Friday, October 29, 2010

Man Acquitted of Rape, Despite Massive Evidence Against Him

Timothy West broke into a house through the kitchen window at 1:30 in the morning in March of 2009. He then threatened a woman with a knife and raped her twice. At the end of the 3 hour ordeal, West asked the woman for her number, and she gave it to him (hoping to catch him later). Her brother called 911 right after West left the home, and police became involved.

The next day when West texted the survivor, she asked him why he raped her. He "apologized" and then asked her "You mad at me?... I can't call you no more?" He also admitted that he chose her house at random. This whole conversation was recorded by police. The bravery of the woman in giving her phone number to her rapist in hopes of bringing him to justice resulted in clear evidence against him.

Despite all of that, West was acquitted of all charges.

This exemplifies the struggle survivors face when trying to get justice. This woman's case had clear evidence, and even an admission of guilt from the rapist caught on tape. It also involved a scenario that is traditionally thought of as clearly rape, a break in by a stranger and a weapon being brandished. If the justice system did not manage to get justice for this survivor, it's no wonder that women or men raped by acquaintances or partners, using coercion or threats instead of a weapon or countless other scenarios are not able to get justice. Clearly, something is wrong with the system if such a clear case cannot get a conviction.

Many of the comments on the original NY Times article say something along the lines of "Why was her rapist texting her? She must have known him and just decided to call rape."

To that, I'll relay the words of another commenter:

"hjo4: Rapists get off on power and control. Being able to call his victim, wantonly confess to his crime, and insist that she accept his apology for violating her is right in line with that. Rapists take all sorts of risks such as taking trophies from victims, harassing them, using the same neighborhood as his hunting grounds all in spite of it increasing his chances of getting caught."

Read the article here.

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