***Trigger warning*** I’m talking about rape again. I don’t get too detailed, but do practice self-care, if you need to.
That said…I have some thoughts on recent events. I started a few different posts a few different times. But like I said, it’s a hard subject and sometimes the words don’t come easily.
Here’s the background, as I understand it, on the case where a student athlete from Stanford was convicted of raping a woman and handed a 6 month jail sentence by the judge. The first thing I read on this was, the victim’s letter to her rapist. What an incredibly strong woman to express her thoughts and anger and hurt so openly – to the court and then to all of us. After that, I read the convicted rapist’s father’s plea to the judge and more. I’ve got comments. Lots of them.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
1. Put yourself in her shoes. This woman describes, clearly and concisely what it was like to realize, little by little, that she was attacked. She tells us about noticing pine needles in her hair – “the flora and fauna,” as the SANE nurse called it. (SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner)
Yes, she was drinking. Yes, she drank so much that she passed out. It’s easy to think, “That wouldn’t happen to me because I’d never put myself in that situation.” But it just doesn’t matter. You could be drugged. You could be assaulted without the rapist caring if you’re passed out. You don’t have to be a woman or at a college party or have anything at all in common with this woman.
But it’s important to identify with her because this could be any of us. This has been someone you know. Therefore, it is your problem too.
2. Tell someone. I wish we all had family to lean on or friends who will stand by us when we need it, but I know that’s just not the case. If you do, though, and you’ve been sexually assaulted, tell them. This woman ‘spared’ her parents until she read about what happened. I didn’t tell my parents right away either. And I’ll never forget the night I did. Talk about hard…but like her family, mine held me. Mine believed me.
If not your family, perhaps friends that will tell you they’re sorry and cry with you. Or call a hotline (1-800-656-HOPE or 1-800-656-4673) where you’ll certainly be believed and feel supported.
No matter where you find to turn, you are not alone. Sadly, there are many men and women who’ve been in your shoes. We’ll be there for you.
3. Many people are disturbed by Brock Turner’s father’s comment about “20 minutes of action.” I agree, it’s awful. But what disturbs me more is in the last paragraph of his letter to the judge. He said that his son, “has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015.”
That makes me so angry and sick. It’s a punch to the gut. Not for me as a survivor of rape, but for me as a human being.
His whole letter seems to boil down to ‘boys will be boys and my son’s not all that bad,’ and that’s just nauseating. Boys will be men some day and, therefore, should be brought up understanding that their actions (no matter 20 minutes in length or 20 seconds) effect others. Your son’s actions were violent on that night and while you may love your son, you’re doing him no favor by patting him on the back and encouraging him to educate others on the dangers of promiscuity. The dangers of that are pregnancy and STDs. Fingering an unresponsive woman in the dirt is something you and your son and the rest of the world needs to grasp – is something else altogether. And it’s wrong. Horrible. And, yes, violent.
4. There are good people. Some ride bikes. Some catch you in the bathroom to let you know your drink has been drugged. Some have the difficult task of cleaning the flora from your hair and nails during a rape exam. Take a deep, refreshing breath, and know that they are there.
So, that’s that. Some rambling thoughts about one of the hot button issues in the news lately. Take them for what they are and do with them what you may. Hopefully, though, you’ll keep the conversation going…