Friday, August 23, 2013

Washtenaw Watchdogs: Brendan Gibbons Rape Allegations

Washtenaw Watchdogs Post
Washtenaw Watchdogs have started to fill my newsfeed, and with a simple click it is easy to know why.  Chief Watchdog, Douglas Smith, has posted an overview and synopsis of a 2009 rape of an eighteen year old girl allegedly by football player Brendan Gibbons. Jezebel has already gotten ahold of it, spreading it wider than the watchdogs could.

In defense of Douglas Smith, while he might be posting this for the wrong reasons, without regard to the victim, there is a necessity to talk about injustices like this rape and the following threats. While the serial rapist of three summers ago is most's image of rape in Ann Arbor, the reality is this isn't true. For every reported crime, there is one that will go unreported. It won't occur only to women, although 1 in 6 women (often higher dependent on race) is a victim of sexual assault. The majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone that the victim knows. This anonymous victim posted about is not an isolated event.

So if you chose to read the articles, or comments, or police report, consider that this women could be a friend, mother, daughter. If you are a victim, do not blame yourself or what you were doing, no one deserves sexual assault no matter what some will make you believe. If you aren't a victim, do not emphasize the word "allegedly" because 97% of rapists will not spend a day in jail for their crimes, although there is no statue of limitations on rape. Most do not invent allegations of rape, there are no benefits to do so.   Do not counter with the fact the woman was drunk or they had kissed, this does not excuse the actions of the rapist. Pay attention to what partners say, or do that could indicate discomfort. Battle patriarchy and rape culture by demeaning those who make rape jokes or victim blame. And sure as hell don't rape.


  1. 1. Douglas Smith has a massive axe to grind with the University, and has been riling things up for years.

    2. There was no cover up. It was reported at the time: Maybe it's just the places I hang around, but I definitely remember Gibbons being accused back then.

    3. The not so subtle implication here is the University conspired to cover up a star athlete. Gibbons was a run of the mill Freshman kicker who took years to become an average Division 1 kicker. It wasn't until last year that Taylor Lewan started to shine, either. I have a hard time believing the University would interfere in his case, and not, say, Josh Furman's recent run-in with the law. God knows Michigan could use any competent secondary bodies right now.

    I don't know what happened that night. Regardless of the legal technicalities, the victim went through an awful time, and I feel terrible for her.

    That said, this isn't a case of "prosecutor suddenly decides to drop the case and mysteriously gets 50 yard line tickets," it's a he said/she said case that was dropped when the victim declined to press charges. The reaction is reminding me far too much of the Duke lacrosse case a little while back - a trial by public opinion. I really like Damn Arbor, and I'd really rather see it not contribute to the witchhunt.

    1. I should separate myself from Damn Arbor now, because Ben keeps me around to cover events not spend my time conducting witch hunts.

      The way that I noticed people talking about this was sad to me. Focusing on Douglas Smith, or the University. I don't give a flying fuck about that. This should be used as an opportunity to talk about the reality of sexual assault and how our society puts the blame on victims and doesn't promote a culture where rapists get punished for their time.

      I think I might have been taking the coward's way to use someone else's story as an opportunity to discuss this. When I read the police report the main thought I had was "I wonder how mine reads." (and there is no way I am alone on this) My own probably says something about me crying hysterically, screaming that he was a good guy, asking for something to eat. Like the victim, I didn't press charges because, personally, I wanted to internalize that experience, rather than relive it publicly on a regular basis, I don't think I am strong enough for that. That doesn't negate what I or any victim has to go through. For too long the public opinion has been that the victim is guilty unless she's beaten and bloody and that the accused isn't guilty unless he is a stranger with mommy issues. So maybe this is a witch hunt, because I will always believe a victim over the accused. Sorry, if it happened to change your feelings regarding this website, your loss.

  2. @SirNuke Why don't survivors of sexual assaults take the cases to court? Because many DA's (Ann Arbor's included) do not want to take the risk on a trial they might lose (popular athlete vs. a drunk victim doesn't always scream "win" with a DA). I know this firsthand. Want to know why else? Because there is a stigma attached to sexual assault. Survivors are suddenly to blame for destroying a person's life (never mind that their own life is suddenly turned upside down- 33% of sexual assault survivors have suicidal thoughts). I could keep going on this, but clearly it won't make a difference to you. Your apologetics are making me shake with anger.

    Thanks for talking about this, Damn Arbor.


    Note the very small bit about the false accusers.

  4. If this did actually happen, it's a tragedy. But if you do some digging, you find out that she tried to go through 5 different outlets to try and have her story heard, and not one would do anything? I'm hoping this is some sort of revenge plot because maybe gibbons had done something to this girl that's far less serious and she held a grudge. I'd like to think that if a police report was filed, which it was, that something would have come out of this. But nothing has. If this is in any way proved fact, Hoke would get rid of these two in a heartbeat. But with this "incident" reportedly happening when Rodriguez was at the helm, Hoke cannot punish them for this. And I'm sure Hoke has talked to both of these men about the incident. UM is a powerful university yes. But with the writing of the article, which is plainly amateur and biased to the female perspective, I have to at least for know, take this information with a grain of salt. There's no way this story would be reported to 5 different outlets, and not one would have published a story at the time of the report. If the police didn't find sufficient evidence, I have to believe that there is some piece of this puzzle missing. If true it's a terrible tragedy, but as of now, it's all hearsay. It's just sad that something like this can happen not only at Michigan, but at any university.

    1. This is an incredibly deluded comment, matching the ones that I read on other sources. My post was not to give two flying fucks about football or the accused. It was to give people a chance to talk and understand sexual assault in a different manner. You seriously backtracked to a ridiculous place, and I am ashamed for you. Do not think you understand what happened, we can't. "I'm sure Hoke.." You are not sure. You can't be sure.

      God, I AM SURE you sit around Theta Chi and watch Law and Order:SVU, yelling at the TV when a rapist gets time, "WHAT THE HELL DICK WOLF, THATS SOME FEMALE BIASED SHIT."

  5. I knew this girl. She ran cross country for UM. This did happen and yes the University pulled a 'Penn State' and failed to act accordingly to the situation. She had a very tough time recovering from the situation and had to move to a 'girls only' dorm due to threats she was receiving. UM not so classy, after all.

  6. Please, easy with all of the opinions. This was reported at the time. 2 freshman had sex. Yes. The reason no one pressed charges is
    that this was not the first time they were together and had consensual sex. 4 years have gone by for BOTH victims. Leave it alone!