlds are kept on hold psychologically, the suffering is always one sided.
Kobe's rape case was in 2003, there haven't been much updates from MSM since the initial media frenzy died down.
There's one article published by Daily Beast in 2016, updated in 2017, documenting the entire process of the case.
"Despite being charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment—facing life in prison—and tearfully confessing to committing adultery with his 19-year-old accuser, Bryant’s case never made it to trial.
The accuser’s separate civil suit against Bryant was ultimately settled in March 2005, and terms of the settlement were undisclosed (the total amount civil juries in Colorado could award at the time was $2.5 million). And the accuser, it should be noted, came from a wealthy family.
When questioned by the police, Kobe denied three times that anything had happened until he was informed that the accuser had made an allegation of sexual assault against him, told the officers, “Is there any way I can settle this whatever it is, I mean…?” asked Bryant.
As police revealed the accuser had submitted to a physical exam and they’d taken semen and blood evidence from her person, Bryant admitted that the two had sex. “Uh, this is what I need to know because uh, I did have sexual intercourse with her,” said Bryant, adding, “It was totally consensual."
Felicia Sonmez, a national political reporter for The Washington Post, is suspended after tweeting a link to the story. She courageously said the 10,000 people who emailed and commented with abuse or death threats speaks volumes about the pressure people come under to stay silent in these cases.
Success is immunity for well known men, the cognitive dissonance of the public when dealt with the Jekyll and Hyde conflicting nature of abusers has always been the biggest deterrent for hundreds of abused women I have interviewed personally in the last four years of anti-violence against women work, it is the same concern for millions of women in the world I believe.
As they grapple with the shame that comes from abuse, how their mental health is ruined, gather courage to tell people around them, disrupt their lives by juggling going for therapy or joining support groups, they still have to exhaustively persuade those closest to them that the false public mask they see isn't the whole truth and nothing but the truth, they see the other side, the Hyde side, a side hidden so well, only a few people or one person knows, abuse is a deep dark secret that the victim must shoulder, often alone, while recovering from it.
The influence of a powerful wealthy person can buy compliance from both men or women, they frequently tell me that people prioritise their relationships with an abusive partner above their wellbeing all the time, this disillusionment adds to their learned helpless despair, making it even more difficult to get out.
There is a colloquial term for enablers of abusers, who often abuse by proxy by siding with them, victim shaming or carrying out the abuser's plan to gain rewards, survivors call them flying monkeys. Some are unintentionally part of the manipulation, they're victims themselves, some lack education about abuse while some are willing pawns for rewards, no matter how well intentional or not, they still manage to further victimise them, adding on another layer of fear, trapping them in a climate of silence as the trauma continues unabated.
They "fly" around the abuser, doing their bidding to benefit themselves while ignoring the abuse, abused women feel disappointed with them, abandoned and rejected during a period of crisis, walking away means not just walking away from one person but entire families and communities, they move physically away where they can't be stalked by exes, found by families and friends who betrayed them, trying to start fresh, away from communities that brand them with the reputation of trouble making whistleblowers, the displacement is uprooting all they're familiar with, they lose their identities and what they know of their lives in it's entirety.
They're at once feared for the ability to destroy them with evidence and also beaten down each time any of the now suspicious aggressors that peg them as devious attention seeking women feel threatened by the exposure of their own dirty laundry, a portion of people will beat them to the punch first, destroying their reputations to protect themselves.
Even if they just want to escape, avoid trouble and silently move on as soon as they can, as long as they speak up, backlash is often vicious, leaving them with no one but themselves, the lucky few have supportive families and friends, this is often not the case, they're alienated and become outcasts instead, therefore why public opinion gives them hope that people do understand, people do care, people remember.
All this sounds melodramatic for anyone who hasn't been through it, this is also another set of problems, it sounds like fantasy fiction, something you read about in novels or watch in the theatre, the idea that people will go out of their way to destroy someone, that there can indeed be an innocent party merely trying to survive, didn't do anything to incite them, that all they care about is getting out alive and sometimes even that isn't possible.
This idea is so frighteningly for some that they rather live in denial about the possibly of them or their love ones being victimised by a random stranger, a chance encounter with a celebrity, a family friend, partner or parent. They rather make those who speak up bear the brunt of their denial, take responsibility for their fears, another expectation that women who speak up must face.
When the people who think it can't happen to them, those who don't believe a word of it and try to silence people who speak up are the most unprepared, with the highest chance of being the next victim, this is how victimisation continues, this is also what the patriarchy desires for women - to be naive and exploitable.
Silence is the abuser's greatest friend and having a voice is his greatest foe.
Your silence cannot save you as famous feminist Audre Lorde said.
Maybe like Linda above mentioned, it is karma. Maybe he did do it, maybe he didn't, we can't confirm that. What we can confirm is that those who don't get #ibelieveher are fortunate or maybe just too naive for their own good, sometimes all the tales of caution in the world can't get through to them, you will become their convenient scapegoat as they talk about the perfect timing that you know is a figment of their own imaginations, it is an illusion that they would ever speak up for victims, then or now, the objective is to permanently silence survivors so they can continue to behave irresponsibly, just as irresponsibly as those who prop them up.
Victimisation has no perfect timing neither does speaking the truth, they do not want to hear it, in 2003 or now, sexual assault will always be controversial as long as there're men who do it and there're people who excuse them. A woman with a voice harshly punished for using it is as good as saying a woman doesn't matter, this is also the reason why feminism is needed.
Women matter and we're here to stay.
Eshet chayil, God is a She.