Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More Validation Of Elaine S. Dalton's "Guardians Of Virtue" Speech; The Story Of Alleged Rape Victim Tucker Reed, Who Reported Her Rape 22 Months After The Fact

During the 2011 General Young Women Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the then-General President of Young Women, Elaine S. Dalton, delivered a talk entitled "Guardians Of Virtue", in which she counseled young women to avoid the type of behavior that would encourage sexual objectification. But some Mormon feminists complained that it was a "terrible metaphor", and that she was trying to minimize and excuse male misbehavior, and shift too much of the burden for encouraging virtuous behavior on the part of men towards women. Basically, Sister Dalton was telling the young woman that if they don't want to be treated like whores, don't dress and act like whores in public. Good preventive medicine.

And I've found a superb example illustrating the wisdom of Sister Dalton's counsel. Tucker Reed is not an LDS member, but her story epitomizes why women need to avoid communicating ambiguously about their intentions towards physical intimacy, and why they must report rape and other forms of sexual abuse PROMPTLY. Tucker Reed is the subject of a libel lawsuit by an individual she's accused of raping her. When the system did not take her claims seriously, Reed decided to name her alleged assailant and discuss her experiences publicly, which triggered the suit. She discusses her experiences and the reaction on several posts published on her personal blog, Covered In Bandaids. The only media account I could find was on the MS Blog.

Summary: Tucker Reed also outlined her experiences on XOJane. Her story begins on December 3rd, 2010, when she and her boyfriend attended a holiday party hosted by fellow students at the University of Southern California. They had just begun dating two weeks prior, and she was a virgin at the time because she believed that the intimacy of intercourse was an emotional and spiritual act that should not be casually shared. In any event, Reed took her boyfriend back to her apartment and allows him to take her clothes off. She then led him into the bedroom. Naturally, her boyfriend believed that she wanted to have intercourse. But surprise, surprise -- she suddenly throws up a STOP sign and said that she wasn't ready to go all the way, and that having sex so soon would ruin the relationship. But the boyfriend persisted, and pressured her into yielding.

Reed initially decided to write it off as a misunderstanding. She even continued to date the guy, because he said he was in love with her and eventually wanted to marry her. But she had lingering misgivings, and when she disclosed the experience to her best friend a year later, her friend told her in no uncertain terms that she was a rape victim. Armed with that counsel, Reed then sought counseling at the USC Health Center, but this didn't pan out, and so she decided to confront her boyfriend directly over the December 2010 encounter. Her boyfriend initially claimed he couldn't remember anything about that night, undoubtedly using the alcohol excuse, then said something remarkably insensitive. She quotes him as saying "What did you expect? A bed covered in rose petals? Nobody gets that. I didn't get that. I wanted to fuck, I needed to fuck, so I fucked. And, whatever, I guess I'm just the asshole who raped you".

Obviously, this guy is a world-class asshole. After suffering from psychological problems, Tucker Reed decided to take her quest for justice one step further. In October 2012, after her friend made a passing comment that she should have recorded the conversation she'd had with her now ex-boyfriend when he confessed to the rape, Reed arranged to make a recording and induce her ex-boyfriend into confessing to forcing her to have sex with him, which he did multiple times. She then provided those recordings to the police in November 2012 and to the university in December 2012. She also wanted the university to expel her ex-boyfriend from school, even before he had been tried and convicted. However, USC staffers argued that to do that would be punitive at that point, asserting that the school's adjudication process is meant to be rehabilitative and educative. The ex-boyfriend told university officials that the encounter was consensual, and that she tricked him into providing false confessions, insisting that he confessed to a crime he did not commit only because he thought she would not leave him alone until he had done so.

