I am hoping that by now you have read her letter. The letter of a woman who was sexually assaulted behind a dumpster while unconscious by a man who was just given only a six month sentence by a judge because any longer could have “a severe impact on him.” Oh, and have you heard, he could also swim pretty fast.
This is some of the most powerful writing I’ve ever read. It’s devastating, as it should be devastating. And it’s also infuriating, as it shouldn’t be infuriating. This is what we talk about when we talk about “rape culture.” This is the impact of a society that tells men from the very earliest age they are entitled to women’s bodies. This is the impact of a culture that still classifies women who unapologetically enjoy sex as sluts, but allows men to just be studs. This is the impact of a society that overwhelmingly look at the female victims’ pasts and the male perpetrators’ bright futures when passing judgment in cases of rape and sexual assault.
This is the impact of a society where the father of this convicted rapist can write a letter to the judge asking for leniency because it would otherwise be too steep a price to pay for “20 minutes of action.” Yes, he really said that. And that, that’s how rape culture gets passed on from father to son. Sexually assaulting a passed-out young woman behind a dumpster is “20 minutes of action.”
Here’s a thought: Teach men to not rape women. Teach men about consent. Teach men that women are not prizes to be won or things to be conquered. Or, if all that is just too much of a burden, maybe just have men read this letter. Just read this letter. And then try to say there is no such thing as rape culture in our society.