- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003

Now you are hearing that this 19-year-old woman essentially “asked for it” after she accepted Kobe Bryant’s invitation to go to his room.

You are hearing that this woman should have known she was going to have to remove her clothes, get down to business and be thankful for this interaction with a celebrity.

You are hearing all kinds of nonsense from all kinds of sources, often with a chuckle and an elbow to the ribs.

You know guys. Guys are like that.

They are too funny. They are just so cool, so smooth, so smart, so full of themselves.

A lot of them would wet their pants in a dark alley. The experience probably would be helpful. Then they would have an idea of what it sometimes is like to be a woman in America.

This is no joke, regardless of the merits of the she-said, he-said case against Bryant.

We do not know what really happened in Bryant’s room, and we probably are never going to know, not even after the lawyers from both sides have concluded their affairs in the courtroom.

But we know this: There are a lot of pitiful guys out there.

They see a woman bat an eyelash and think she is theirs.

Women head out to the jungle each day with a bull’s-eye on their back. They are the prey. They are the easy targets of pathetic men, some more pathetic than others.

We are not a serious people. No, we are not.

Even many of the women’s groups are not serious.

These groups worry about the male-only membership policy at Augusta National. They worry about the player salaries of the WNBA and a woman playing in a PGA event. They worry about silly stuff.

They should be worried about the Bryant case, or at least what this case highlights, because too many American women have to live with the prospect of fear every day.

Women can’t move about like men. They can’t park in this or that spot in an underground garage, because, well, you just never know. Women have to calibrate the risks in their daily activities, more so than men, because that is just the way it is.

There are all kinds of sexual predators out there. Go online. Some states register these predators by name and address, plus dispense a mug shot for your viewing pleasure.

They are the regular-looking guys in your neighborhood who profess to be all better now. They no longer have those urges. They are rehabilitated, all good, until the next time, and there is often a next time.

We then arrest them and put them away for a few years before patting them on the head and dumping them back on the community.

There is this element of disconnect in the Bryant case. There is this attempt to make sport of what is a serious issue.

Certain sectors of the national media seem to be taking their cues from Mr. Whitefolks, the pimp of HBO documentary fame.

How attractive is she? Was she worth the risk? You have to know this if you are a guy.

We persist in wondering about the physical attributes of the woman.

We question the cloak of anonymity that has been granted to the woman, especially when it is measured against the celebrity-induced fallout around Bryant.

Somehow, it does not seem fair, as if fair has anything to do it.

Bryant earns millions of dollars to take a swig from a bottle of Sprite while the rest of us have to dig into our pockets to have the same drink. See how it works with being a celebrity? Is it fair, or is that just the way it is?

Right. The accuser could be a nutcase. Or she could be an honest-to-goodness victim.

The inclination to lean to the nutcase theory is strong following news reports of two failed suicide attempts by the woman.

That is not a signal to descend into frivolity, because we know better.

We know there is a larger issue in play here, and it is not pretty.

We dispense the words of caution around our mothers, wives, girlfriends and daughters. We know of those women who have been sexually assaulted or treated as punching bags by their so-called loved ones. We read about the freaks.

We have a tendency to wink at it all if a high-profile perpetrator fits our definition of an affable guy.

We did this with O.J. until it was too late for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

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