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