Crime

Dennis Hanson's sex-assault trial inspires fight against culture that tells men rape is okay

Last October, we reported about the sex-assault charges against Bojan Vuckovic and Dennis Hanson, who were accused of getting two girls drunk and violently raping them. In the end, the only conviction against Vuckovic that stuck was supplying alcohol to minors, despite shocking injuries to the young woman. Now, with Hanson's trial just over a week away, an activist group has joined forces with the mom of Vuckovic's victim to call for an end to what they see as a culture that forgives rapists and punishes their prey.

As we've reported, Vuckovic worked as a barback at Yeti Bar and Grill in Old Town Fort Collins, while his roommate, Hanson, served as a bartender at the same establishment.

On December 12, 2012, according to the statement shared with the court by the victim's mom (who we're not naming to protect her daughter's identity), a young woman and her friend "had been invited to a man's home for a get together with another man as well. The girls were served several shots of alcohol."

The victim feels she was also given a date-rape drug. Subsequent tests didn't turn up evidence of the drug, but the victim's mom notes that such substances "dissipate from the body very quickly and thus are difficult to detect."

The next thing the victim knew, she was on the front porch of another residence in the neighborhood, "covered in blood and bleeding profusely from her vaginal area," her mom notes. Fortunately, the owner of the house was awake, and he and his roommate "took her into their home and thus saved her life," the mom continues. "As she bled on their floor they called 911 and did all they could to aid and comfort her. She literally almost bled to death."

The young woman was "so mentally incapacitated that she did not even know her name" at first, her mom notes. But she responded to treatment, and afterward, Vuckovic was found and charged with first-degree rape resulting in severe bodily injury, as well as serving alcohol to a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

At trial, however, the young woman's inability to remember the sexual assault, or any of the circumstances surrounding it, resulted in Vuckovic being exonerated of that charge -- a verdict that left the mom aghast. "It was considered to be CONSENUAL sex," she wrote the judge, adding, "We see this as a complete and utter oxymoron. Who would consent to such trauma, and how can it be moral for a person to commit such forceful sexual penetration on an unconscious person??? Therefore we feel that this is an erroneous and UNJUST verdict."

Her takeaway from the trial? "Our daughter was not only victimized by this violent rapist, but then again by our 'Criminal' Justice System, as it seems that there is much more leeway given to the defense's side, and the DA prosecutors' hands are tied in many ways," she wrote the judge. In her view, her daughter "was victimized by this society's rape culture bias. Essentially; if a woman dresses up nice, meets a man for a date and drinks alcohol with him, then that infers that she has consented to sex; evidently, violent sex or not. Lastly, and perhaps the worst, victimization is self inflicted, as she (like most rape victims) has accepted society's condemnation for her mistake, and there it is her burden to carry for the rest of her life."

Continue for more about the Bojan Vuckovic-Dennis Hanson cases and the protests against rape culture, including additional photos.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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