Wanetta Gibson, The Limits Of Forgiveness, And The Most Unethical Facebook Friend Request Ever

"Come on. Let's hang out. I'm more mature now."

“Come on. Let’s hang out. I’m more mature now.”

Brian Banks, the once-promising high school athlete whose life was upended by a classmate’s false rape accusation that sent him to prison for five years, is now  back on his feet, working for the National Football League, and, by the evidence of his recent profile in the New York Daily News, impressively beyond anger and bitterness. He does tell a stunning story, however, of a day in 2011 when he received an unexpected Facebook friend request from Wanetta Gibson, the woman who, for no apparent reason, did this terrible thing to him. Banks says that she wrote…

“I was hoping we could let bygones be bygones. I was immature back in the day, but I’m much more mature now. Let’s hang out. I’d love to see you. I’ve seen your picture on Facebook. You look real good. I would love to hook up.”

I’ve been trying to think up a fanciful equivalent for this “I know I tried to wreck your life, now will you please let me back into it?” request. Would it be John Hinckley Jr. asking President Ronald Reagan for a job? Edward Snowden replying to an NSA RFP? Maybe V. Stiviano asking Donald Sterling for a job recommendation? I’m not sure any of them would be as bad. “Let bygones be bygones.” Among other things, what an insult this is. How stupid does Gibson think her victim is?

Then there is this chilling statement: I was immature back in the day, but I’m much more mature now.” Translation:  “Yes, now I’m a fully mature vicious sociopath. Don’t you want to renew our relationship?”

These are the situations where someone inevitably argues that Americans believe in redemption, and when I inevitably respond, “You are out of your friggin’ mind.” Some people, not many, but some, are bad to the bone, and the social pressure to forgive the worst of the worst—Did you read the words “I’m sorry” anywhere in that request?—is a trap, set up by those who won’t have to live with the consequences of another betrayal of trust.

Banks, of course, rejected Gibson’s overtures.

Two years later, she recanted her withdrawal of her rape accusation.

40 thoughts on “Wanetta Gibson, The Limits Of Forgiveness, And The Most Unethical Facebook Friend Request Ever

  1. OK, so you see, here is a prime example of why I am seriously lacking in trust for the American criminal justice system. As are the cases taken on by The Innocence Project. THERE ARE BIASES, regardless of what anyone thinks. In cases of rape, due to the decades (centuries?) of disbelief in the reports of women who were truly raped, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. Accused of rape? You must be guilty. Accused of pedophilia? You must be guilty. And so on and so on. The old “innocent until proven guilty” myth doesn’t seem to work with humans. We want to blame someone, punish someone, and if a particular someone seems to be a likely candidate, he/she must be guilty.

  2. “These are the situations where someone inevitably argues that Americans believe in redemption, and when I inevitably respond, “You are out of your friggin’ mind.””

    But is there a real issue with that attitude? I think what we forget is the other half of the belief in redemption, which involves the victim. In no way does the belief someone can be redeemed obligate the original victim to share that sentiment…

    • And it also depends on the attitude of the offender. I can forgive, but that doesn’t mean I should trust that person again. Clearly, Brian Banks understands that forgiving doesn’t mean Wanetta and he are going to be BFFs.

      If someone shows true repentance for their act, works to make amends and strives to live a life reflecting that attitude, I have no probably believing in redemption. But a message that says, “Hey forget about that stupid thing I did when I was a kid that cost you 10 years of your life. BTW, I think you’re hot, let’s do this all again” is obviously nowhere near the redemptive qualities that I would need to see in this situation.

  3. I think more than anything, this is a direct condemnation of the language we use around rape accusations. Wanetta isn’t a unique, special snowflake, she is a trope. We took all the severity away from accusing someone of rape to the point where it doesn’t seem like a big deal, because to them it isn’t.

    And I think that’s the difference between people who are say… over or under 30, to use an arbitrary number. We, the people talking about this, and the policy makers, and the remaining second wave feminists remember the disbelief a woman went through, we remember the consequences of that accusation for the accuser, so we have a cognitive dissonance between that paradigm and the new, where an accusation is a matter of convenience (Data Gone Wild cited a report that said of false rape accusations: “The most common reason given was for an alibi”) or spite (Vengeance was number 2).

  4. You know, this resonates with me, because I have received similar requests on social media. I was bullied when I was a kid. Sometimes I fought back, but, being practical (you can’t win every fight and a bad disciplinary record is a handicap), more often than not I just bit my tongue and reminded myself that after I finished 8th grade (I was going to Catholic high school, most everyone else wasn’t) or high school that was going to be it and I’d never have to see these idiots again.

    Mostly that proved true, but when social media began to expand I did receive two requests from guys who had previously bullied me in school and Scouts. We’re not just talking a misunderstanding that led to one quick fight. Both these guys got obsessed with me to the point of following me home from school and physically picking on me looking to start fights multiple times. I know it was probably 24 years since I had seen either of these guys, we went to different high schools and were no longer living anywhere near each other, but, before I hit the “delete and block” button, I did wonder “what the heck makes these guys think I’d want to talk to either of them now?” Neither of them was offering an apology or even a half-hearted “Hey, we were all stupid kids back then” kind of line.

