It seems a little strange to me that the Deadline story about Nate Parker coming clean on rape allegations back in his college days did not mention that the victim committed suicide in 2012. You would think that this would be the most important detail about the story, but apparently no one knew, not even Parker?
The victim’s brother is making sure Parker pays a price for what he’s done, even if the judge and jury chose not convict him:
“If I were to look back at her very short life and point to one moment where I think she changed as a person, it was obviously that point,” Johnny told Variety. He said that prior to entering college, his sister was an outgoing, popular girl who loved animals and school. He envisioned a career in marketing or media for her. “The trial was pretty tough for her,” he said.
He does not mince words:
“[Parker’s] character should be under a microscope because of this incident,” Johnny said. “If you removed these two people, the project is commendable. But there’s a moral and ethical stance you would expect from someone with regard to this movie.”
Asked if the movie should be released, he responded: “I think that’s up to the people,” Johnny said. “I don’t think a rapist should be celebrated. It’s really a cultural decision we’re making as a society to go to the theater and speak with our dollars and reward a sexual predator.”
An old phone transcript was released showing a conversation between Parker and the victim where it’s clear he believed her to be conscious at the time. But she didn’t remember anything that happened, so much so that she has to ask him what did happen, and how many men had violated her, because she was worried she might be pregnant. Parker insists it was consensual and she was awake during it. Unfortunately, his actions in the aftermath damn him even worse — intimidation and harassment to an extent that she was afraid for her life. PSU did little to protect her. These aspects of the case have not been discussed nor acknowledged by Parker, even though the victim had concrete proof.
Redemption does not come if you try to convince people that you did nothing wrong. Maybe Nate Parker still believes that he did nothing wrong and maybe he’s felt angry about false accusations against him ever since. But we have a clear-cut situation of a woman who was seriously harmed by his actions and we see how he reacted in trying to prevent her attempt to get help and bring charges against him and his friend. No one is ever going to sympathize with Parker and Celestin unless the two men can show that they sympathize with the victim, which certainly has not been not evident in their subsequent words or actions.
This is a terrible tragedy all the way around. It reminds me of George Stevens’ film A Place in the Sun. It reminds me of the two people whose troubled past tied them together and how one person tried to emerge from it unscathed to make a better life. But of course, in that film and now, there is no erasing the past. There is no running away from who you were while remaking who you are.
Sexual assault on campuses is now a very serious and highly-publicized issue, not that it has always been treated as such. This very same scenario has played out countless times and there is almost always a dispute. Women have had to fight hard to be heard and acknowledged, as the film The Hunting Ground explores.
The victim in this went went on to have other relartionships and give birth to a child, but eventually ended up with debilitating addiction issues. It was in rehab where she was “”found unresponsive by staff with two 100-count pill bottles of Benadryl by her side.”
It’s one thing if you’re Samantha Geimer and you’ve made public statements that you felt far more violated by the press than anything, and have asked the public to forgive Roman Polanski. It’s a whole other thing when a deceased victim’s brother is not only calling you a rapist but saying you were the single cause for her depression and subsequent suicide.
It may well be that Nate Parker will from here on out be defined by this case. He can either try to avoid it or else immerse himself in it, but glossing over it is the wrong course. He must acknowledge his wrongdoing and not only apologize but make every effort to do whatever he can to make it right — both in regard to her family and by becoming an advocate to help victims of sexual assault. He can’t undo what he’s done but he certainly can, at the very least, acknowledge the pain and wreckage inflicted on his victim’s short life, whether or not he can ever admit that he understands the definition of consent.
“Findings from this report include: It is estimated that the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20% and 25% over the course of a college career. Among college women, 9 in 10 victims of rape and sexual assault knew their offender.”
- In one study, one in 20 (4.7%) women reported being raped in college since the beginning of the year – a period of approximately 7 months – and nearly three quarters of those rapes (72%) happened with the victims were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or refuse.
- One study found that students living in sorority houses (3 times at risk) and on-campus dormitories (1.4 times at risk) were more likely to be raped than students living off-campus.
- Women from colleges with medium and high binge-drinking rates had more than a 1.5-fold increased chance of being raped while intoxicated than those from schools with low binge-drinking rates.
- Women who had practiced binge-drinking in high school had an increased likelihood of rape while intoxicated.
More statistics here.