Intro for July 28, 2017

Lainey Posted by Lainey at July 28, 2017 13:39:21 July 28, 2017 13:39:21

Dear Gossips,

“I lost something that night all those years ago and I’ve been searching for it ever since. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The reality is this doesn’t get to be over for me. I don’t get to know who I would be today had this not happened to me, and I mourn for that person. She seemed like she was on her way to being great.”

These are the words of a survivor, as posted on Facebook. We don’t know her name. But we know the name of her rapist – Luke Lazarus. His father is an influential businessman in Sydney, Australia and one of the owners of a nightclub. Back in 2013, Luke Lazarus took our survivor into an alleyway behind the club where he claims they had consensual anal sex. She was a virgin at the time. She told him she was a virgin at the time. And he insists that she consented to losing her virginity, at 18, anally, in a filthy back alley and is only saying he raped her because she was later embarrassed by the situation. Sure.

Luke Lazarus was found guilty by a jury in 2015 of sexual intercourse without consent. He appealed. A new trial – by judge only this time – took place earlier this year. The judge reversed the conviction. Luke Lazarus was acquitted. Because, even though Luke Lazarus and our survivor were both drinking, and the survivor had had more to drink than he did, the judge decided that his drunkenness was more serious than hers. Oh and also? The judge also felt that the survivor’s resistance wasn’t sufficient. In other words, she did not say “no”. She did, however, tell the court that she was afraid, that she told him to “stop”, and that she wanted to leave and go back to her friends. The judge didn’t believe her. She instead believed the young man with wealthy connections and all the character witnesses who were called to testify that Luke Lazarus is a nice guy from a nice family. And nice boys from nice families aren’t rapists. This is one of the pillars of rape culture. As Clementine Ford wrote this week, “one of the functions of rape culture is that it works especially hard to provide excuses for the rich young white men whose careers and futures are treated with more respect than the bodies of the women they assault”.

That’s what Luke Lazarus relied on, not only during the appeal but after he was first found guilty by jury a few years ago, during his sentencing hearing, when he told the court that

“I could have been a CEO.”

You know, until this terrible thing happened to him. Until a girl somehow forced him into an alley and made him shove his dick into her ass. Well thank God Luke Lazarus got a second chance. Guys like Luke Lazarus, with rich dads and connections, they don’t usually get second chances. We all have to work harder to make sure the Luke Lazaruses and the Brock Turners and the Austin Wilkersons and the John RK Howards get those second chances. To go back to Clementine Ford’s excellent essay, “There is the uncomfortable reality that Lazarus and men like him are able to believe their desire and consent is the only desire and consent that counts, and that's because they keep seeing each other being given the benefit of the doubt to get away with it”. In America, in Canada, in Australia.

But where does that leave the survivor? As she wrote in her Facebook post, there is no second chance for her to reclaim all that she lost that night. For what it’s worth though – and, sadly, the world keeps telling us that it’s not worth much, Clementine Ford believes her, and I believe her, and Kerry, who sent me this story (thanks Kerry) believes her. And hopefully you believe her too.

Yours in gossip,

Lainey


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