Today in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Sexual violence; victim-blaming; harassment; police misconduct.]

Patrick Kane, a professional hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks, has been accused of rape. According to the woman who made the allegations, she accompanied a friend to Kane's house in Hamburg, New York, near his hometown of Buffalo, on August 2nd, where he then raped her.

This case has followed the predictably horrifying pattern that will be familiar to anyone who has watched any sports hero be investigated for rape: The accuser is victim-blamed and harassed, the accused's fans defend him and attack critics in the most despicable fashion, sports writers who don't know the first thing about the rape culture write risible thinkpieces that are little more than a collection of rape apologia greatest hits, those tasked with justice don't effectively do the job they are meant to do.

But the Patrick Kane case has elevated these sickeningly routine dynamics to a new level, as the harassment of the victim now includes the packaging of what appears to be the tampered rape kit being left on her mother's doorstep. Dave Zirin:
The rape kit, according to anonymous sources that emerged last week, showed no evidence of Kane's DNA, although the absence of DNA does not mean an assault did not take place. On Wednesday, the accuser's lawyer, Thomas Eoannou, held an extraordinary press conference where he held up the torn and damaged rape kit of his client—clearly labeled with her name, date of birth, and the ID number of the nurse who did the exam—and said that it had been deposited on the doorstep of the victim's mother. Eoannou said that he hoped it had been put there, in his words, by "a good Samaritan" attempting to show that the kit had been tampered with either by the hospital staff or the police.

There is also the obscene, and frankly more likely possibility that someone crammed the bag in between the storm door and front door of her mother's home to taunt the victim and her family. ...No matter the motivations, the very idea of a rape kit being taken out of police custody and torn open is criminal and appalling. As Eoannou said, "In a rape case, the victim gets attacked. It's called victim bashing. It's absolutely atrocious. ...This is a classic example of why rape victims don't come forward in rape cases."
And, unless the police department was so indifferent to securing the rape kit that a stranger could wander in and grab it (or its packaging), which is a special sort of incompetent cruelty of its own, someone from or affiliated with the police department was the one who nicked it.

But the police seem to be implying that the rape kit packaging left at the victim's door was fake:
The Hamburg Police Department put out this statement about the bag after Eoannou's announcement Wednesday. "In regard to the information conveyed today by Mr. Thomas Eoannou, the Hamburg Police Department will cooperate with any authorized investigation regarding the handling of evidence and the procedure of such."

It continued: "That said, The Hamburg Police Department has documentation that unequivocally demonstrates that it's [sic] handling of the evidence and the integrity of it's [sic] chain of custody of evidence in this case is unassailable. As is policy with active investigations, there will be no further comment regarding this situation."

Erie County Commissioner of Central Police Services John Glascott also said his department, which handles evidence analysis, followed all proper procedures and that all of the evidence was accounted for.

"All evidence related to this case that was given to Erie County Central Police Services by the Town of Hamburg Police Department is accounted for and remains in its original packaging in the possession of Erie County Central Police Services," Glascott said in a written statement. "This includes the evidence in the rape kit and the packaging itself. This evidence has been analyzed and reports of that analysis sent to the appropriate agencies."
So, the chain of custody is unassailable, all proper procedures were followed, and all evidence is accounted for, including the rape kit and its packaging.

If that's accurate, it still doesn't rule out the possibility that someone at the police department with access to the rape kit provided the information—the accuser's name, date of birth, and the ID number of the nurse who did the exam—to whoever created the possibly faked evidence bag. Or used the information to create it hirself.

The only other possibility, if it is indeed not the original rape kit evidence, is that someone at the hospital provided or used the information.

(I haven't been able to figure out if there is any chance that someone at the hospital actually provided a fake kit to police, and the kit left at the door was the real one.)

This is a total clusterfuck of professional misconduct, and the betrayal and revictimization of a survivor of rape.

Meanwhile, Patrick Kane continues to play hockey.

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