Rapists Don’t Just Live in Dark Alleys

I usually try to keep things light and fun here. But I’ve got to get something off of my chest.

There is no such thing as a typical rapist or victim.

I am a prosecutor, and I want you to know that RAPISTS are not simply the people that kidnap you, put you in the trunk of a car, or rape you in an alley.

In fact, over the last 8 years that I’ve been an attorney, most rapists I’ve met wouldn’t even come close to that definition. Most of the rapists I’ve prosecuted are well known to their victim. People wouldn’t ever suspect mosts rapists. Rapists have jobs. Rapists go to school. Rapists are married or in committed relationships. Rapists have children. Many rapists have never been in trouble before. Most people would describe rapists as good people. Most people say they’re “shocked” when the rapist is charged.

I know. You’re thinking, “What the heck?!? She has no idea what she’s talking about.” But I promise I do.

The rapist I know is the neighbor who lived next door for years.

The rapist I know is the step-father who thinks he’s owed something.

The rapist I know is the guy the victim has had a crush on, and he just doesn’t stop when she says no.

Rapists are not just scary people in the dark.

Making excuses for individuals who commit a heinous crime is inexcusable. The fact that the father of the recently sentenced Stanford rapist made reference that “20 minutes of action” wasn’t worth a prison sentence makes me sick. Victims of rape deal with the trauma, shame, & hurt for a LIFETIME. 20 years would’ve been a drop in the bucket.

Sexual assault is a problem everywhere. It knows no boundaries. I’ve seen victims of every race, age, socioeconomic background, education level, neighborhood, & more. I’ve seen victims cry when I’ve questioned them. I’ve seen some victims laugh. I’ve seen some parents of victims be supportive and advocate for their child. I’ve seen others deny that anything happened so they wouldn’t lose their income. I’ve seen some victims disclose right away. Others have never told another soul.

There is no such thing as a typical rapist. There is no such thing as a typical victim.

Sexual assault is more prevalent than you know. I GUARANTEE that you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, whether you know it or not. I also GUARANTEE that you know someone who has sexually assaulted.

Sexual violence is not just a problem for other people. It’s a problem for you and me and everyone.

Believe me. I know. I wish I didn’t.


And Parents – Talk to your children. Today. Tonight. Don’t wait until you think they’re old enough to have the conversation about consent or to learn about sex. Teach them that NO ONE has the right to touch them inappropriately or in ANY way that makes them uncomfortable. Teach them what ‘YES’ means. Teach them what ‘NO’ means. Teach them that sometimes ‘NO’ isn’t just the word ‘NO.’ It’s complicated. It’s uncomfortable.  But your children need to hear it.

I need for your children to hear it.

 

61 comments

  1. sandy KS says:

    I recently re had this talk with my teen children. A few hours to arrest my boyfriends brother and girlfriend who were staying with us were arrested by the FBI on charges of child porn, rape, and more. We had no clue at all. My gosh I felt like a fool not having any idea. people like that can be anyone.

    • Sarah says:

      Oh my gosh! How frightening! Kids must MUST must be taught and educated on these matters. It’s so critical. Thanks for reading!

      • Sandy KS says:

        Yes, it was the most frightening thing to go through as a parent. Finding out I had monsters under my roof, thinking I was giving them a helping hand. I felt horrible.

  2. Audrey says:

    This definitely needed to be said; thank you for writing it! We definitely need to have more open discussions about this serious topic with our children and educate them about the importance of consent!

  3. Melanie says:

    This is so true and scary. As women we need to always be on the lookout for any odd behavior from even those we would least expect. Great post!

  4. Jessie says:

    Wow, what a powerful blog post! Recently I listened to the podcast called “Witness”. They had an episode about “date rape” and they made the same point. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jude Dunn @jadlgw says:

    I used to be a criminal investigator and so this really resonates with me. I’ve yet to meet a sexual predator that resembles anything like the ones portrayed on screen and in books. I get annoyed when people say ‘he looks like a rapist’ based purely on an image that has been put in their mind by film/book. Fantastic post.

    • Sarah says:

      Hello Insta Friend! YES YES YES! This is 100% spot on! And wow! Had no idea we were in the “biz” together! So good to know! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. AR zantkeren says:

    This is a really Important post anyone should read! great job maybe if people will be more aware of the problem we could save a couple of lives… Happy to know you help these women

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you! Awareness & education are SO important. I hope people won’t shy away from having these conversations.

  7. Mary says:

    This sentence has really angered so many of us. Not even past victims, but so many women and men. How this individual, and his father, can treat this is reprehensible.

    I luckily came from a high school that taught this so openly. They made to sure to let us know that most rapes are committed by someone you know. I

  8. Samantha says:

    The father’s letter made me sick too. This is really important; we need to scream it from the rooftops. It can literally happen to anyone, anywhere, and with people you thought were safe.

