Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Violence
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and as many as seven other people were killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles on 26th of January, 2020.
Kobe Bryant did notably work in the field of basketball but one should not forget about what transpired on the night of June 30, 2003, at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, in Colorado. A 19 year old girl said that, after giving Bryant a tour of the hotel, she consented to go to his room and kiss him, but he then began to grope her and forced himself on her. She said he choked her for much of the rape. “Every time I said ‘no,’ he tightened his hold around me,” she told police, according to court documents obtained by The Daily Beast.
The nurse stated that there were several lacerations to the survivor’s vaginal area and two of the lacerations were 1 cm in length. Detective Winters, the consultant detective on the case, testified that there were numerous 2 mm lacerations as well. The nurse further stated that the injuries were consistent with penetrating genital trauma which is not consistent with consensual sex.
Detective Winters further stated that the nurse told him the vaginal lacerations had most likely occurred within 24 hours, and the accuser had a bruise on her left jaw line, there was blood found on Kobe’s t-shirt which matched the DNA of her blood. Afterward, she told cops that Bryant warned her, “[This] is just between the two, the two of us, nobody is gonna know about this, you’re not going to tell anybody.”
A 19 year old girl said that, after giving Bryant a tour of the hotel, she consented to go to his room and kiss him, but he then began to grope her and forced himself on her. She said he choked her for much of the rape.
“I didn’t force her to do anything against her will. I’m innocent,” he said at a news conference after being charged — with wife Vanessa standing by his side.“I sit here in front of you guys furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery.” In an interview with cops, Bryant allegedly admitted to choking the woman but implied it was a sexual kink of his. Prosecutors dropped the charges — which could have sent Bryant to prison for life — in 2004 after the accuser decided against testifying. A civil case she brought against him was settled out of court in 2005 for an undisclosed amount. Part of the suit involved a public apology from Bryant.
Just because the girl was too traumatised to go ahead with the trial and was settled with a sum later on, doesn’t mean that Kobe Bryant was innocent. The medical examinations and DNA testing clearly directed that she was indeed, raped by him and the charges were credible. “Too many vaginal lacerations” do not occur after consensual sex. He officially confessed and apologized for “unknowingly raping a 19 year old”.
Why Are These Men Allowed To Be Heroes?
No matter what his contribution has been to the NBA, Kobe Bryant will always be a man who raped a girl and inflicted sexual violence and trauma upon her.
“Yes Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but he’s also faced a very credible rape accusation where the woman was choked and submitted to a rape-kit test which found injuries “not consistent with consensual sex,” Nathan McDermott (CNN reporter), tweeted. He recieved a lot of backlash for it. “Think whatever you want about him, but if you think this is immaterial and shouldn’t be talked about in the aftermath of his death, well, I think you’re wrong.” He later added.
The medical examinations and DNA testing clearly directed that she was indeed, raped by him and the charges were credible. “Too many vaginal lacerations” do not occur after consensual sex. He officially confessed and apologized for “unknowingly raping a 19 year old”.
Felicia Sonmez is a national political reporter for The Washington Post who was suspended by the newspaper on Sunday after controversial tweet hours after Kobe Bryant died in helicopter crash. She tweeted link to a 2016 story about the 2003 rape allegations against Bryant. Twitter users blasted Sonmez for the timing of the post, which she then deleted. Sonmez replied that 10,000 people sent her ‘abuse and death threats’.
Similar to this case in the Indian context, Kiran Nagarkar, after whose death literary clubs and social media couldn’t stop gushing about his untimely demise and celebrated his death and contribution to literature. But nobody talked about how he sexually assaulted three women and how it must be for them looking at their sexual harasser being turned into a hero.
A fan of Bryant tweeted in his defence, “Have some respect for the dead”.
Well, what about the respect of the girl he raped? How can his death absolve the fact that he was a perpetrator of sexual violence?
Featured Image Source: ABC