As we live in a #me too society where millions of women have suffered various means of sexual assault and abuse, it is difficult to determine the level of damage done or how long psychological scars may persist.
For some it could be a lifetime.
Pressing charges and going to court can make the experience even harder, as victims are forced to relive the trauma of their assault, especially when called to testify before their attacker.
Fear, intimidation and anger are just a few of the plethora of emotions a victim can experience.
Though some women also feel strong and empowered because testifying can also give back some of their power; what happens when the assault comes at the hands of a man of status? Can a layman face off against the clout of a music mogul, academy award-winning actor or an NBA all-star legend without being shamed or accused of having malicious intent?
Kobe Bryant’s 2003 assault charge, resulted in a dismissed case when the woman making the claims refused to testify. It remains undetermined what exact reason resulted in her refusal to testify.
As a result of her refusal, a host of speculation and questions arise surrounding the true circumstances of the allegation. Did she refuse to testify out of fear of being discredited and ostracized by a presumably untouchable pro athlete with an icon status?
Or worse, did she see an easy mark and fabricate the assault incident hoping for the type of monetary gain that resulted in the undisclosed settlement she received?
Wouldn’t a true victim of assault feel that no amount of money could ever be accepted for such an unforgivable act?
These questions and more are now the topic of conversation circling social media after Gayle King’s controversial Lisa Leslie Interview. Even with the speculation sparking unverified rumors, it seems only two people will ever really know the truth of what happened all those years ago.
What is known is that Kobe Bryant was a loving father, friend and husband according to accounts by many, and he has paid his debts to society in his passing.
So when Gayle King hosted her interview with Kobe’s long time friend Lisa Leslie, should she have brought up his dismissed case as a measure of defining his character and legacy?
With Kobe passing away so recently his family is freshly mourning and any line of questions such as those posed could only do harm.
What true value or relevance does such a discussion even accomplish?
Furthermore is rape or assault relevant years after occurrence and particularly in the event of a dismissed case? Perhaps Gayle was intending to spark attention and conversation around the idea of whether or not assault should remain relevant once the accused has died.
As Gayle is known to be a long time confidant and friend to Oprah who experienced sexual abuse by her own admission, perhaps she felt obligated to pay homage to the the scars of sexual assault on our culture.
Snoop Dog , the legendary West Coast rapper sure had plenty to say on social media regarding Gayle’s line of questions. The rapper appeared almost out of character as he lashed out in emotional response to the lack of empathy and discretion Gayle presented by mentioning Kobe’s assault.
The long time Lakers supporter has since issued a public apology for his own remarks, though many fans agree with his frustrations. What possible relevance can an alleged assault have at a time when the world is mourning not only his loss but also that of his innocent daughter.
The last thing the family will want to process is smearing of Kobe’s name and legacy by a trusted and respected media authority.
Now that Kobe has been lain to rest, hopefully, the discussion of his past alleged discretion can also be left as Lisa Leslie stated, “dismissed.”