When I opened Facebook a few months ago, I saw a link being furiously shared by a few of my friends on their newsfeeds. I was curious as to what the letter was about, but never really took the time to open it up and read. Fast forward to the next day, ABC news dedicates a segment to the Stanford rape victim’s moving and powerful statement to her aggressor. After watching the clip, I went back and opened up the letter, only to feel an utter sense of digust, anger, fear, and sadness, and questioning why people are inclined to commit such horrid crime in the first place. I wanted to do something, but never had I felt so powerless in a situation before. I wanted to get the victim justice but did not know the avenues of the solution. Ever since that news telecast and the viral letter, the infamous Brock Turner and his elementary sentence served as a representation of the growing issue of campus rape.
Judge Persky only sentenced Turner to 6 months in prison for a crime that traditionally deserves 14 years on account that Turner, an aspiring Olympic swimmer, would be “severely impacted” by an excessive sentence. In addition to our justice system’s misconduct in providing a consistent sentence, comments like “you shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place” and “what were you wearing” and “ Were you asking for it” scoured the internet in a whirlwind of misogeny and victim blaming and shaming.
This is what’s wrong with our justice system and how we as individuals regard sexual assault. What’s worse is that our tendencies are aligning to a steady statistic that one in five women are likely to be raped or sexually assaulted during their college years.
The problem undoubtedly exists, but solutions to loopholes in our justice system and a shift in rape culture advanced by our own responses to tragedies like these need to be in place. We are on the right track with legislation like President Obama’s and VP Biden’s “It’s on Us” campaign and the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, as well as better education of Title IX rights, but the fight doesn’t stop there.
If you are ever a victim to any unwanted sexual aggression, assault, or rape, remaining silent may be one of your biggest enemies. Please reach out for emotional and physical help, as you have an entire community that will listen to your story and care for you. Never feel any less because of your circumstances. You may not know who I am behind this screen typing, but I want you to know that I, and countless others, will stand with you in your times of struggles. Love N’ Me provides Support Groups and One-On-One Counseling – If you have suffered through a traumatic event, you need a safe place to be able to share your private thoughts without worrying about judgment, criticism, or endangerment. Love n Me offers a protected and encouraging environment for women to open up and begin the healing process. Private counseling is also available – a perfect option for those of us who are more comfortable talking one-on-one instead of in a group setting and many other chances for you to share your experiences. In addition to these counseling sessions, become an advocate for change through Love N’ Me’s advocacy group. Let’s be a part of a larger effort to instill change in our communities and let us not stay silent.
Contact us or call 1-510-265-0583 to learn more about our Love n Me Support Groups and Counseling.