“Support. Listen. Take Action. Because she is someone.”
I have been thinking about writing this post since last week when I first heard the news of the Stanford sexual assault case and ruling. And now, that I’m sitting down to my computer to write it, I’m at a loss for words.
The news is difficult to watch, read and listen to these days. We are living in a difficult world – shootings, terror plots – and our faith in humanity constantly is being challenged. Is there any goodness left? Do we need to live in fear? And now we have to be afraid of a lack of justice for rape victims?
When I read the Stanford rape victim’s letter to her assailant, Brock Turner, I cried. I cried for her. I cried for her sister. I cried for the other women present that night that Turner also could’ve preyed upon. And, I cried for myself – for all women. We, as women, are powerful creatures, and with that comes a ridiculous amount of responsibility – not only to ourselves but to our gender as a whole. Don’t dress that way, don’t drink too much, don’t flirt with multiple guys at a party, etc. Well, I don’t agree with any of that. While our society now seems to be quick to say that we are asking for it, I’m here to say that nobody EVER deserves to have their body violated without consent. Period. No questions or debate. Because she is someone.
You know what else we don’t deserve? For sexual assault to be summed up as “20 minutes of action,” as Turner’s father so poetically put it. Excuse me? 20 minutes of action? What kind of twisted world are you living in, buddy? Is your mind that sick and pathetic? You’re no better than your son, a sexual offender, if that’s how you’re choosing to cope and deal with this. Actually, I would question if whether or not you’re the reason your son has these stellar ideals and refuses to admit to his wrongdoing. Alcohol was not the driving force in this situation – YOUR son was. YOUR son made the conscious decision to RAPE an unconscious, innocent young woman. And, he should – no, needs – to face the consequences. I suppose that I can understand that he’s your child and you’d do anything to protect him, but don’t you dare lessen the crime that your son committed, and demean his victim and all sexual abuse victims with your words. Because she is someone.
While it disgusts me that the victim in this case won’t receive the justice that she and her family deserves – I even just saw that Turner most likely only will serve three of his six-month sentence – she is undoubtedly the bravest woman that I’ve come across. In a time of heartache and pain, she found the strength to share her words to open up conversation and offer comfort to other women in similar situations. Because she is someone.
What can we learn from her and her letter? SPEAK UP. Talk. Listen to each other. Offer support, even if all you can offer is a hug. If you’re out and you feel uncomfortable or someone is making you uneasy, seek out help. Not all women are fortunate enough to have two heroes come along like this victim did, so saying something before it’s too late is better safe than sorry.
If you do nothing else today, go read the victim’s letter and watch this PSA from the cast of Girls. While we all are our own woman and have our own beliefs and opinions, I’m confident that we all can agree that we need to fight for justice to protect victims of sexual abuse.
Because she is someone. Because YOU are someone.