Much of the nation’s sports world this week was focused on Vanderbilt University. No, the Commodores were not playing. Instead, in a Nashville courtroom a rape case dragged into its third week and ultimately a verdict came down that was heard around the nation.
On June 23, 2013, a female Vanderbilt student went out to a bar in Nashville. The Tin Roof is a popular nightspot, not far from the Vanderbilt campus. While there, she ran into Brandon Vandenburg. Vandenburg was a member of the Vanderbilt football team, and she and Vandenburg had dated at least briefly.
That was an encounter that would change both of their lives.
During her testimony at the trial, she told the jury that Vandenburg had given her three drinks and then she started on a fourth: a blue drink.
That was the last thing she remembered.
In court, she said she had never been as drunk as she was that night. She said that later she woke up the next morning in a strange room.
What she doesn’t remember shocked jurors and led to the conviction of Vandenburg and a second football player, Corey Batey.
That night, she was carried back to the dorm unconscious. There, she was stripped, raped by at least two Vanderbilt football players. Vandenburg, Batey and another football player recorded photos and video on their cell phones.
As a final insult, Batey urinated on the woman.
The woman did not remember anything, and the incident only came to light when those photos and videos were shared with other people.
On Tuesday, a jury convicted Vandenburg and Batey of multiple counts of rape and sexual battery. Their bail was revoked, and they were taken to jail. The two will spend a minimum of 15 calendar years in prison and probably a lot more. It may be decades before either of those alleged “men” get out of prison.
The chance encounter that June night changed everyone’s lives. But it also is a lesson for people as well.
The Obama Regime has been pushing colleges to change their rules on how rape cases are treated on campus. This is not the way they are treated in the criminal justice system, but only how colleges deal with someone accused of rape in the university.
The Vanderbilt case shows that rape cases belong in the criminal justice system, not in some academic disciplinary system.
But there is a more important story here that every college age woman should pay attention to.
Cops, prosecutors, victim’s advocates and so-called activists always say, “You can’t blame the victim in a rape case.” To a certain extent this is true. The victim in the Vanderbilt rape case is not an alleged victim. She was raped. She did not deserve to be raped and this alleged “man” she had dated should have stepped up and protected her instead of betraying her.
However, there is one important fact that everyone glosses over.
In legal terms, it is called voluntary intoxication.
According to the testimony, the victim had enough alcohol that she both blacked out and passed out. Pointing this fact out is not blaming the victim. It is a warning for everyone else.
We warn women not to walk in dark areas alone or park their car at the mall at night away from other cars and lights. So why aren’t we warning women of the danger here?
When young people go to college, they often do very foolish things. This includes excessive partying. The message of the Vanderbilt rape trial is this: When a woman or even a man drinks to the point where they are unconscious, bad things can happen. Bad things will happen.
In a statement, the Vanderbilt victim said she hoped her story would spur discussions on how to end sexual violence on campus.
One of the best ways to end sexual violence on campus is to teach women not to put themselves in a position where this can happen. Don’t drink to the point you are so intoxicated that you cannot protect yourself or you pass out.
It is safe to say, had the victim not been intoxicated, the events of June 23, 2013, would not have happened.
By March in middle Tennessee, spring football practice will be underway at Vanderbilt and Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey will be sentenced for their crimes. Because of multiple convictions involving sexual assault, the judge can run these sentences consecutively. These young men may well be old men before they are released from prison. Under Tennessee law, these men will have to serve all of their sentences.
And as they are sentenced, the victim in this matter must go on with her life as she deals with the trauma of what was done to her.
But the enduring story of this horrible crime and the trial that followed should be how preventable the whole thing was — and this should become a cautionary story for women in college everywhere.