If you've been on the internet for the last eight hours, you've seen the NYTimes deep dive into the Jameis Winston sexual assault "investigation," which I put in quotes because the piece makes clear that more effort was spent figuring out who shot JR than into the Tallahassee Police Department's case.
The piece is long, and detailed, and involves such winning moments as:
Officer Pate’s blunt interviewing style did not help, the student said. "The first thing he asked me," she recounted, "was if I was sure this was rape or if I just didn’t want a baby or wanted the morning after pill." He also made comments, she said, "like, ‘Are you sure you want to file a report? It will be very awkward, especially for a female.’"
Deadspin has a solid rundown of everything the TPD did wrong on this case based on the article, including fairly basic things like "not seeking the videotapes of the incident before they were erased" and "not obtaining a DNA sample despite being asked to do so by the accuser's attorney" and "making the public think that the alleged victim 'chose not to cooperate'" and "generally being awful at police work."
But if you've been following the Winston case since it emerged in the national media last year, you know most of this information. You may have come up with some clever missive like "Forced Sex University" or some such bullshit because Florida State kicked your team's ass last year or two years ago or in that bowl game you're still mad about. Maybe you were one of the people tweeting about "deferred outrage" and "clickbait" and asking in plaintive cries, "why is this relevant?" like they probably did in the comments section on articles about this case or this case or this case or this case or this case.
Normally, I would ignore such rhetorical questions because they tend to come from people who think that a sexual assault investigation that doesn't end in a trial isn't "relevant" unless it happened fifteen seconds ago but will probably reference Aaron Hernandez in anti-Florida Gators screeds from now until eternity because sure, an alleged murderer is why Florida lost to Missouri this year, obviously.
Here is why this report, and others like it, is relevant:
Because, for some reason, sexual assault is treated at universities and colleges like mine and probably like yours in a manner that doesn't serve victims or those accused.
Because young women* think sexual assault is "normal" and we blame the victims of sexual assault because what were they wearing? What were they doing? What made them think they could wear that or say that or be like that or be there without something bad happening to them? You know women just want to fuck Division 1 football players for the fame/money/because they are sad pathetic whores and women lie about rape all the time so it's probably her fault anyway.* *
Because college football is fucking awesome, and your college football team is the fucking awesomest, and when an investigation like this happens and it's your team, you feel sick inside, and sometimes you hope that it's all some weird misunderstanding because this couldn't happen at Michigan or Florida State or your favorite school, right?
Because this didn't happen, and in cases like this, seems to never happen:
"It makes the most sense to me, if somebody comes in to report a violent crime, investigate it, and we’ll talk about what to do with it after we’ve collected the evidence and have the most thorough picture," she said.
Because sexual assault is a crime, and should be treated as such by all parties, even if it involves football and the media and the batshit insanity that is sports. And when it's not, when it's made into either a means of silencing victims or hounding the innocent, that's a goddamn shame, and we should report on it and talk about it until it stops fucking happening.
We still don't know what really happened in this case. The investigation was a crock, and neither Jameis Winston nor the alleged victim were served by it. All we know is that this keeps happening, and is still happening, and will probably happen again. And that's pretty damn relevant.
* Young men who are victims of sexual assault are left out of the story far too often. As this case involved a female victim, I refer to women.
**If you think this way, please keep it to yourself, as you are an absolute piece of shit, and pieces of shit, in general, can't type, as they do not have arms or fingers. There is absolutely nothing on the face of the earth that warrants sexual assault, including being drunk as hell or wearing something "slutty" or "being out so late." Sexual assault is a crime that breaks you into tiny shards of a human. It is not "inevitable" or "justified."