“The only thing as vicious as rape is falsely accusing someone of rape.” These are the infamous words of Jameis Winston, an incredibly talented NFL quarterback. In high school, he was called the best overall quarterback recruit by ESPN, in college he led Florida State University (FSU) to a national championship and was the youngest person to win a Heisman trophy, all as a redshirt freshman, and today he plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Clearly, being accused of rape twice in college has destroyed his life. In the highly esteemed documentary, The Hunting Ground, directed by Oscar-nominated and two-time Emmy award winner Kirby Dick, Erica Kinsman, the FSU student who accused Winston of raping her, gave up anonymity to share her story with the world, in an emotional and heartbreaking ten minute interview.
She recounts being raped by an unknown assailant on December 6, 2012, who she believed drugged her drink at a bar and brought her home to his apartment where he repeatedly and brutally sexually assaulted her, despite being told to stop multiple times by her and a witness. The FSU Police Department (PD) took her to the hospital where she underwent a rape kit. The Tallahassee PD was then involved, but they did nothing. Winston was not identified until Kinsman discovered on the first day of class, to her horror, that her rapist was her fellow classmate. When she reported her rapist’s identity to a Tallahassee PD detective, she was told that Tallahassee was big football town and nothing was done. In fact, the police waited two weeks to even notify Winston.
Nothing continued to be done until almost a year later. In fact, the New York Times found “there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university”. With Winston poised to win the Heisman Trophy and carry FSU to the national championship, Kinsman’s case was turned over to the state attorney. The state attorney refused to press charges, alleging that there was not enough evidence, but social media, the news pundits and the FSU student body charged Kinsman with being a jealous slut deserving of death threats and were delighted when she dropped out of school.
It wasn’t until over a year after the rape did a second victim came forward and Winston’s DNA was finally tested. His DNA was found in the Kinsman’s rape kit, but he claimed consensual sex and refused to answer questions. The investigation and case was closed, but not without Kinsman being vilified and forced to relive her traumatic night by the media who talked about how “terribly, terribly, terribly unfair” it all was to Winston. Shockingly, it wasn’t until two years later did a hearing by FSU occur. At this hearing, Jameis Winston claimed that he had consent from Kinsman because she was moaning, but considering that Kinsman was covered in bruises when admitted to the hospital and said her head was violently bashed against the tile, that’s neither surprising nor a form of consent.
Jameis Winston has managed to have an illustrious career despite these disgusting allegations, but that all may soon come crashing down as the NFL has decided to investigate a March 2016 claim of Winston sexually assaulting an Uber driver. The Uber driver who has only been identified by Kate told Buzzfeed News that Winston grabbed her crotch after a hellish night of driving Winston as he screamed homophobic slurs. Winston claims that she is mistaken and that someone else in the car did that, but Kate refutes this, saying that she clearly remembers only having Winston in the car and in the front seat.
In a time where everyday people are sharing their tales of sexual assault through the #MeToo Twitter campaign and famous men and women are coming forward to cast out the Hollywood elitist pedophiles and rapists and finally achieving justice, recognition and support, I think now more than ever that justice will finally be served and Jameis Winston will get what he so rightfully deserves. There are certainly cases of false rape allegations, but three false sexual assault allegations is a bit hard to believe. Hopefully now, Erica Kinsman and Kate will receive the closure they deserve.