Brian Banks Exonerated For Super Duper Rare False High School Rape Charges
In 2002 when he was in high school, Brian Banks was accused of raping Wanetta Gibson after she claimed he dragged her into a stairway at Polytechnic High School and raped her. Wanetta and her mother sued the Long Beach Unified School District claiming that the school was an “unsafe environment” and won a 1.5 million dollar settlement. Brian, who was facing a possible 41 years to life sentence, accepted a plea deal and spent five years in prison. In 2011, Wanetta sent Brian a Facebook message asking him to “let bygones be bygones” and after meeting with him, she admitted she made the entire story up. Five years in prison and four years wearing an ankle bracelet on probation, he was finally exonerated and has now been signed to play for the Atlanta Falcons. Brian’s story is valid, but very, very rare as far as rape accusations go.
Wanetta has been ordered to repay 2.6 million dollars in damages but as we all know, repaying the school district will not compensate Banks for all he has lost. From yahoo.com:
“It’s almost impossible to explain, the feeling of not having freedom, to be stripped away of your freedom, of your dignity, the respect you once had. To lose it all and watch the world pass you by as you sit inside a prison cell, knowing you shouldn’t be there, knowing you’re there because of another person’s lies, to lose it all and then get it all back, it’s a very humbling, spiritual feeling that you just don’t want to take anything for granted.
“I’ve had the opportunity to see both sides of the human spirit. … My journey has been crazy but my journey has been a learning experience that is unlike any other.”
Brian Banks will never get those years back. He will never be truly compensated for the loss of his youth, for the loss of his freedom and dignity.
It’s a heinous act, to accuse someone of a crime like rape when they didn’t commit it. My heart breaks for Brian and I wish him all the best in the future. I wish false accusations of rape like this didn’t happen, but they do. Rarely. From PolicyMic.com:
In a recent report published by the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service, it was found that a mere 35 out of 5,651 or .6% women falsely accused men of rape, and only 6 women out of 111,891 or .005% falsely accused a man of domestic violence during the 17-month-long study.
What these numbers show is is that as parents we owe it to our children to talk to them about rape. Part of this discussion is making sure that all of our kids, both male and female, fully understand consent and what the consequences are if they accuse someone of committing a crime when they didn’t. They need to understand the seriousness of rape, how they can protect themselves and their friends from scenarios in which they can be a victim, and — most importantly — how not to rape people. They also need to understand that accusing someone of rape is a serious issue, and as parents we need to remove the shame of sex so our kids feel free to come to us with concerns they have resulting from any sexual behavior they engage in.
This should have never happened to Brian Banks. It should never happen to anyone. But our rape culture problem illuminates that more people are being raped than lying about being raped. I hope the more we discuss these issues with our kids, the frequency of both these scenarios diminish.
(Photo: ABC News)