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March 30, 2011 / Anna Louie Sussman

To the victim-blaming, let’s add a lawsuit. Rape victim Eman al-Obaidy is now a defendant.

The NYT reports today that the accused militia members have filed a lawsuit against Ms. al-Obaidy.  Here is the glorious victim-blaming Libyan government spokesman Mr. Musa Ibrahim again:

“Oh, yeah, they have filed a case,” the spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, said. “The boys who she accused of rape are bringing a case because it is a very grave offense to accuse someone of a sexual crime.”

….

Mr. Ibrahim initially described her as drunk and potentially delusional. Then, later on Saturday, he called her sober and sane. And on Sunday he termed her a prostitute and a thief.

In addition to the creepy, high-school-era sneer (“Oh, yeaaahh…”), there’s something frightfully reminiscent about the heavily-criticized, victim-blaming attitude captured by the NYT’s reporting on a gang-rape in Texas, where many of the local residents expressed less concern for the victim than for their “boys.”

The case has rocked this East Texas community to its core and left many residents in the working-class neighborhood where the attack took place with unanswered questions. Among them is, if the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

This is absolutely not to suggest that false rape allegations are anything but serious, but it is wildly anachronistic to counter-sue an alleged rape victim before you have been proven innocent.  If these are false allegations, then the militia members should await trial and rest assured they will be proven innocent.  Charges for slander can follow.  Otherwise, sit tight, “boys,” and let the victim have her day in court.  Which reminds me — where the eff is she?

Journalists have been unable to learn Ms. al-Obeidy’s whereabouts since she was removed by force from the Rixos Hotel here after scuffles between security personnel, hotel staff and foreign journalists she had been trying to approach on Saturday.

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