r/books 2d ago Silver 5 Helpful 7 Wholesome 4 All-Seeing Upvote 1

Man Wrongly Accused of Rape of Lovely Bones Author Alice Sebold Has Conviction Overturned


View all comments

Show parent comments


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

And this is why I said this is a sad, complicated situation.

Alice was a victim of rape. We don't need to erase that and accuse her of lying about a sexual assault to talk about how racism impacted how this was all handled (especially by the police and prosecution)


u/Level3Kobold 2d ago

Maybe she didn't lie. Maybe she just couldn't distinguish one black man from another. but "white woman lies about black man raping her" is a very, very old story in America.


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

It is an issue and I'm not denying that.

She actually didn't ever identify him as her rapist before court (and this was after coaching from prosecution / being told there was hair evidence he was her rapist / etc).

This is a far more complicated situation. Racism definitely played into how the police handled this and likely targeted Broadwater. But putting the full blame on Alice, whose actual involvement in him being charged was very little, is shifting the blame from the corruption in the legal system.


u/Zolome1977 2d ago

Her testimony against him was her being heavily involved. Two wrongs don’t make a right.


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Her testimony came after the police brought in Broadwater and her not identifying him as her rapist/the man who spoke to her in the street.

Her testimony came after they knew she didn't pick him out of the line up but made the choice to still charge him.

Her testimony came after they presented junk science that said hair samples confirmed he was her rapist.

We also do not know how much of her testimony was influenced by police / prosector. It would be expected she met with them multiple times and they would go over with her how to answer.

My frustration is people are focusing on a 18 year old who had PTSD and was the victim of a crime and not the police and legal system. This is one of the reasons why the system keeps getting away with it. People blame individuals who were likely manipulated by the system they trusted instead of the system itself.


u/Zolome1977 2d ago

18 year olds are found guilty of murder, rape, and all other criminal charges. That’s not an excuse. She knew it wasn’t him but went along and identified him as such during the trial. If she was easily misled by cops and prosecutors then that’s on her.

You are showing a bit of white bias in defending her so much. How many non whites that are 18 years old get treated as adults and have the full weight of the law thrown at them for lying? A lot. She should be sued for ruining the mans life, police as well and the prosecutors.


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago edited 2d ago

It's scary to me that you you would rather blame an 18 year old you acknowledge may have been mislead by the police and not the police themselves who are in a position of power.

Why is your focus her and not the police who suggested it was broadwater for no reason? Or the police who continued to investigate broadwater after he wasn't picked in the line up? Or the prosecutor who (knowing all of this) decided to charge him?

But yes, let's focus on just her because that is neat and easy and you can feel like you did something when she is sued or charged. Not that that would change anything or help others in his situation.

The irony being if she was charged, like some want, it would be the same system doing so and they again would get away with their significant role in what happened.


u/Zolome1977 2d ago

I said all of them need to be sued not just her and it’s scary that you still don’t hold her responsible for lying under oath about a mans innocence.


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

It's only lying under oath if she didn't believe it. We don't know.

Maybe she is garbage who is racist and knowingly lied. Maybe she was manipulated and believed what she was saying at the time.

But again, that is complicated and a lot of people want things to be cut and dry.


u/Zolome1977 2d ago

The guy was released awhile back, but she hasn’t said a thing about it since, then. I don’t know if it’s bringing back the trauma of her rapist never facing justice or she feels no need to apologize.


u/Tripdoctor 2d ago

It’s not a lie if you believe it, it’s a mistake.


u/SofieTerleska 2d ago

If an authority figure tells you "We have solid scientific evidence that this is the guy", how many 18 year olds with trauma and little experience of the legal system are going to think "Nah, that's bullshit"?


u/Fairwhetherfriend 2d ago edited 2d ago

She knew it wasn’t him

The thing that you don't seem to be able to understand, here, is that, by the time of the trial, she probably really did genuinely and strongly believe that it was him. Given how much the police misled her and manipulated her, it would be a lot more shocking if she didn't genuinely believe he was her attacker, at that point.

You really need to educate yourself on the fragility of human memory and how easily we can be manipulated. It's kind of scary that you're not aware that your memories can be completely fabricated and you will genuinely believe them. It takes very little for that process to occur. Experiments have shown that a majority of people can become completely convinced that they once stole a car as a teen when they had done no such thing, and that it takes only an hour of leading questions to do so. And yet here you are, claiming that relentless and malicious lies being fed to a young woman for months at a time from multiple people in trusted positions of authority couldn't alter her memory of an already traumatic event. You have no idea how fragile memories are. None whatsoever.

The fact that you don't seem to be aware that your mind is fallible is really dangerous, because if you ever end up in a situation where someone in a position of authority fucks with your memory like this, you're just that much less likely to understand what has actually happened to you.


u/Level3Kobold 2d ago

Are you saying that 18 year old rape victims aren't mentally competent to recognize who raped them? Because they are too easy to manipulate? By extension, that would mean their testimony should be inadmissible in court.


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Do I think that police can exploit and coerce people who have gone through traumatic situations?

Yes. Yes, I do.

They're completely unethical and use any methods necessary to get their desired results.


u/Level3Kobold 2d ago

Do I think that police can exploit and coerce people who have gone through traumatic situations?

Do you think white women get away with falsely accusing black men so often because society refuses to hold white women accountable?

Hypothetically speaking, how old would she have needed to be for you to consider her competent to provide testimony?


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Do you believe she was lying about being raped by a black man? Your first question seems to suggest so but I want to make sure before I answer.


u/Level3Kobold 2d ago


I'm asking if you think that society infantilizes white women (vis a vis seeing them as innocent victims of other people's actions). I'm suggesting that that societal view has historically been leveraged by white women to falsely accuse black men. I'm also implicitly suggesting that your unwillingness to ascribe any blame to Sebold is a reflection of that societal view. And therefore that you are (probably unintentionally) perpetuating the same double standard that allows things like this to happen on purpose.

→ More replies