Some progress has been made in regards to social justice these past few years, but that does not mean we are anywhere near where we need to be. Misogynists love to make the argument that, "Women have rights now, like being able to vote. So why would you need feminism?" Well, here's a newsflash: even though the 19th amendment "gave women the right to vote," black people (which includes black women) still face voter suppression in the United States to this day. This is the trend for the rights that women are given. The rights we should have are constantly being taken away from us and this makes feminism just as important as ever.
Rape culture in the United States is one of the most glaring women's rights issues while also being one of the most ridiculed. Even when rape cases receive national attention, rapists are able to walk free the majority of the time. Recently, a rapist by the name of Jacob Anderson did not have to serve any jail time or register as a sex offender when a judge accepted a plea deal offered to him by the McLennan County district attorney's office.
In 2016, Anderson raped a 19-year-old woman at a Phi Delta Theta fraternity party and was then arrested and expelled from Baylor University. In 2018, he was charged with four counts of sexual assault. Anderson was initially facing two to twenty years in prison and a 10,000 fine for each of the four counts of sexual assault. However, thanks to the plea deal he was given, he only has to serve three years of deferred adjudication probation, pay a $400 fine, and go to counseling. This means that as long as he does not violate the terms of his probation, the charges will not go on his record.
I cannot begin to imagine the devastation that the survivor must have felt because of this outcome. She now has to live with the fact that her rapist is being practically let off the hook for raping her and almost killing her. Judge Ralph Strother's decision will now not only endanger her but also endanger every other woman that comes in contact with Anderson. They will have no idea that he is a rapist because he did not have to register as a sex offender.
The assistant district attorney on this case, Hilary LaBorde, stated,
"It's my opinion that our jurors aren't ready to blame rapists and not victims when there isn't concrete proof of more than one victim."
This goes to show you that a woman's life almost ending because of rape means nothing. After all, she is only one person, and women are disposable to our society.
LaBorde should be ashamed that she gave up on fighting for imprisonment for Anderson because of a similar rape case that she worked on ending with the rapist not being convicted. Sarah Byers, a Baylor graduate, explained that
"The idea that the outcome of a separate case should inform LaBorde's approach to this one is a defeatist attitude that has no place in 2018, let alone 2019. The culture of victim blaming and posture of automatic disbelief of a victim's accusations is assisted by LaBorde's complicity."
Byers decided to create a petition to get Judge Ralph Strother removed from office because of his acceptance of the plea deal and I encourage you all to sign it.
Anderson evading jail time for raping a woman should be enough evidence to prove that the feminist movement is necessary. Women are still seen as worthless objects no matter how many "rights" you may think we have. We are not hysterical and dramatic for being feminists. We are trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones and if you refuse to stand with us, then our blood is on your hands.