Late this afternoon I was scrolling on my facebook feed and came across a video from CNN. The video featured Ashleigh Banfield reading the letter that the Stanford rape case victim wrote addressing her attacker.
I clicked on the video because rape and sexual assault is an important issue that I feel our society glazes over and I wanted to know what the rape victim had to say to her attacker. I want to start by applauding this young woman for standing up for rape victims everywhere and creating more awareness on an issue that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Being a college student myself, I understand the consequences of drinking; however, it is a part of the college partying culture no matter what anybody says. No, drinking doesn’t have to be a part of your own personal college experience, but it is going to be present throughout your four years of college. Saying that the rapist and the victim were both too drunk to really realize what was happening is not a valid excuse to rape someone and get away with it. Consuming too much alcohol doesn’t give anyone the right to sexually assault another person. As a small young woman of 5 feet, weighing about 100 pounds, I know that if I consume too much alcohol I become an easy target for sexual assault. However, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be able to go out and have fun without worrying about being raped. No matter how revealing my outfit is that doesn’t mean I was “asking for it.” I’m a liberated young woman who should be able to wear whatever I want without getting slut-shamed. I should be able to drink at a party without someone raping me and then saying that because I was so intoxicated that speaks to a level of promiscuity and that I was again “asking for it.”
When Banfield started to read the letter my whole body seemed to cringe as she read the victims words. My ears didn’t want to listen to the gruesome details of the attack that she described. My eyes wanted to close as if to shut off my mind from imagining the scene that occurred behind that dumpster. I cannot begin to fathom why this man is being given such a lenient sentence after hearing the details about the case described by the victim. I was even more shocked to hear the pathetic reasons that this man and his lawyer had come up with to excuse his horrible and unforgivable actions. It doesn’t matter how stressed out you are, how drunk you are, or how clean your criminal record is … there is absolutely no excuse to sexually assault and rape another person (male or female). This issue should not be taken lightly. This man should’ve been given the sentence that he deserved. Rape is never okay and is never a justifiable action. The fact this man said that the victim liked it and was asking for it just shows that he does not understand the seriousness of the crime that he committed. He invaded a woman’s personal space, abused her body for his own personal gain and now he is getting a slap on the wrist for it.
I want to believe that there are always going to be heroes, like the two cyclists from the victims story, but there won’t always be someone there to save you. Sometimes the only thing that saves a rape victim is knowing that justice is being served for what happened to them. However in this case justice hasn’t been served and that is not only frustrating, but it is extremely depressing to know that this serious issue is being taken so lightly.