Jordan Johnson was acquitted of rape because the jury had doubt whether Jordan knew what he was doing:
One of the jurors said Friday evening that “we were kind of hung up on the fact that we just couldn’t do a conviction because we weren’t sure whether Mr. Johnson was aware of whether the sex was non-consensual.”
The hangup for the jury was not whether or not the sex was consensual, but whether Jordan Johnson knew it was NON-consensual.
Now that this particular plaintiff and this particular defendant have had their day in court, I expect there to be those in our community who will claim Missoula’s systemic problem with responding and investigating allegations of rape are behind us. For those people, I would remind them that the federal investigations are ongoing, and include over 80 cases.
Tucked away in the comments of the Missoulian story is a comment from a woman that describes her own confusing experience with sexual assault. I’m going to include it below, in addition to an awful response, because I think it highlights the education we, as a community, still desperately need.
I’m new here, and haven’t been following this case from the beginning. I do have some general questions about people’s perception of this issue. I’m wondering if people more local to this case might clear them up.
I saw this story my MSN homepage today and wondered what it was all about. So, I have no opinion on the guilt or innocence of this person or the fairness of the verdict in this particular case. Usually I’m more interested in the comments posted after stories like this than I am the stories themselves. Having read some other stories related to this case and the comments afterwards, I’m finding a pattern emerging and I’m wondering what’s up with it.
The pattern is that people seem to think a rape victim must act a certain way in order to have been raped. This seems like a generic statement made about women, not about the case, which is why it bothers me. I read that the woman texted she “thought” she’d been raped (with a smiley face?), that she drove him home afterwards, and that she did not cry out to her male roommates for help. Also, there seems to be a lot of talk about a witch hunt for athletes going on.
My concern is this. I grew up in a small country town. A friend of mine told me that the QB of the football team forced her face down on her bed and raped her. Her elderly grandparents were in the house at the time, and she could have cried out for their help. She said she didn’t want them to see her like that. She never told anyone else, or filed a complaint, or pressed charges. (His father was the only police detective in town.)
Prior to her telling me that she’d been raped, they’d told people they had slept together but that it had been a mistake, basically. My friend went along with his story in public, never accusing him of rape. She even encouraged me to date him. She said it would be fun and that we could double date. Her boyfriend was the QB’s best friend. It wasn’t until I actually started dating him that she told me he’d raped her. She was my friend, but I didn’t really believe her. I felt sad for her because I thought she was feeling embarrassed about being made out to be loose and a cheater. I also didn’t understand her behavior of going along with his story, not yelling for help, and encouraging me to go out with him. But, just so as not to have any misunderstanding, I told the QB I did not want to have sex until I was married. I was alright with fooling around (I was a teenager, realistically), but I was nowhere near thinking about having sex.
One afternoon, he came to my house while my parents were not home. We were fooling around. He told me to lie on my stomach. I thought I was going to get a backrub or more kissing or whatever. Needless to say, that is not what I got. I was so shocked that I did not say anything at all, least of all “no.” He got up and went to football practice afterwards. I must have been on the floor the whole time, because I was still there when he came back. And he said, “Uh oh. Already? Usually this takes longer to happen.” I think he was referring to my demeanor, but I can’t be sure. At which point he started talking about how special I was and how much he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I know I told him I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. He seemed pretty freaked out. He told me to take his class ring and please just consider it. The next day my family went to a wedding out of town for the weekend. I cried on and off for three days and stared out the car window a lot, telling my parents I was sick. When we got back, I agreed to be the QB’s girlfriend. I never told anyone what happened.
I think people’s expectation that women will stand up for themselves, cry for help, do seemingly normal things after such an abnormal experience is unrealistic. Now, I have no idea what happened in this particular case. But people seem to be making general judgments on how rapists and rape victims act. My friend said she wasn’t really sure he’d raped her. I wasn’t sure I’d been raped, after all, I didn’t say anything while it was happening. And I never accused him of it. I became his girlfriend so that I wouldn’t, in my own mind, have actually been raped.
I think what finally cinched it for me was when he said my friend had only been accepted to a Big 10 university (while his brother hadn’t) was because she was a “dirty Sp*c.”
I find the hatred being directed at this girl to be disturbing. Maybe he did it and maybe he didn’t, but why the hatred? How can you be so sure?
Here is one response:
No one expects a rape victim to react perfectly, but we expect a rape victim to act like a rape victim.
The reason you and your friend acted so strangely is because neither of you were clearly raped. You admit that you let him do it, and never said no. If it was unambiguously rape, you would know it immediately. If it’s an unclear of ambiguous situation, as your’s was, then you would expect some confusion after the fact.
You shouldn’t feel like a rape victim, because you aren’t.