  9. Danielle says:

    So many things about that case drove me crazy but the mere fact that the father said his son shouldn’t have such a long sentence because “20 minutes of action” was infuriating!!! I hate to sound evil but part of me hopes while he’s in prison he gets raped for 20 minutes so he understands what she went through.

    • Sarah says:

      The letters were so infuriating. It’s hard to imagine that some people are so self-absorbed. Thanks for reading!

  10. Colleen says:

    Great article Sarah. Thanks for sharing. My friends daughter was raped when she was in college. She was walking into her building and he grabbed her. It was awful, however she refused to go to the police even though her sister and mom begged her to. I think she shut down emotionally about the whole thing. To this day She’s never spoken about it again.

    • Sarah says:

      It is such a horrible and personal thing. It’s so common, unfortunately, for sexual assault to not be reported. Thanks for reading, Colleen.

  11. Courtney says:

    Bless you for sharing this. My stomach turned too at the “20 minutes of action” comment. My heart hurts for anyone who might have had to deal with any unwanted sexual advances and assault. We as women truly need to stick together.

    Courtney from thirty30courtney.com

  12. Tracy says:

    So glad you wrote this. It is so true, a lifetime of damage was done to this young lady. I totally agree, parents need to talk to their kids early before it’s too late. Tracy

  13. nicole says:

    Such a hard topic and you managed it very nicely! How wonderful of you to share your knowledge ! I used to actually think that rapist had to be a certain type of person but now I know better1

  14. Alyssa says:

    So agree! Especially with the Stanford things recently, but also other instances, where the victim is forgotten and we all hear about how sad it is that the rapist got his life ruined. It makes me so mad!

  15. sherry says:

    We need to start talking about this. Obviously, the justice system, the education system, and the media are not doing enough. Sure, when caught, rapists can get punished, but the biggest punishment is publicity and shaming.
    I have never been raped, but I was in a social situation in an upscale private club. A family (parents, grandparents, and children) were leaving the dinner table and the men were alone in the lobby. The father (a seemingly educated, classy guy) said to me in front of his male family members “I’d like to see your legs wrapped around my neck”. His dad and son, laughed. When their wives (mom, grandmom and daughter) walked in, they acted as if nothing happened. They were very respectful in front of their women.
    So this article is 100% on target. Rapists are regular men who are well behaved members of society. Until they’re not. They are our fathers, our sons, our husbands.

    • Sarah says:

      That is so awful! I’m so sorry. But thank you for sharing. This is a problem that knows no boundaries. We must talk about it.

      Thanks for reading!

  16. Dawn says:

    So very well said. As being both a former member of law enforcement and someone that has lived through that “20 minutes” I can attest to the fact that shock is always the first response. Sadly, secondly it’s blame… Thank you for writing on such a rough topic!!

  17. Georgia says:

    I’m glad more people are talking about this subject its just sad that it took that girl being attacked for it to happen. I wrote a blog post about this topic also but it’s interesting to see how you went about it; emphasising the importance of aborting stereotypes. Change needs to happen and this is one very important change that is necessary. At least with every individual who reads will think about the fact that no matter what or whom its not ok. A very well written post.

  18. Christian says:

    This is such a great piece. Not only do parents need to talk about these kinds of things but they also need to make sure to teach their kids that when a girl plays around and says no, but really means yes to back off! NO matter what! Both parties need to be 100% sure!

  19. Luna says:

    This post is so powerful and so true. Sadly, most people don’t realize that. Sadly, so many victims suffer because of it, they think nobody will believe them and when they speak up, people make excuses for the rapist. We need to talk about this more. Thank you for writing this post.

  20. Stephanie Kay says:

    I agree with this entire post.

    My first boyfriend raped me. I never told anyone, not until way later. My thoughts were that no one would take it seriously as “we were dating” and thought I liked it.

    I have PTSD now and each time I learn of something similar to the Stanford case, I get so much rage built up inside…

    • Sarah says:

      Oh Stephanie. I am so sorry. Unfortunately, there are so many cases out there like yours. It must stop. The more we speak up, even years later, we help others. Thank you for sharing. xo, Sarah

  21. Chasa Fulkerson says:

    Great post. I wish justice was served in the recent incident. It’s unbelievable how people take this so light hearted and the guy just gets a slap on the wrist! You are definitely right, parents need to talk to their children, but what about the ones that don’t have such a great home life? Who is going to reach out to them? Some people are so against churches or schools teaching their kids anything when it come to such sensitive matters.

    • Sarah says:

      You make excellent points! It’s such a tough situation but we must prepare our children…whether in school or church or wherever.

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