No one disputes that, on July 12, 2020, Maddesyn George shot and killed Kristopher “Buddy” Graber as he reached through the window of the parked car where George was seated. It’s the preceding 24 hours that are at issue in court.
The arguments between George’s defense team and the U.S. attorney’s office raise the question of whether, in 2021, a rape survivor has the right to argue fear for her life and self-defense.
George says that, the previous afternoon when she was at his house, Graber had threatened her with his gun and then raped her with a vibrator. He only stopped his assault after she convinced him that she was hungry and they should eat. Not feeling as if she could leave, she stayed until he fell asleep. When she left, she took his gun; she also took his stash of methamphetamine and several thousand dollars in cash. She later told police that she had decided to take the gun to ensure that he would not be able to threaten her with it again.
George, a Colville tribal member, lives on Washington’s Colville reservation. Graber, a white man, lived in Omak, Washington, about 45 miles northwest of the reservation.
“I was afraid he was going to rip me out of the car and start beating me up.”
The day after the alleged rape, according to witness accounts, Graber searched for George on the Colville reservation with a shotgun, going to three houses before someone told him where she was. When Graber found her, George was sitting in a friend’s car. She still had his gun.
“I was afraid he was going to rip me out of the car and start beating me up,” she told The Intercept. “I’d seen him do that to other females.”
He tried to reach through the car window to grab her. According to witness accounts, Graber hit her. She fired the gun through the window, hitting him in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
George was arrested. She told tribal and Okanogan County, Washington, police that Graber had raped her the previous day. “I felt they didn’t believe me,” she said. She was not offered nor given a rape exam. Instead, she was brought to the Spokane County Jail, in Washington, where she remains today.
The legal system works in binaries, said Leigh Goodmark, director of the Gender Violence Clinic at the University of Maryland law school and author of the forthcoming “Imperfect Victims: How the Criminal Legal System Punishes Survivors of Gender-Based Violence.” Goodmark said that instead of perceiving George as a victim of a crime, several factors led the authorities to instead to view her as a criminal.
“Had Maddesyn not had a previous record,” Goodmark said, “and had she not stolen the money and the drugs, police and prosecutors would have likely approached this very differently.”
“Had Maddesyn not had a previous record and had she not stolen the money and the drugs, police and prosecutors would have likely approached this very differently.”
Leia o texto completo em The Intercept