Because Tucker Reed believed that police and the university were blowing her off, she decided to publicly shame the alleged rapist. After receiving affirmative advice from two attorneys, Reed posted the man's name online, along with an account of what he did. And now she's on the receiving end of a libel suit. In response to comments posted to her account on XOJane, Tucker Reed has posted a specific reply on Covered In Bandaids which addresses the major questions posed after she publicized her story; it's worth reading and it seems intellectually honest. But here are three reasons why she might lose the lawsuit:

(1). She got naked and led the guy into the bedroom. Obviously, a woman has the right to say No at any time; I was always taught this by the LDS Church. But in today's sexualized culture, if a woman gets naked and leads you into a bedroom, it's considered to be consent by most guys.

(2). She failed to report it promptly. If you have a nonconsensual sexual experience, you do NOT wait 22 months to report it to the authorities; you do so promptly. It might be excusable for a 12-year-old girl who has no experience with the world to be afraid to report rape, but it is not excusable for a grown woman to be afraid to report it. Furthermore, a person who's been raped should never allow a religious leader to talk him or her out of going to the police, and should never feel guilty about having been raped.

(3). She continued to date her assailant. This alone will probably kill her case. Why would a rational woman continue to date someone she considered a rapist? It's not as if she was being held hostage like Elizabeth Smart.

The harsh truth is that if this libel suit actually makes it to a jury trial, the jury is likely to rule in favor of the man. Read the reaction on this discussion thread on the relatively-uncensored F2 Anonboard where people say what they're really thinking (WARNING: There are some bad words on the thread); many of the posters characterize Tucker Reed as a slut who has "buyer's remorse". This is sad, but it represents the current reality.

This is exactly why Elaine Dalton counseled young women to be "guardians of virtue". Above all, they must be guardians of their own virtue, becoming savvy enough to avoid sending ambiguous messages about their sexual availability and getting themselves into these types of situations. Since God's law is not in force on earth, many guys think that if a woman makes it "hard" for them, she has the obligation to make it "soft" for them. Some Muslim countries understand this and require women to dress modestly in public; their premise is that a woman should avoid tempting a man beyond his ability to bear it. This is also why LDS leaders enforce modest dress standards at church services and church-related social events. Elaine Dalton's prevention message helps young women deal with the culture the way it is, and not the way feminist wish it could be. Learn from Tucker Reed's unfortunate experience -- and don't repeat her mistakes.


Tucker said...

Hi, Jack.

First, a correction: I never pressured the school into expelling my rapist prior to them officially finding whether or not he raped me. Suspending him would have been nice, but wasn't something I demanded or even expected. I just wanted them to follow their own policies that assure a prompt adjudicatory process and a "zero tolerance" response to students who victimize fellow students. They didn't.

This is all pretty clear in the articles on the subject, as well as the blog you reference in your post. I would so appreciate if you could correct your original posting, as it paints me in a rather unflattering and less-than-rational light.

To be clear: No school should "rehabilitate" a student who rapes another student, and yet expel a student who plagiarizes an essay. The dichotomy proves how little a school that takes this approach values the woman's safety and quality of life.

That was the point of the Ms. and xoJane articles.

I also urge you to rethink your assumption that "rational" women can or do identify rape immediately and would never remain in contact with their rapist. 90-percent of rapes are perpetrated against women by someone they know, and as much as 60- to 70-percent of victims remain in relationships with their attackers.

My faith factored into my decision to forgive the man who raped me. I think this affects many victims of all spiritual paths, and I would assume that you could sympathize with this approach. My forgiveness did not at any point erase the fact of the rape. It took a long time for me to realize that my attacker was not a good person who just made a terrible mistake, but what I genuinely perceive as remorseless person who has a pattern of marginalizing women.

I am grateful to you for choosing to address this topic, however. Only through a growing discourse on date rape, victim-blaming, trends within the justice system and the reaction of institutions of higher education can the prevalence of rape and the stigma victims face be eradicated.

chase said...

save it for the jury, tucker.

Anonymous said...

@and she was a virgin at the time because she believed that the intimacy of intercourse was an emotional and spiritual act that should not be casually shared---------------you didnt do your research-Tucker was NO virgin- Tucker was having oral sex with this man on a regular basis-& continued to have sex with him after the night in question-This was no rape & an outrage to true victims of rape!