Dear Stanford Girl
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Politics and Activism

Dear Stanford Girl

Thank you.

Dear Stanford Girl

Dear Stanford girl,

You are not a victim. You are a survivor. You are not the petty consequences of his “20 minutes of action." You are the mistake that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and he is the reason you will be a stronger woman. Your body was bruised, not destroyed. Your will was broken, not lost forever. Your trust was stolen but can be regained. When he violated your respect, he gave up his right to be respected. And how he felt when he realized he was banned from US swimming will never come close to how you felt when you realized you’d been assaulted. Remember this — it may take you a long while to look at yourself the same way you did before this, but society will never look at him the same again.

He made a mistake that night that he may never understand. He may not learn anything from this atrocity, but I know you will. Because I read your letter. And when I read your letter, I knew instantly that you knew what you were doing by bravely speaking up. The media has a history of blaming the victim in cases like these, but you wrote anyway. Your letter spoke to millions of people, young girls, young boys, old men and old ladies. Your letter probably reached a little girl too scared to tell anyone she was being molested. It might have reached a boy in high school who didn’t think it was possible for men to be raped and didn’t think it manly to admit it. You brought a tremendous amount of attention to something that is usually ignored to save a university’s reputation. I, as a woman and a human being, am proud of you for that.

Now I know this next part might be hard to here, but I do not condemn your assaulter past the point of becoming a better person. It is possible he might. But he took your choice away that night. He decided your immediate future for you, while you weren’t even awake to be scared. And until something like that happens to him or someone he loves, I fear he won’t get it. The feeling of helplessness. The feeling of not recognizing yourself in the mirror. The confusion and guilt. But I think you are healing. I think you will come out even stronger.

But I don’t just want to sympathize with you and tell you I am sorry this happened. I want to thank you. I want to thank you for bringing this story to the attention of the public. As horrible as your situation was, you are not alone in it. So many people have been through it. A sickening number. I am one single college kid, and I have six friends who have been raped or assaulted in some way. And every single time, I didn’t learn it had happened until years later. Because most victims are not brave enough to tell. Because they are smart enough to know that the justice system might not fight for them, but frame them as being responsible for putting themselves in danger. And I want to thank you for giving me this outlet to say that I am sick of it.

Why did it take my best friends years to love again after the first man she loved forced his way in? Why does my friend have to face anxiety about his sexuality because his first experience with sex was being raped by his sister’s roommate? Why do 17-year-olds have to be afraid of things like that? Why did I know at 14 that wearing a low-cut shirt would pull people’s gaze? I don’t even need to wear a disguise — they’ll never look at my eyes. Why do we teach girls how to run away before we teach them how to fight? Why don’t we teach boys and girls alike that taking advantage is never right? Just because my best friend from middle school was asleep doesn’t mean she wouldn’t want to object. Why should we ruin the guilty’s lives just because the victims are traumatized? Wouldn’t that sound ridiculous if it was any other crime?

So girl from Stanford, thank you for writing. Your letter was heard,

Girl from Berry.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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