Do Your Google Search Results Imply You Were Asking For It?

Illustration for article titled Do Your Google Search Results Imply You Were Asking For It?

23-year-old Jennifer Bennett was beaten, choked, and raped for 5 hours by her Match.com date, anesthesiologist Dr. Thomas Bray. Her rapist was eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison, but not before Bray's legal team attempted to look through Bennett's Facebook account, email, and Google search queries — the latter of which is an extremely rare ruling and was unprecedented in Oregon, the state in which the crime took place.

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Since Bennett, who is impossibly brave and badass — she refused to bring her computer and journals to court even when subpoenaed because she didn't think it was fair — chose not to stay nameless (because she felt that would imply she had done something wrong), she also had to deal with internet commenters who thought she was dumb for going back to a guy's apartment on the first date and local TV reports highlighting her bra size.

If you knew you'd have to go through all that in order to put your rapist behind bars — in addition to what you had gone through already — would you do it?

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Bennett said she was assaulted so roughly that she scattered her hair around Bray's condo so that, if she disappeared, people would know she had been there. Bray's defense? Bennett, who had a black eye and a swollen neck after that night, was just feeling weird about the "rough sex" the two had. Christ. Even Christian Grey didn't force Anastasia to pull out her hair due to desperation.

Two judges ordered the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office to acquire Bennett's Google search history, apparently so that the defense could see if she had ever Googled the definition of rape, which could imply she didn't understand what rape was. Wait, what's the term for that thing when you're brutally beaten and sexually assaulted for hours? Foreplay?

This story has somewhat of a happy ending: the prosecution refused to provide that information, and Bray was eventually found guilty of rape, sodomy, strangulation and assault. But the same judge found Bray not guilty of raping, choking and beating a different 21-year-old student that he dated for 3 weeks last year, in part because said student had continued to see Bray after the alleged incident. What a slut! We wonder what she Googled while she was considering bringing charges against her rapist: "Why is my legal system so incredibly fucked up?"

Bend rape victim — focus of attempt to search her Google queries — speaks out [The Oregonian]

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DISCUSSION

cheeseprom
notthatmuchcheese

This is hitting incredibly close to home. On a recent first date, even though I wasn't having that great a time with the guy, I went back to his place. We had been walking around his neighborhood and he had sort of led me there without telling me beforehand (dick move). I told him that I didn't want to go any further than making out, and even attempted to leave at one point. We ended up having sex with him putting his hand on my neck. To be clear, it was NOWHERE NEAR as violent or egregious as what happened in Bennett's case. I don't consider it rape, because part of me wanted fool around and I did consent in the end. The lines just became so blurry and the situation so gray and then I was like, "fine, do you have a condom." Looking back, as uncomfortable as I had been, I should have just said "No! I'm leaving." But in the moment, going with the flow seemed like an better/easier option. I hate that it seemed that way. I hate that I was put in that position. And it's such a common situation for women to find themselves in! I wish I hadn't gone with the flow, though I know I'm not "to blame" for anything. But it scares me to think how differently things might have gone if I'd been less "cooperative." Bennett indeed sounds incredibly brave and I applaud her for sticking up for her own rights, even when they were threatened by law. Shame on Bray of course and shame on the system that put her through the ringer once more.