Last Dance for Grace, Part XII

Mangum_2dec10New Beginning

And now, the reason why this book was published, “-a pathetic attempt to further her need to remain in the public eye at the expense of demonstrably innocent individuals.” Oh wait, that was Phil Seligmann’s statement about why the book was written.

And now, Crystal’s reason, “With the writing of this book, my healing process begins.” I would ask how dragging up the past and rehashing details of something that never even happened is supposed to be helpful, but I won’t. “I believe I have to find healing for myself. I also want to provide healing for those who feel they have been hurt.” (Mangum, page 195)

Do you think she’s talking about the Duke boys? She’s not.”I know there are many people who are suffering from some kind of trauma and my story may provide a point of common ground where they can start their process of reconciliation.” (Mangum, page 195) Crystal’s still hanging onto the loose claim that her autobiography was written for the abused girls of America who just need a friend. Does she think that she’s going to be some kind of role model? She does.

Crystal continues, “I believe I have that responsibility to try to set the record straight about a lot of things.” (Mangum, page 195) However, setting the record straight is not actually possible by using more lies and half-truths to cover up what really happened here.

She writes about her media victimization again, “I have had to endure almost two years of constant negative talk about my life by people who were only trying to hurt and discredit me.” (Mangum, page 195-196) Right, so the remedy is to draw more attention onto yourself by publishing a tell-all book. Good plan, Crystal.

And now, the book goes in a direction that you never would have expected it to go. Crystal writes, “As much as people know about Duke they know little or nothing about my alma mater.” (Mangum, page 196) Crystal then proceeds to tell the reader all about North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

She continues, “I felt I had to say something about that because my school has been the subject of bad press because of what people think about me.” (Mangum, page 197) So by including some history in her memoirs, Crystal hopes that NCCU’s good name will be cleared. I can’t imagine that NCCU’s officials were exactly thrilled to learn that Crystal was putting out a good word for them in her book.

Now Crystal asks some really good questions, “Why would I challenge the reputation, money, and resources that Duke University possesses? Would anyone make up this incident in some misguided and elaborate plan to sue Duke, as some have postulated in the blogs and on some irresponsible media outlets?” (Mangum, page 197)

Possible explanation: “Mangum had money on her mind. It was two days after her meeting with Gottlieb and Coman that she told the security manager of the strip club (Fats) she would get paid by the white boys.” (Taylor & Johnson, page 42) Another possible explanation is that Crystal was trying to avoid involuntary confinement in a psychiatric ward. (Taylor & Johnson, page 31) Or it could be that once the lies started it turned into a snowball that just couldn’t stop?

A lot of people seemed to have a hard time facing facts that Crystal had lied about the charges. After the case was dismissed a lot of the most vicious critics of the lacrosse players stated that they still believed that the men had committed a crime while others just stopped talking about it. The Group of 88 couldn’t admit that they were wrong. Instead they issued a letter claiming that their earlier ad hadn’t been accusing the players of anything. When the case was thrown out a guest anchor appeared on Nancy Grace’s show to announce it, then it wasn’t mentioned again. None of these people issued an apology to the young men and their families.

But Crystal’s not finished yet, “I wondered why the media did not add a qualifier to the description of the people who hosted the party. Why not say they were drunken, out-of-control party boys?” (Mangum, page 197) They did. incessantly. Besides, there’s a difference between drinking too much at a party and gang raping someone.

Now for something completely different, Crystal writes “Additionally, I believe in the rape shield laws.” (Mangum, page 197) Me too! You should probably explain them to Myra Shird. She seems a little fuzzy on them.

Once again, “I was engaged in activities and living in a lifestyle that few people would approve or would understand.” (Mangum, page 197-198) The problem wasn’t that Crystal was a woman or a black woman or a poor black woman or a poor black woman that worked as a stripper. The problem was that she lied. There is no rationalizing that. There isn’t any wiggle room in the word “innocent”.

She continues with more media victimization, yadda, yadda, someone called her a whore, no one knows the real her, yadda, the Durham residents were mean to her, yadda, yadda, the post-attack stripping claim is a lie. Then Crystal writes that she can’t stay silent while people are saying nasty things about her, “There were and still are many Web sites and blogs that purport to know every detail about my life, spelling it out authoritatively with charts, graphs, and timelines, but have no compulsion to check the facts.” (Mangum, page 199)

Yes, other people don’t know how to fact check. KC Johnson doesn’t bother to check his sources for his Durham-in-Wonderland blog or his book. Liestoppers just makes things up too. Good thing Crystal is here to enlighten us.

Crystal did one interview, an article written by Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe for News 8 Observer, with a reporter of any kind, but the article itself was when the case first broke. It was sympathetic to her and unquestioningly printed one of her versions of her story as well as the Durham police corporal asking someone to come forward so they can prosecute whoever committed this savage act (Yaegar & Pressler, page 81).

But the sole resident of Crystal Land deems it “-an act thats regret very much.” She goes on to say “Samiha Khanna of The N&O said she wanted to help me, and that telling my story to her and her colleagues would help bring the people who hurt me to justice.” (Mangum, page 199) Which is exactly what the article was about.

