06.09.2016 07:34 AM

The most important victim impact statement I’ve ever read

I’m late to this, because I consciously avoided it.  I didn’t want to read what she wrote, because I figured it would leave me wanting to drown the rapist swimmer with my bare hands.  Then resuscitate him, and watch him die again.  I figured it would leave me feeling, yet again, how loathsome my gender is compared to the other gender.

But that didn’t happen.  What stood out – when I finally read it – was this young woman’s intelligence and resilience and grace.  She is also one Hell of a writer, too, in a way that most of us could not be in a lifetime of trying.  She is extraordinary.  When you read what she wrote, you will find yourself blinking at the power of it.

Anyway, here it is.  I finally got around to reading it, and now I’m pretty sure I won’t ever forget it.

**

And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.

9 Comments

  1. davie says:

    Yes, the section that you show here, the reaching out and solidarity with other people who have been targeted struck me.
    Another section that struck me, in a much different way, was her recital of the types of questions that came to her in court from the defense. It’s as if the defense, the court, and many of the rest of us, assume that the slightest inconsistency, no matter its relevance to the crime, can be used against the wronged person.

    I also speculate gloomily about how many incidents like this are never dealt with because there were no Swedish students cycling by.

  2. Tired of it All says:

    Warren, it’s breadth, power and humanity cannot be over emphasized. It is a master class in hard emotional and intellectual expression. Her cogency, criticism, spirit, decency, and anger, so much justified anger, is humbling. Her experience is so horrifying, this man-boy so vile, and the system that attempted to protect him rightly exposed as reprehensible. Certainly the constitution protects his rights, but the methods some lawyers use are disgusting and disgraceful. Good on those 12 men and women for seeing through the blizzard of shit.

    I am left with two things: she is a very, very strong woman who took great advantage of the one opportunity she would have to make the biggest impact she could. We’ll see what happens.

    Two, it might just be that armed with this epistle, a great many women now have the moral, emotional and intellectual grounding to deconstruct the shameful strategies that are too often employed by those hedging constitutional rights by reverting to the tropes that code male/white privilege.

    I’m awe-struck.

    • davie says:

      Another part of her statement that struck me was the suggestion that the perpetrator’s lawyer and the perpetrator created a narrative completely at odds with what she and the witnesses reported. That the perpetrator would include that she experienced an orgasm both belies his claim tha the was too drunk to know or remember what he was doing, but, worse, looks as if he and his lawyer were laughing at her. The story he told, under the guidance of his lawyer, looks less like constitutional rights to a fair trial, and more like lying.

  3. Dave says:

    So I guess I’m not the only Dad who has vivid revenge murder fantasies when contemplating things like this and my own family.

    • mrburnsns says:

      Not that it’s right either, but even 6 months in a U.S. prison will probably be enough for this jerk to personally experience what he put his victim many times over.

      • Pipes says:

        “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.” After reading that I went into a rage. I guaran-damn-well-tee ya, I would beat that kid into oblivion and then have words with the judge.

        The victim is one hell of a person and ya, intelligent and graceful.

      • Scotian says:

        Except he isn’t even going to a State prison, just the county jail. That’s part of the many grounds for outrage in what this judge pulled in his sentencing.

      • davie says:

        I also feel outrage about this incident, and others like it, but I usually feel uncomfortable about leaving it up to other convicts to mete out punishment for us.

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