A 17 year old victim of sexual assault has been charged with contempt for violating the confidentiality of minors — her assailants — in court after she tweeted about what happened to her. She is facing up to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine for publicizing the names of the guys that sexually assaulted her at a party when she was unconscious from drinking.
These guys not only took advantage of her when she was intoxicated/unconscious — which by definition is rape, but they also have pictures of her from that night floating around the inter-webs. She has been so concerned about who has seen them and has not wanted to leave her house.
I can hear people now — what in the world was she doing drinking at 17? Well friends, that is a reality of the younger generation. I do not support it but I also cannot stand by and let the conversation about this girl get turned into a drinking age debate. Drinking or not, she did not deserve to be sexually assaulted. End of story. Now that we got that cleared up…
As many have already said, the girl probably should have chosen a different route to express her frustrations that did not put her in contempt. However, being sexually assaulted, humiliated, violated, and rung through the criminal justice process all to have your assailants plead guilty to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism as part of a plea bargain that reduces down to a mere slap on the wrist is pretty damn frustrating and downright infuriating. Her voice and rights were completed dismantled the night she was assaulted and they continued to be broken down as her case played out.
Personally, I give her a standing ovation for using her voice to tell the world what happened to her and to let her community know that these guys raped her. Research shows that rapists do not only rape once and hers cannot be assumed to be the exception. Cases like hers happen every day. It is about time someone stood up and told society how wrong it is and demand justice. She said it best herself:
“If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me … as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice,”
What this teaches victims of violence is that their safety and their rights to live free from fear are not as important as the confidential rights of men who inflicted violence against them. What this teaches society is that a slap on the wrist is all you are going to get for sexually assaulting a young girl and humiliating her with revealing photographs whereas the victim will be punished for telling her story so don’t worry you’re protected. We need to stop these lessons. We need to stop punishing victims and start teaching them that they have rights that deserve to be protected. We need to start teaching our boys, guys, men NOT TO RAPE.