Here are some undisputed facts from the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case.
(1) Kobe Bryant had violent penetrative sex with a stranger — a woman he had just met because she was an employee of the establishment Bryant was visiting, and as part of her job she was required to interact with him.
(2) This sex was sufficiently violent that it left the woman’s blood on the t-shirt Bryant wore during the encounter.
(3) Bryant strangled the woman during the encounter, leaving marks on her neck that were still visible to investigators the next day.
(4) At no time during the encounter did the woman give any verbal consent to having sex with him.
(5) The same night of the encounter, the woman told another employee of the establishment that Bryant had raped her.
(6) Bryant admitted in a public statement that the woman did not consent to the encounter at the time it took place. Here is the relevant part of the statement:
I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.
This statement was obviously written with extreme care. Its purpose is to acknowledge that the woman did not consent during the encounter.
Having sex with someone who is not consenting to having sex with you is sexual assault.
This is not complicated. What’s “complicated” is that it’s nearly impossible to hold someone like Bryant — a rich famous charismatic athlete — accountable legally, or indeed in any other way ever, for sexually assaulting someone under the circumstances under which Bryant admitted to having violent forcible sex with a stranger who never consented to having sex with him.
The incredibly disgraceful behavior of the Washington Post’s management toward Felicia Sonmez simply puts an exclamation point on all this. Everyone responsible for suspending Sonmez should be fired.