Wisdom, Circuit Judge: David
Wiley, the appellant, and Eugene Cunningham, a co-defendant, were
arrested on March 17, 1971, in connection with an alleged sexual assault
... on twelve year old Maxine Lewis ... they were charged with carnal
knowledge ... and taking indecent liberties with a minor child.... The
jury found Wiley guilty.... The principal issue on appeal is whether
there was sufficient corroborative evidence to take the case to the
jury. We find there was not sufficient corroborative evidence.
-- United States v.
Wiley. 492 F. 2d 547 (D.C. Cir. 1973)
It is said that
what is heard is a delusion of the senses. That sound
consists of waves. That the wave is a momentary shape produced by
energy traveling through molecules of air, or wood, or steel. Whether
this wave is heard by the human ear as sound, it is said, depends on
the frequency of the vibration of the sound. It is said that there are
too rapid for the human ear and vibrations too slow, that vibrations
of sound increase in warmer or thicker media, that the
structure of the inner ear increases or decreases the frequency of
sound waves, that sound waves of one frequency mask the presence of
those of another frequency so that the ear hears only one sound when
there are two, that many sounds together are heard as undifferentiated
noise, that there is no absolute relationship between what produces
sound and what is heard, that what is heard is a delusion of the
senses and cannot be said to be real.
(It is established
in the law that the testimony of an alleged victim of
rape must be corroborated. It is said that corroboration is required
because the complainants in such cases too frequently have an urge to
fantasize or a motive to fabricate. Therefore the credibility of the
defiled, it is said, must be approached with skepticism, especially
when the complainant is a young girl.)
It is therefore
said that sounds do not exist without ears and a mind
to hear them, that all sound exists only in the mind. (And the evidence
shortly after the alleged event a witness said that he saw the alleged
victim on the street, crying, in a disheveled condition, upset and
without a coat though the day was cold, and that she told him she had
been attacked and pointed to her alleged attackers a short distance
away, is held not to be corroborative, nor is the evidence of another
witness that she appeared to him crying and saying that she had been
raped held as corroborative since this is evidence that some event took
place but not necessarily evidence that sexual intercourse took place.)
And since sound is a product of the mind, it is further argued, it is
to believe that sound can exist in an unthinking substance, in the
violin, or the wood of the violin.
And since all
evidence for the existence of matter is sensual evidence
of a like deceptive kind, existing only in the mind, it is concluded
that matter exists only in the mind. (It is therefore the
judgment of this hearing that the defendant was innocent of rape and
that no such crime took place.)
existence of matter is unverifiable Each of us can say we
have heard footsteps behind us and since sensual data are deceptive
each of us tried not to show fear it is questioned if there is any reason
since in acting the part of the victim to examine what is called reality
we may become the victim or if there is any way each of us has hidden
what we are that anything can be known each of us has denied desire
since no existence can be verified since it has been said to us that it
our own lust to be known and therefore which is lived out in the body
of the rapist how can the act of knowing be known and our terror
which inspires attack and therefore neither mind nor body and our
own guilt can be said to exist which attacks us through his hands and
therefore all existence even to the point of our own death is denied.
nebulae. Craters of the moon. She
lets herself fall. She falls into the room of her wants. The room where
the demands of women are endless. Where her voice has endlessly demanded
her to go. This room which reveals her. Where she is clumsy
again. Where she is awkward in her grown-up clothing. Where she
aches. This room of the revelation of all she thought horrible, and of
her endlessly demanding body. Of all she shrank from in herself. This
room filled with herself. She fell into this room. This room of outcasts.
Where we uncover our bodies. Where we meet our outcast selves. The
room in which she does not mock herself. This room filled with darkness.
Where we go into darkness. Where we embrace darkness. Where
we lie close to darkness, breathe when darkness breathes and find
inside ourselves. The room of the darkness of women. Where we
are not afraid. Where joy is just under the surface. Where we laugh.
Where laughter fills us utterly when we see what we thought was horrible.
Where our demands are endlessly received. Where revelation fills
us with glee. The room which she said she needed. The room without
which she was sure she would perish. The first room in which she
space. This place where she could finally breathe. The place
where she breathed out the stories she had not believed. The room
where we confess we never believed those stories were about us. The
room where she cast those stories from her forever. Where we began to
feel the atmosphere wants us. Where she began to believe the horizon.
This room of her wants. Of her desiring. This room of her desiring to
live. This place which allows her to exist. Where the women stare into
each other's eyes. Where the daughter feels the life of the mother.
Where our words are undressed. And we touch. This room of our
touching where the mother teaches her daughter to face her secret
The labyrinth of her knowledge. Where she has her own reasons. The coral
skeleton. The crystals of frost. Of her knowing. This place of her
wandering. The circles of the tree's growth. The beehive. The room
of her first wandering and of her finding. This place where she finds
The shape of the
labyrinth. The shape of the cave. Space divided and
not divided. Space mutable, we say, separation becoming union. Space
changing. The new shape. Melting and transformation, the crystal and
the seed, the endless possibility of form, as in the metal measuring rod,
which changes its shape at the speed of light, we say.
destroyed (the witches reborn) the zoological garden
opened (the reappearance of species) the prison razed (crime renamed)
acoustics transformed (madness released) the buried (plants
to flesh to earth) uncovered.
shape of his book of knowledge, bending. The shape of our silence, the shape
of the roofs of our mouths. Darkness.
Space where, in
her circling motion, she found an opening.
We say we are
brilliant with light from the stars that began millennia ago and now
burn in our minds.
We heard of this
woman who was out of control. We heard that she was led by her feelings.
That her emotions were violent. That she was impetuous. That she
violated tradition and overrode convention. That certainly her life
should not be an example to us. We were told that she moved too hastily.
Placed her life in the stream of ideas just born and we should have
little regard for her, even despite the brilliance of her words. That
she moved from passion. From unconscious feeling, allowing deep and
troubled emotions to control her soul. But we say that to her passion,
she brought lucidity and to her vision, she gave the substance of her
life. For the way her words illuminated her life we say we have great
regard. We say we have listened to her voice asking, "of what materials
can that heart be composed which can melt when insulted and instead of
revolting at injustice, kiss the rod?"
By her words we
are brought to our own lives, and are overwhelmed by our feelings which
we had held beneath the surface for so long. And from what is dark and
deep within us, we say, tyranny revolts us; we will not kiss the rod.
"Woman and Nature -- The Roaring Inside Her," by Susan