Teach Your Children Not to Rape Other People’s Children
But first, we need to teach ourselves. The letter from the victim of the Stanford rapist is a good place to start. The time to learn and change our way of thinking is now.
The next time you ask someone “Well, were you drinking?”, or the next time you look at what someone is wearing and say “Damn, she’s just asking for it”, or the next time you want to laugh at a rape joke — I want you to read this letter. I want you to read it twice: once to yourself in a private space where you can imagine the nightmare this woman has lived through, and then once again to your family and your friends so that they can learn that this behavior is unacceptable.
Six months with probation for three felony charges of sexual assault. Not an ounce of remorse from the man that committed the crime. And his father went on to spew some of the most vile, offensive garbage in his son’s defense that I can’t even stomach reading all the way through. This is an insult to every single survivor of rape in this country — and the whole world over. We claim to be a leader of nations, the height of freedom and protection, and yet we fail each other every single day. The people in power want to tell us who we should be afraid of, warn us of what’s lurking in the shadows of our bathrooms and our locker rooms. But when the real threat shows its face, when the people that hurt us every single day are right in front of them? They don’t do a goddamn thing.
This is not about excessive drinking on college campuses. This is about men believing they can do whatever they want to a woman’s body without any repercussions — and they’re right. Because we have built a society where this disgusting act is permissible, where a lack of consent can be written off as “well, it looked like she wanted it”, where the victims of the crime are shamed for being raped more than the rapists are punished for the crime. This is rape culture, and we can’t let this continue.
Rape is not funny. Rape is not a joke. Rape is never, ever, under any circumstances, the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter what they were wearing, if they were drinking, who they were with, what part of town they were in, what fucking phase of the moon was in the sky that day. It is never the victim’s fault.
I want you to read this letter. It’s long, but I can personally guarantee that the time you spend reading this woman’s story is nothing compared to how long she will have to relive the nightmare of it. This is not a singularly unique story. The details, maybe, but the theme of it is the same every time, every day. This has already happened to someone you know. It will happen again, to someone else, over and over and over again until we do something about it.
Read this letter. Learn the consequences of these actions. Teach yourself and your friends that rape is not okay. This is the only way that we can protect each other, because the law isn’t going to do it for us. It starts with us standing up and saying that this is unacceptable. It starts with you. Read this letter.