Lessons in Faking It

Three University of Oregon basketball players, who crowded into a bathroom with a drunken young woman and treated her like a glory hole, thought she was being a good sport.

“It seemed like she was cool with it …,” Dominic Artis is quoted as saying in a Eugene Police Department report, referring to the UO freshman he and his teammates are accused of raping.

“(Damyean) Dotson said he thought she was cool with what they were doing,” the police report said, quoting the second player.

Considering that the third teammate — Brandon Austin — also joined in the festivities, he must have thought she was being cool with it, too.

However, he declined an interview with police, referring all questions to his attorney. Smart move in his case, since he is already under investigation for alleged sex abuse at Providence College in Rhode Island.

The Lane County District Attorney’s Office in Eugene declined to prosecute the trio because of insufficient evidence.

It’s easy to see why.

The young woman, by her own admission, also wanted to be cool with it. Had she not told her father, and had her father not called the police, we probably wouldn’t have heard about it.

“I want them to get a slap on the wrist,” she told police when asked if she wanted to pursue criminal charges.

A slap on the wrist?

She did not want to be seen with a uniformed police officer. She did not initially return police phone calls. And she thought that being led into a bathroom and having sex with three guys she had just met was part of college fun.

“We were all drunk, and it got a little bit out of hand,” she told police.

The men were campus celebrities. Shortly after arriving at the party where she met them, she immediately knew their names because “they look like they do on the basketball cards they hand out at games.”

They complimented her and then led her to the bathroom.

The 24-page police report is riddled with black squares, blotting out her name. Presumably this spares her public humiliation, but it perpetuates the belief that females who have been sexually abused are damaged goods.

There’s no anonymity for the three basketball players, who have been kicked off the team for “conduct that isn’t befitting of a university of Oregon student athlete.”

The teammates and the young woman made two trips to the bathroom. On the first trip, one of the guys sat on the toilet, grabbed her hair and brought her mouth to his penis, while his teammate stood behind her and had vaginal intercourse.

Someone walked in on them, and they moved out of the bathroom. She asked for, and received, a glass of water. She briefly mingled with some other partygoers, then she and the basketball trio made a second trip to the bathroom.

“I don’t remember intercourse, but they had me suck their dicks,” she told police.

A friend of the victim’s told police the young woman was not “highly intoxicated,” and the friend warned her “the men only wanted to use her for sex.” The friend tried to get her to leave, but she refused.

Witnesses reported she “was flirty with Dotson” after the bathroom incidents.

Later, she climbed into the back of a taxi with the three teammates, and a fourth man sat up front in the passenger seat. In interviews with the police, she remembered the exact fare of the cab – $13.60 – another indication that she was not so drunk that she was mentally impaired.

They arrived at Artis’ apartment, and she ended up in a bedroom, on the bed, on all fours, with three of the men taking turns and the fourth looking on.

“No matter what I did, their dicks were right there in my face,” she said.

She heard one of the men say, “You gotta get a piece of this.”

It was at that point she started to cry. They immediately stopped.

One of them said, “I think we fucked her too hard.”

She told police she spent the night at Artis’ apartment because she was too intoxicated to make it back to her dorm room safely. Artis told police that in the morning, they had sex. She confirmed they had oral sex.

Later in the day, the victim went to visit a male friend and found Artis and Dotson at the same apartment playing video games. She commiserated with her friend about how she thought she was the victim of sexual assault. Her friend told her they could hang out in his room. He tried to cheer her up and make her laugh. They had consensual sex.

What a joyless affair.

Sounds nothing like the sex in the music this young woman probably likes to listen to. Is she a Beyoncé fan? If so, she might want to read what Monica Lewinsky – “the premiere queen of blow jobs” – has to say in Vanity Fair.

Referring to Beyoncé’s lyrics in her hit “Partition,” Lewinsky reminds the singer who really left the semen stain: “Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d.’”

Instead of protesting the university’s lack of responsiveness to the alleged rape, the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence should study the police report for useful lessons.

Although information in a police report is based on interviews with people who may have reason not to tell the truth, the young woman and the two players who were interviewed agreed on a key point: When she finally said no – when she started to cry, and the teammates realized she wasn’t into it – they immediately stopped.

Maybe the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence could offer a seminar on how it has come to be that so many men think they have a God-given right to  a blow job, and young women think they have to comply.

Several years ago, I was walking around the Reed College campus and went into the student union to use the women’s restroom. Among the graffiti in the stall, written in a large scrawl, was this: “I love sucking dick!”

I got out my pen and wrote underneath it: “Do you also enjoy faking it?”

This is how it is, but nobody wants to be a spoilsport. Drink up, girls. Maybe you won’t notice you’re being used.

With Lewinsky back in the news, writer Megan Carpenter recently revisited those years. The UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence might want to study it, too:

“Blow jobs were fraught in the nineties. They weren’t really outré any more – no longer the thing the bad girls did and the good girls avoided. If anything, they were more of a thing that good girls did to avoid being ‘bad’ girls by having vaginal sex. … But they were also the ultimate expression of sex that men wanted and women gave: supposedly ‘unfeminist,’ unreciprocated, gross, uncomfortable, heavy with unspoken power dynamics. Women who gave blow-jobs willy-nilly were the ones who made it harder for other women not to give blow jobs – so somehow, no matter what you did, you weren’t ever going to be doing it right.’”

Women who really should know better became part of the problem.

In 1998, Time contributor and White House correspondent Nina Burleigh in an interview with Mirabella (referring to Bill Clinton’s impeachment): “I would be happy to give him a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”

What kind of trade-off is that?

The UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence is loath to say anything that might be perceived as blaming the victim. Nothing is likely to change, though, until we acknowledge how deep the blame goes.


The Mice That Won’t Roar


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