I was sort of wondering what was going on when I saw this CBS News headline, “A West Point cadet was sentenced to 21 years in prison for raping a sleeping classmate. Now, he’s free to return to school.” How in the world could a rapist sentenced to 21 years get to go back to school? Of course, it turns out he was found innocent on appeal. So, he’s not a rapist, he’s an innocent man, but as you’re about to see, once a man is charged, it doesn’t matter to a lot of people whether he’s found innocent.
In July 2016, U.S. Military Academy Cadet Jacob Whisenhunt was sentenced to 21 years in prison and discharged from the Army after being found guilty raping a female classmate as she slept in a nearby sleeping bag during Cadet Field Training at Camp Buckner. Whisenhunt’s defense was that what transpired between him and the female cadet was consensual. But after a four-day trial, a jury of West Point faculty and staff found him guilty on three counts of sexual assault.
I find it interesting that they print the name of this man accused of rape even after he’s found innocent, but not the name of the woman that accused him, even though the ruling of the appeals court makes it clear that they believed she lied. I think her name deserves to be just as prominently displayed as his, if not moreso. Now, back to the article,
The three appellate military judges who overturned Whisenhunt’s conviction ruled that circumstantial evidence backed up Whisenhunt’s defense that the act was consensual, based on the fact that the woman — identified by the initials LM — did not struggle loudly enough to alert other cadets who were sleeping nearby.
“It is even harder to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant would anticipate that LM would not make any reflexive noise or movements upon being awakened, which would have alerted multiple others to his criminal activity,” the ruling reads. “This is particularly true when there is no evidence that appellant threatened LM or took any steps, such as covering her mouth, to prevent an outcry.”
After reading up on it, here’s the situation. Whisenhunt and this woman had sex. She claims it was rape. He claims that they made out first, it was completely consensual and that they both worked together to keep quiet.
At the time they had sex, they were in an open area with other soldiers MERE FEET AWAY sleeping. In other words, at any point from the time he first touched her until the end had she said ANYTHING like — “Get off me, creepo!” “Stop!” “What are you doing!” — they would have been discovered. In addition, there are no claims that he threatened her, tried to silence her or made any effort to hide his identity. He even left his semen in her sleeping bag. Does this make any sense? That a woman would silently allow herself to be raped with no threat involved and help mere feet away while the rapist made no attempt to hide his identity and somehow assumed he could get away with sexual assault despite the fact that it was impossible unless his victim cooperated with him and made sure to be super quiet while it’s happening?
Yet and still, we get the line that the REAL victim here isn’t the guy who’s being treated like a rapist after he was found innocent, it’s women….
Former Air Force chief prosecutor, retired Col. Don Christensen, told CBS News the ruling sends “a horrible message.”
“Their opinion is victim-blaming,” he said. “It reads like something from decades ago. Their two bases for overturning the conviction — one was that the victim didn’t act the way they wanted, and the other was that the accused surely wouldn’t rape somebody that he knew, which shows that these three judges haven’t got a clue when it comes to what sexual assault looks like. So, it’s just going to send an incredibly bad message to the survivor community.”
Don Christensen and CBS News seem to be the ones victim-blaming here because Jacob Whisenhunt was found innocent and quite frankly, the story the woman was telling sounds pretty unbelievable. The whole idea that men that are accused of rape need to be sent to jail whether they’re guilty or not, so it won’t send a bad message to women who’ve been raped that are deciding whether to come forward, is shameful and un-American.