Feature

Women, rape, and football stars

The circumstances surrounding the Jameis Winston case are “maddeningly familiar.”

Katie McDonoughSalon.com

A football star, accused of sexual assault by a young woman. Special treatment of the star by police, and in the end, no charges—with attacks on the woman’s character. Those are the “maddeningly familiar” circumstances surrounding the Jameis Winston case, said Katie McDonough. Florida law-enforcement officials announced last week that there was insufficient evidence to charge Winston, a Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy front-runner, with sexual battery. The state had taken over the case in November—almost a year since a woman told the Tallahassee Police Department she’d been raped by Winston. The accuser says she was told by a detective that “Tallahassee was a big football town,” and that if she dared take on Winston, she’d be “raked over the coals.” The detective was right. Winston wasn’t asked for a DNA sample for a year, and then said the sex was consensual. In local coverage of the case, Winston was fawningly referred to as a “football hero” suffering the “turmoil” of rape allegations, while his accuser was attacked as a drunken liar. Now the case is closed, “but the question of whether justice was served remains.”

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