- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Matt Lauer’s been accused of rape by a woman, Brooke Nevils, with whom he’s already admitted having an affair — by a woman, Brooke Nevils, who accused rape at the same time admitting she then continued to have sex with him on various and numerous future occasions.

It’s a curious claim for Nevils to make; a rape that led to a longer term romance, and all.

But no matter who’s telling the truth, who’s not, there are lessons here that can be learned. Particularly, for women.

Particularly for women who genuinely want to do what they can to protect themselves from abusive predatory pieces of scum — and in so doing, help other women protect themselves from similarly abusive predatory pieces of scum.

Lauer, it should be noted, in a three-page open letter, has denied the rape allegations, which came to light in a book written by Ronan Farrow.

He says the anal sex was consensual.

He also points to the fact that Nevils continued to have a sexual relationship with him post Sochi Olympics, post-2014, the time of their first encounter — post-alleged rape — as proof that he’s telling the truth.

Lauer’s got a case.

Nevils’ story, told to Farrow, is this: She said that after she and Lauer downed several drinks, including vodka shots, in the bar-slash-restaurant area of the Sochi hotel, he invited her to go to his private hotel room. She said yes.

“[I] had no reason to suspect Lauer would be anything but friendly based on prior experience,” Nevils told Farrow in his book.

She said it wasn’t long before Lauer threw her on the bed and raped her.

She said she continued to see Lauer romantically for some time after that alleged rape because she worried he would end her career if she stopped having sex with him.

Not exactly an airtight accuser, is she?

Here’s the thing: A woman who claims rape ought to be given the benefit of the doubt. She ought to be automatically treated with sympathy, compassion — and legal help. She ought to be given the encouragement to be courageous enough to testify against her attackers so that justice might prevail, and so that warning messages might be sent to all the other would-be attackers of the world. 

But Nevils isn’t that woman. She’s an exception to the “ought to.”

Fact is, you can’t engage in an adulterous relationship, an adulterous alcohol-fueled relationship, then go back in time, when the relationship ends, and say oh hey, you know that first time we had sex? — well it was really a rape.

Well, actually, you can.

But it sure doesn’t sell as a story of total and unquestionable truth. It sure doesn’t present as proof of victimhood.

Moreover, it sure doesn’t help the cause of women who are viciously sexually abused and raped — and afraid to come forward because they don’t think they’ll be believed.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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