What I am reacting to:
Having seen multiple articles about this on social media, the Stanford sexual assault case was not unfamiliar. However, to read the victim’s letter about her traumatic experience strips all the news and legal discussion and leaves her own raw emotion. From beginning to end, the victim offers up her intimate details and painful retelling in complete honesty and vulnerability.
While there was so much raw personal information in this letter, what really caught my attention was the familiarity of it. As a woman, we are always told how to dress, go, and act in order to be safe in any setting. No dress is long enough, no laugh is modest enough and no night is carefree. Prior to this case, women are always told that this was their fault to some degree. In what other kind of legal case does the victim become the defendant almost every time?
In the piece that I created, I used a quote that I feel held a great deal of power:
“It’s like if you were to read an article where a car was hit, and found dented, in a ditch. But maybe the car enjoyed being hit. Maybe the other car didn’t mean to hit it, just bump it up a little bit. Cars get in accidents all the time, people aren’t always paying attention, can we really say who’s at fault.”
If an object, like a car, is stolen or broken, the police check for finger prints and find those guilty. Why does there have to be so much doubt when it comes to a person? Especially in a case like this, even with witnesses and hospital records, the victim still goes through the pain, again and again. In my piece, I chose to show the car rather than people. To claim that on enjoys having their car hit is absurd and just tapping a bumper is not an excuse for an accident. These images and statements seem like common sense. However, replace those images and words with a victim and a predator, and notice how people blur the lines. This is the reason for the man reading his morning newspaper. The first story he’s reading is about a car crash. The next page, about a sexual assault victim. Both news worthy, but both handled very differently. Car’s get replaced, insurance covers damages and you move on. However, this victim, and other thousands and thousands of other sexual assault victims, can not call their insurance company and make it all go away. This is the reason why we, as society, and not only through the victims’ painful accounts, should be more vocal to de-stigmatize sexual assaults. We must focus on what is important. That is, rape is a sign of a society that has still not evolved. We may create the sophisticated technologies and make impressive scientific discoveries, but until rape is eliminated, we cannot call ourselves civilized.