Post Author: Katie Ashbaugh, Chicago, IL
“Your Honor, if it is all right, for the majority of this statement I would like to address the defendant directly,” the young woman’s statement begins. “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.”
YES. This courageous survivor, a 23-year-old Stanford University student, is our heroine. In describing herself the morning after the assault, she is every woman, every person, who has been the victim of a crime of this nature.
“I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”
Reading her letter brought me to tears with its graphic and relatable narrative, and I am grateful for her bravery to pen her experience.
Her words have catapulted this issue onto the national stage, giving all of us the opportunity to finally bring this horror out of the darkness and literally into the light of American history. May the man responsible be brought to justice, despite the leniency of his sentence, by being forced to acknowledge his crime for the rest of his life, as America rises up behind her.
“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
No one deserves to go through what she did that night, nor what she experienced in court. She has done every other victim, and unfortunately, all potential future victims, the biggest service she could have possibly done, all while under the shield of anonymity.
Thank God for the First Amendment, and let the light of justice finally begin to eradicate the culture creating this horror and improve the justice system that allows it to perpetuate.