Kobe Bryant & Gayle King: There Is A Time And Place For Everything.

Before I get into this, I want to send sincere condolences to Kobe Bryant’s family and the family members of everyone that was lost that day. I can imagine their pain is searing. I hope the love of God wraps them up and helps them push forward in their terrible loss.

I also want to send love and light to Kobe’s rape victim. I can imagine the reliving of her encounter with Kobe is not what she wanted. I hope she is able to move through this time with her strength and sanity in tact.

I watched the portion of Gayle King’s interview with Lisa Leslie that was released and I was mortified.

Gayle has since said that portion of the interview was circulated “out of context”, and “without my knowledge”, but I can imagine watching it in the throws of the full interview would be just as jarring.

At this point Kobe Bryant’s rape allegations will be inextricably tied to his name. Those standing up for victims of sexual assault say this should be the case. Those that look to the justice system and his acquittal of the charges say it should no longer be brought up, but Kobe will continually be linked to the assault. It even resulted in him being dropped as a juror from the Animation Is Film Festival in 2018 because of the allegations.

We now see that even in Kobe’s death, it will become a part of his legacy.

Here’s my thing. I strongly feel we should believe women when they speak on being sexually assaulted at any point they say it happened. Whether they talk about it immediately after the assault or years later. A huge problem does arise when women who have ulterior motives don’t tell the truth about a sexual encounter. This can unfortunately muddle the voices of true victims, but on it’s face, when a woman speaks out, she deserves to be heard and believed.

If the young lady says Kobe raped her, it happened. Even though she chose not to participate in the trial (most likely because of death threats). Even though Kobe told the police he thought it was consensual. If rape is what she remembers, rape is what happened.

I have to add the caveat of race in the incident. When a white woman says she was raped by a black man in America, we know who will be believed, but at this point, all we have is the word of the accuser, and Kobe’s final statement that he could see how she perceived the incident as rape.

Above all else at this point though, what’s extremely problematic is that this discussion is being had before Kobe has even been buried. At this point perhaps before his family has even been able to receive the body because of the nature of his death.

What I do not understand is how an interviewer can look in the face of Kobe’s grieving friend and bring this up.

What I don’t understand is how an interviewer can potentially undermine any work a rape victim has done to heal, especially with the extreme torment Kobe’s accuser was forced to endure.

I truly believe there is a time and place for everything.

Death is such an unnerving mystery. One minute someone is here and within seconds they are gone. It is the most brutal of shocks, particularly when it is totally unexpected. Kobe and his daughter were doing something they had done all the time. Helicopter trips were routine for him and his family. Then suddenly he and his daughter no longer existed. The world was crestfallen, but as stunned as we all were when the messages started coming to our phones that he had died, I’m sure it was the side swipe of eternity for his wife.

There was the tragic and instant loss of her husband and daughter, and then the backhanded, inhumane manner of hearing the news through media outlets. It was heartbreaking the way everything unfolded.

To then have the assault charges brought back to the forefront- charges that no one is saying point to a patter of behavior- when Kobe has not even been buried yet is unfathomably hurtful and speaks to something I simply can not find the words for. I could not imagine looking in the eyes of a close friend that has lost a loved one and pushing on such a terrible time in the person’s existence.

“But as a friend you wouldn’t see it..” were Gayle’s words to Lisa Leslie about Kobe’s potential to be a rapist.

I truly believe there is a time and place for everything.

None of this is to negate the assault or trivialize the feelings of the accuser. None of this is the burying of rape or a silencing of rape victims. It’s not letting Kobe off the hook. It’s letting his family and friends grieve in peace.

People mourning the loss of a loved one should be allowed to go through that process in their own way and in there own time, without media outlets prying for ratings and reporting to us every day how sad Kobe’s wife is or whether or not rape allegations should be tied to her husband’s legacy.

It’s also letting his accuser live her life in some sort of peace. To come out and say that a world wide super star had raped her speaks to an incredible level of courage that turned terribly tragic as she was undermined by Kobe’s defense team who tried aggressively to discredit her. There were also several threats against her life at the time. She was pushed into silence and has never spoken publicly. The onslaught of evil attention she garnered just by telling what she perceived to be her truth was surreal.

Any healing that she has been able to come to is now being tested. Being unfairly poked at over an incident that she has since then surely worked hard to survive through. She has to relive the media scrutiny and death threats anew. The impact of trauma never totally goes away, but the managing of it is meticulous and should be treated with respect. She is instead becoming subject to being raked over the coals all over again, just for telling her truth.

This is in no way to insinuate that she should never have spoken up, it is to say that we need to examine the way women are treated when they do speak up.

The insensitivity of American news media can be jarringly painful. Money and headlines take precedent over peace and healing. Family members that remain have to mitigate negative news stories. Rape victims who are healing have to deal with persistent eyeballing and painful memories of assault.

There is a time and a place for everything.

In the interview, Lisa Leslie beautifully said the media has had years to ask these questions while Kobe was alive and now it should be done.

I wholeheartedly agree with her. For Kobe’s grieving family it should be done.

For Kobe’s accuser trying to live a healed life, it should be done.

There is a time and place for everything. The time is now to let Kobe die in peace, let his family grieve in peace, and let his accuser live in peace.

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