This will not be an easy post to write. I’ve talked extensively this morning with Sara about this post and we both agree that something, perhaps nothing, but something doesn’t sit quite right.
He brought me in to the snug, and sat up on a stool. He grabbed me, pulled me in to him, and kissed me. I tried to push him off, and told him I wasn’t interested (I may have been less eloquent, but I don’t think I was less clear). He responded by jamming his hand into my underwear and fumbling.
Contrary the uproar on Twitter about this I am actually going to go ahead and say allegedly.
As a man, I’m probably going to get slaughtered for this opinion, but I see very, very few people giving Florian Leibert the benefit of the doubt.
If Noirin was assaulted, as she claims, then, truely, this is a terrible thing and Florian should be brought before the authorities to answer for it.
The problem lies with the fact, that, at the time of writing there has been no mention of getting the authorities involved.
In fact, while Noirin Shirley claims he shoved his hand down her pants in the snug of a bar, she also claims… well, just read her post, as I said in a comment on her post, her description of her own behaviour that night is nothing short of a goldmine for a defense lawyer.
Far be it from me to suggest that flirtatious behavior is ever an excuse for people taking matters into their own hands without permission, I would never advocate that, yet something about all of this sits very poorly in my stomach.
First, Florian Leibert is currently undergoing a trail by internet. Not a trail by jury, or in front of a judge, but a trial by internet, where the only “facts” are those presented by someone who, as yet, has not gotten the authorities involved.
In fact, not only did she not get the authorities involved when this occured, she stayed at the bar, she went back to her room and slept there with other people without saying that it happened. In fact, the first mention of it didn’t arise until an email the next day, after which she went on stage and danced, and then traveled home and wrote a blog post publicly accusing and crucifiying a man without offering any reason for her claims to be taken as credible.
I’m sorry, but if you’ve been sexually assaulted, the first step is contacting the authorities. The second is probably your lawyer and unless your lawyer is a complete and utter tit, he’s going to recommend you don’t write about it online for fear of opening yourself up to a lawsuit for liable or defamation.
Again, let me reiterate, I’m not saying that Noirin Shirley is lying, but something doesn’t sit right with me and I feel like I have to broach that.
The reason I have to broach it that if she isn’t telling the truth, she has just destroyed the reputation and career of Florian Leibert.
Things like sexual assault accusations follow people throughout life. They never get left behind regardless of the validity of the claim. I’m also sure you’ll agree with me that the accusation against Florian Leibert is more public that most.
Which brings me to my next point: the accusation.
TechCrunch covered this story. I’m still at odds with whether or not they should have covered this story. A story that at this point in time, is little more than an unsubstantiated accusation without the authorities even being called. Yet despite my feeling that TechCrunch just relegated itself to the levels of a tabloid rag, the comments section of the post did raise an interesting point.
This is not Noirin Shirleys first time accusing someone of this.
First, in Noirin’s post, she say the following:
It’s not the first time something like this has happened to me, at all.
Yet, while she describes her flirtatious behavior, sitting on bunch of guys laps, lying on her bed in the party she threw in her bedroom, she also absolves herself of sending out the wrong signals.
I’m tired of people who think I should wear something different. I’m tired of people who think I should avoid having a beer in case my vigilance lapses for a moment. I’m tired of people who say that guys can’t read me right and I have to read them, and avoid giving the wrong impression.
But I don’t give the wrong impression, and it’s simply not true that guys can’t read me right.
Why on Earth would she be tired of these things? Why would people be repeatedly saying them to her, unless… Unless there was some sort of grounds.
Maybe being incredibly flirtatious is just her way, but just like people can’t always understand other peoples advances, motivations or intentions, can you expect everybody to understand that you being incredibly flirtatious means you are NOT coming on to somebody.
Again, I must stress that flirtatious behavior is never an excuse for people taking matters into their own hands without permission, I would never advocate that, but I’m trying to get to a larger picture here and that picture is that I don’t think I believe Noirin Shirley’s claims.
Reinforcing that belief in me is her claim that Florian Leibert’s alleged actions were little more than an annoyance to here:
it is the first time I’ve spoken out about it in this way, because I’m tired of the sense that some idiot can ruin my day and never have to answer for it.
Seriously, some random guy shoves his hand down your pants and starts fiddling with your crotch and it results in what can only be described as a blase response without calling the police? Most people would be screaming blue bloody murder!
To further my disbelief comes an anonymous comment on TechCrunch, and before you dismiss it for being anonymous, consider that Noirin Shirley hasn’t involved the authorites and her claims are unsubstantiated.
I used to move in the same circles as this woman and she is a bit of a Walter Mitty type. When she was at university she accused a man of raping her – and named him – on her university hosted blog. I believe her university threatened her with academic sanctions (or worse) if she didn’t remove the blog post. It was a long time ago so I don’t remember exactly but I don’t recall her filing any charges with police over that case. The fact that this is the second time she has done this sort of thing makes it difficult for me to believe the veracity of this story.
Trial by internet is NOT RIGHT. Go to the police, file charges and only then – if you are sure it’s legally ok to do so – name your attacker. I’m sorry to say this but this is exactly the sort of thing that makes it difficult for women who have been assaulted to bring their attacker to justice!
I know it might sound like I’m building a case against Noirin Shirley, I don’t mean to, it’s just that the handling of this entire thing is completely wrong.
Sexual assault is a criminal matter. It should be handled by the authorities. Only after the authorities have become involved should there be any thought of public accusation and the revealing of the names of those involved.
If she is lying, then regardless of his innocence, Florian Liebert’s reputation and career will be forever tainted. As such, he should be considering legal action and getting the authorities involved for liable and defamation. It might feel easier for him to just ignore it if she doesn’t bring charges, but if he does challenge it, he will at least have that vindication in court when it comes to his reputation.
If she is not lying, then I have to wonder why the authorities aren’t involved and why someone who is obviously as intelligent as she is would write a public blog post that would essentially destroy her chances of proving this in court?
Again, being a man, I know I’m going to get slaughtered for this approach. How dare I presume that their might be another side to the story that conflicts with the female “victim”?
Regardless, I’m happy with this post because, most people are overlooking the possibility that Florian Leibert may be the victim here and until the authorities are involved he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
UPDATE : Since writing this the story has disappeared from TechCrunch. It looks like they decided to pull it.
UPDATE November 7th 07:03 AM: Noirin Shirley has updated her post yesterday to add the following:
ETA: My heartfelt thanks to the Atlanta police for their sensitivity and professionalism.
No mention of if charges will be pressed, what is going to happen or how things will proceed from here.
I am glad to see that the authorities are finally involved in this, however, it still begs the question of why the post was published prior to contacting the Atlanta police.
UPDATE November 8th 2010: TechCrunch has a post explaining the reasoning behind their pulling of the post. I suggest you read it.