Since the grief, triggering and rage that was Monday, learning about the verdict in the Stanford rape case, I've written and re-written this post in my head.
*A ninja edit: I love Joe Biden!*
Like millions of other people, the emotional rollercoaster between those three kept going around and around. And I don't want to be silent about it. Not anymore.
Stanford is in my hometown. The judge that is now up for recall was elected in the county where my family still lives.
In high school, we were warned not to go to Stanford frat parties because we heard girls got raped there. We stayed away. It didn't protect us.
Apparently the law still can't, either.
Even after decades of feminism, of advocacy, of public awareness campaigns, it is being argued that "alcohol and promiscuity" are to blame for a violent crime.
This rape culture existed in my hometown in the 1990s. Some things, apparently, don't change.
More even than the ridiculously light six month sentence are the ludicrous objections to any sentence at all by the rapist, Brock Turner, and his family. His father, it seems, is more interested in whining about him being so "depressed" that he no longer craves his favorite steak, than showing any concern whatsover about the woman he treated like a piece of meat.
No one will believe you.
Your name will be dragged through the mud.
It isn't worth it.
And our internal voices told us: just blame yourself.
Which is what so many of us have done.
The longer I am involved in advocacy, the more people come to me and disclose that too many of us - far, far to many of us - have been suffering in silence.
Brock Turner's father wrote in a letter to the judge that his son would never be the same. Turner himself complained that he had already lost two jobs because of "this." This, bucko, is the fact that you raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Clearly he thought of her as trash.
Try living with PTSD for 25 years. Try burying things that happened to you when you were 14 because the handful of people you tried to talk to 1. didn't believe you (therapist), 2. couldn't handle it and changed the subject (family), 3. groped you and tried to get it on with you when you just needed a hug (male friend. Yes, really. He's a district attorney in upstate New York now.)
Try living and reliving this in your nightmares and having lifelong trust issues and only recognizing it now.
My boss said he hadn't signed the petition to recall this judge because "it's not here, I can't vote to recall him, so I really can't do anything about it."
I disagreed. I told him what I thought: expressing outrage, protesting, sends a message around the nation and the world that this is fucking unacceptable. That no one should be afraid of coming forward because they're afraid of being humiliated. That rape is never, never the victim's fault. That it is a violent crime that should be punished like any other violent crime.
After the triggers, after the hot, angry tears all through my drive home Monday, I decided that I am not going to be silent anymore, in hopes that other people will believe it should be OK to speak up.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Sexual Assault Helpline at 800.656.HOPE (4673.)