Believers stand up for alleged victim
Webelieverher.com has been running since late last summer. It stands in stark contrast to the Web sites where Bryant’s fans have hammered their invective.
Why they believe
“Those of us who put this Web site together have worked closely with rape victims for years and have born witness to the pain caused by this most heinous trauma, and the strength they’ve found through the healing process,” said the Web site’s home page.
The site lists no names or contact information for those handling it. E-mails to the site were not returned Tuesday.
The site was launched in direct response to the “flood of victim-blaming, misogynist and blatantly false information swirling around in cyberspace,” the Web site operators wrote. “While supporters have rallied around the sports celebrity, his victim has received little widespread support, in the media or elsewhere.”
Occasionally, a Kobe fan will launch into a tirade on webelieveher.com, attacking the alleged victim and extolling Bryant. Those messages don’t stay posted for long.
“We’ve deleted three more non-supportive signers from the WeBelieveHer main page since Sunday,” the site says. “We will continue to remove any victim-blaming, non-supportive postings. We believe these to be the work of one or two individuals with nothing better to do than assert their uninformed, petty beliefs in an inappropriate forum.”
The site says Bryant’s alleged victim has been revictimized by a sensationalism-driven media, so-called friends and total strangers who don’t know her, don’t know Bryant, and don’t know any of the details of the case.
“By saying we believe her, we don’t say we don’t believe him,” the site says. “Chances are, both of them believe they are telling the truth about what happened in that hotel suite back in June.”
The difference, the site says, is that while Kobe Bryant is given the benefit of the doubt by the media and an adoring public, his victim has been thrown to the wolves.
Some who believe her
“I am sickened at how the public and the media are treating her,” said Crystal in her e-mail to webelieveher.com. “The public (especially sports fans) makes matters worse by blaming the victim (“She knew what would happen when she went in his room’). It doesn’t matter if she went in his room. After all, she worked there. It doesn’t matter if she consented to kissing and/or petting. The second she withdrew consent, the acts were no longer consensual, and he was obligated to stop. If he does not stop after consent is withdrawn, it is rape.”
Ashley says she works as a sexual assault counselor at a dual domestic violence and sexual assault center in a large college town. She said they deal with numerous women who say they have been assaulted by collegiate athletes. She said many do not come forward because of the victim-blaming attitudes of society.
“I believe her and I honor her strength and courage to come forward!” Ashley said.
Seth, who says he is a registered nurse, blasted media coverage, calling it a “disgusting display of greedy childish banter and pure lack of respect.”