Crystal doesn’t actually say why she thought it was such a bad idea. She writes that, “I gave them limited access through my screen door.” and only presented “-a sketch of my life.” And finally, “After my experience with The N&O, I refused to talk to anyone because I could never trust any of the people who said they wanted to help me.” (Mangum, page 200) You would think that The N&O was one of the right-wing bloggers that she constantly complains about.

But the media didn’t need Crystal giving a sketch through her screen door. They didn’t need her to say anything at all. Anyone with an internet connection and enough time on their hands could find out all of the information that Crystal could have given in her brief “sketch”. Maybe Crystal is still operating under the misconception that nothing about her is true unless she says it herself.

Now we broach another highly questionable part of the book, Crystal claims that CNN said that they were going to broadcast a feature about her. She writes, “I allowed CNN to come interview me and spend time with my family in January 2008. I let them follow me to class, come to my church, and even videotape my children. We even sat down for a four-hour interview… I allowed Soledad O’Brien to ask me whatever questions she wanted.” Mangum, page 200)

However, “Throughout the entire process of working with CNN, I felt they were disappointed that I was not a drug addict and on welfare… After allowing them into personal life and my home, someone at CNN decided this reporting was not something they wanted the public to see.” Mangum, page 200) “Now, when I call CNN, no one will take my call… When I asked why the footage was not going to be shown, I received no answer.” (Mangum, page 201)

The only person who seems to know anything about this potential CNN feature is Crystal and Vincent Clark. Also, it seems strange that a major media source like CNN would waste their time with her to begin with. And if all of this did take place, then what happened to the footage?

Here’s Crystal’s rational, “My suspicion is that people who have an interest in the civil cases feel that any portrait of me that is not negative will have a harmful effect on their suits in reference to Duke University and the city of Durham.” (Mangum, page 201)

And what ridiculous suspicions they are. How would “Crystal goes to church every Sunday” translate into “Crystal was telling the truth about being raped”? All of the CNN footage would have been shot after the case. The only thing that would have mattered afterward would have been for Crystal to admit that she lied and apologize to everyone involved.

Now Crystal veers off into the history and background of Durham and the racial tensions which she claims doesn’t exist. Then Crystal writes “While my story has components of race in it, there are multiple narratives dealing with more than race.” (Mangum, page 202) Looks like someone forgot to tell Vincent Clark. More on that later.

Oh wait, there’s sexism too. Everyone hates her because she’s an exotic dancer. “Many have criticized my choice to be a dancer but find it hard to condemn men who use women for entertainment.” (Mangum, page 206)

I once read Jenna Jameson’s autobiography, How to Make Love like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale. Jameson started out as a stripper and got into porn. She’s made a very lucrative living out of doing both. She doesn’t spent her entire book complaining about the stigma of working in an erotic profession or trying to make wild rationalizations for what she does. If a porn star can write about her profession without having to explain and defend at every page, then why can’t a woman who was a stripper and claims to have never prostituted?

And now the one sentence summary of the entire book: “I want to assert, without equivocation, that I was assaulted.” (Mangum, page 203) More rehashing of her main points, “When I spoke, I was accused of changing my story repeatedly.” Because you did. “I emphasize now that the story has never changed.” Yes, it has.

“The fact is I did not make it to court to state my case because the focus became one of discrediting me and exposing my personal life instead of finding the truth.” The truth was that you lied. “So I am left to defend myself.” Mangum, page 203) You’re not doing a very good job.

One more attempt at being the spokeswoman for rape victims “For all the women who have been beaten by their partners and labeled battered women, for those like me who will forever be despised and dismissed as just someone who made up things, I am writing this book.” Mangum, page 203) It’s insulting that Crystal wants to put herself into this category of women when she did make all of events up. Crystal is someone who completely undermined women’s credibility for rape charges.

Sadder still is that some rape victims identify with her. This is one of the comments left on the video for LD4G’s press conference:


I think this case was really sad. For all the people that cull her a liar or a whore I want you to think about this, what your daughter, mother sister or friend claimed she was raped, won’t you want there to be an a proper investigation, and not just a he said/she said media frenzy? And wouldn’t you want a fair shot at a trial? I am a surviving rape victim who was put in her position, I have PTSD because of it, no one went to jail, no one went to trial in my case is that fair?

Although there’s no way to to verify this woman’s story. But the very idea that a real victim of a terrible crime is aligning herself with a woman who lied and lied until the entire case came down around her ears is just sad. There are real victims of rape and sexual assault out there and Crystal is not one of them.

And finally, Crystal uses the last paragraph of her book to contradict all of her earlier assertions that her life is ruined, she is forever living in pain, everything is terrible, she was always the victim, so on so forth. “On account of what has happened to me, I feel more inspired. I am working as hard as I ever have to help my children grow up to be better people and contribute positively to society. I will show others that there is a way out of misery and an easier path to take to a happier life. If you stumble, it does not mean you will fall. My dreams, my heartache, and my desire to carry on have become the basis for my strength.” (Mangum, page 204)

If you know what happens next in Crystal’s story, this section just becomes hauntingly wrong.