    My faith and my family always taught that you had to forgive, but forgiving doesn’t mean forfeiting all sense of self-worth or becoming a doormat. It’s one thing if you had a dispute with someone and that someone later says let’s come back to the table and try to correct it. It’s one thing to let a long-ago grudge that you are never going to collect on go. However, if someone has demonstrated that they are consistently bad news and do not even acknowledge that they were bad news, you don’t owe them anything and in fact you owe it to yourself not to let them bring additional bad news into your life. Trouble goes where it’s welcome, and it’s not ethical to take on additional trouble that’s not necessary when nothing good can result from it.

    • I wonder if it’s because while obvious to you that you didn’t enjoy being their punching bag, they DID enjoyed using you as a punching bag, and so they look back on the memories they have of you with a fondness. And I wonder if there’s a parallel to this case… Maybe that assumes a level of sociopathy that isn’t at play here, and maybe I’m just missing something, but I can’t think of anything else that makes sense.

      • It’s a very very deep sociopathy:

        “Let bygones be bygones”? As though it was all just an innocent misunderstanding, in which both parties bear equal blame for accidental circumstances? Bear equal blame for not being the first to accept responsibility while being equally at fault for ratcheting up intensity of the conflict?

        That is utter obtuseness on her part, so utter that she must be devoid of remorse or even realization she did wrong.

        “You look real good. I would love to hook up.” Is more than an invitation to “reconnect”. Not at all, it’s an invitation to be falsely accused of rape again.

        • “That is utter obtuseness on her part, so utter that she must be devoid of remorse or even realization she did wrong.

          “You look real good. I would love to hook up.” Is more than an invitation to “reconnect”. Not at all, it’s an invitation to be falsely accused of rape again.”

          Actually, I think you give Gibson too much credit or consideration. If a man sexually assaulted a woman causing her to suffer intense trauma for years and forever altering her life…and then the man decided to get in touch with her on Facebook years later….”you look real good. I would love to hook up” I don’t think anyone would wonder if this man is obtuse…or devoid of emotion…or if he wonders if he did anything wrong. I think we would call him a depraved monster and an obvious continued threat to society. And there would certainly be no social pressure placed on the woman suggesting “hey…the man sexually assaulted you in the past but now he has reached out to you and wants bygones to be bygones…why can’t you forgive him”? Gibson is the female social comparison of this type of man. Her mind works the same way. She’s a depraved monster.

        • Again; leopards rarely change their spots. A man would have to be crazy to get anywhere near a woman who had falsely accused him of rape. That very proximity would stand to provide her with ammunition to make another such claim.

          • BUT if he hadn’t re-connected with her, he would not have gotten her confession of lying from her and most likely would not be where he is now,

            And on the subject of forgiveness, forgiveness is something one does for him or herself. It is letting go of the power the person who wronged you still has over you. It does not automatically imply a return to having a relationship with the person again and it doesn’t necessitate any contact with the person. If the person asks for forgiveness and a renewal of the relationship, as in family issues, etc., that can be a different story.

            • I believe that it was a matter of her contacting him. I certainly believe in the Christian ideal of forgiveness. That, however, does not translate into automatic trust. That’s a different issue. Trust requires repentance. She’s shown absolutely none of that.

      • Who knows? I know one of these two fell into drug use, so most likely he wasn’t happy with life in general. I think both of them had issues, but, I’m not their therapist, and it’s not my responsibility to help them deal with them. My only responsibility is to handle my own issues, and that’s quite enough without dealing with dough-faced sociopaths from a quarter century ago.

    • I’ll cop to contacting an old girl friend I stumbled over, whose exit from my life was not the high point of my life’s ethical conduct, who deserved better, and who had reason not to remember me fondly. I wrote her a friend request saying all of this, saying I regretted how I handled things and was sorry, that I was happy to see that she seemed to be doing well, and if she never wanted to have any further contact, I certainly understood why. And that’s what she decided. But I still like that last exchange better than the one we had before, and maybe she did too. I hope so.

      • Ah, but your honest apology and attempt to make amends is what’s missing in the message sent by Wanetta Gibson. “I’m much more mature now. Let’s hang out.” In none of that is there an acknowledgment of the wrong she did Banks. It falls to the level of, “Oh, my bad. Ooops.” The victimizer (Gibson) wants to maintain the false victim role. She’s still attempting to manipulate him towards her own ends.

      • I’ll cop to once or twice doing similar things with people I’ve known in the past, back when social media was taking off, with much the same results. I no longer do this, my thinking now being that people enter our lives for a reason and they also leave our lives for a reason. If they are meant to return, then they will, when God or fate so decrees. If not, then their part in our story is over, and we need to accept it and move on.

        • “If they are meant to return, then they will, when God or fate so decrees. If not, then their part in our story is over, and we need to accept it and move on.”

          On a side bar…wait what?

          The guy on the roof of his house during a flood tells a passing boat, no I’m waiting for God to rescue me doesn’t realize the boat is God rescuing him…

          What if God or fate so decrees you to make contact… your standard rules that out, does it not?

  5. Well, maybe Wanetta Gibson can find herself a new job as the spokeswoman for the “1 in every 5 women is raped” movement. She seems to have the attitude, experience, and moral character they are looking for.

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