Conor Oberst Suing His Alleged Rape Victim Proves Coming Forward Can Be Devastating

Bright Eyes In Concert At The Williamsburg Waterfront

Frequent guest in your away messages circa 2005 and Bright Eyes lyricist Conor Oberst is suing the woman who accused him of rape for $1,000,000. The woman accused Oberst in the comments section on a since deleted XOJane post about sexual assault last December, and he’s come out swinging.

Per The Daily Mail:

Conor Oberst filed the lawsuit yesterday claiming he was libelled by the woman, who he has identified as [NAME REDACTED], who claimed she was sexually assaulted by the singer-songwriter at a 2003 concert.

Here’s the thing: we don’t know what happened. There wasn’t an investigation after the alleged incident. It was in 2003 and you and I were both not present. And I live in the same world as you–I know that sometimes celebrities get taken advantage of and people make false accusations. I also know that sometimes celebrities are violent rapists, and so far no details have come about the alleged victim seeking any type of financial compensation (the usual goal for false accusations).

In fact, it’s Oberst who wants money out of this whole thing, hence the lawsuit.

He has stongly [sic] denied [REDACTED]‘s allegations and is seeking monetary damages, attorney fees and other costs.

The 33-year-old musician says the media coverage that resulted from the three posts in the comments section of a blog has damaged his career, especially in New York where most of the major music publishing houses have their headquarters.

I understand that if Oberst truly feels that he’s been wrongly accused, he’d want to clear his name. But here’s the thing: he named her. As far as we know, this woman is a rape victim. I know that seems complicated given our presumption of innocence until proven guilty, but I think we have to reconcile that with affording this woman that same presumption. In that case, this woman is a rape victim and Oberst named her, publicly. That’s hard to stomach.

This is why women don’t come forward. If you come forward with an allegation of rape or assault, you get your name dragged through public forum after public forum, you face retaliation, and punishment. This is the insidious reality surround rape reporting–we simply don’t take care of victims or give them the benefit of the doubt that we afford to the accused. We don’t know what happened. We just know the consequences of coming forward.

Photo: Getty Images

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    • Lindsey Conklin

      Ugh. 1million?! I know we don’t know what happened, but that seems extreme. Can we get SVU’s Mariska Hargitay to step in here.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        GET ME BENSON!

    • ally

      Are you kidding me? Fine, if he is really not guilty he shouldn’t sue and leave the woman alone. This is disgusting.

    • Samantha Escobar

      This is exactly why I am so fucking perplexed as to how people believe thousands upon thousands of women just spontaneously decide to falsely accuse men of rape all the time. NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS TO YOU.

    • carrie

      He isn’t keeping the money.
      I’m VERY disappointed that you failed to mention this in your article:
      “Oberst intends to donate the proceeds of this suit to charities benefitting the victims of violence against women.”

      Read more:

      • Safer Midwifery Utah

        Wow so he intends to send money that he won’t be able to collect to a good cause. He could donate his money right now to that and quit trying to look like a saint for bullying a rape victim into silence.

    • Safer Midwifery Utah

      I hope that there isn’t anti-SLAPP legislation in the state that the case is filed, because he could really end up screwed. He would have to somehow prove that he didn’t rape someone to win this, which is pretty impossible. I am convinced that they are trying to scare her into not telling anyone else what happened. Its never the dirt- its the cover up that makes people look bad.

    • Diana