And of course, she is right. Exposing a rape victim to the combined forces of CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS and the rest of the media megalopoly is a fairly sadistic thing to do. Kobe Bryant will have every chance to face his accuser. He knows her name. She will appear in court before him. He has the wealth and power to turn up every piece of evidence that may exonerate him.
What is at stake in overturning media policies shielding rape victims is not justice, it is voyeurism. The court of media exposure is one where the scales of justice are not evenly balanced. Kobe Bryant has legions of fans. The woman who says he raped her is a 19-year-old small-town girl nobody knows. Kobe Bryant has the resources to spread his version of the facts around: squads of PR people, media advisers, high-powered lawyers. The woman who says Kobe Bryant raped her has a small-town prosecutor and family and friends. This is not a fair fight.
So I hope the rape shield holds. Because 1) it is heartening to see corporations act in defense of ethics, any ethical policy, amidst the temptation to make money. Something so rare should be encouraged. And 2) it IS a paternalistic thing to protect rape victims. And protectiveness by powerful men toward women in the sexual realm is also something increasingly rare (at least in public), and precious, and by no means to be discouraged.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.