I know this is not Jeremy Lin-related, but I thought it was too important not to share. I understand, though, if you think it’s inappropriate for me to share this here. But that still won’t stop me from sharing something that I think should be required reading by all–especially freshman in college.
I finally had time to read the entire lengthy statement from the woman who was raped by the Stanford swimmer, which she read aloud at the trial and has since been made public. I’m so glad this letter has been made public, because it is a gift to humanity. Whoever this woman is, I’m in awe of her and grateful to her for her obvious gift with words, as well as her wisdom. It’s impressive that these words and thoughts come from someone who’s only 23 years old! It took a great deal of courage for her to face her attacker and read out loud descriptions of what a rape victim has to endure in excruciatingly graphic, yet exquisite, detail in an unempathetic, cold, and sterile courtroom setting.
Because of her courage, wisdom and gift with words, she has given voice to the utter pain and shame that many rape victims endure in anonymous silence and drawn attention to an issue that is disproportionately ignored by society. She also sheds light on how difficult it is to prove rape even in a clear-cut case such as her’s, because in the courtroom, it’s all a game of cold-hard strategy. It’s not about finding out the truth. In her case, I think she was just fortunate that the truth overwhelmed strategic courtroom maneuvers. Unfortunately, in the end, the judge handed out a lenient sentence, due to the rapist’s privileged background.
In my own world, I don’t think this letter would have gotten as much attention if it wasn’t so exquisitely well-written, containing so much wisdom and clear thinking. But in reality I think her letter has been shared so much because people are outraged by the judge’s lenient sentence on the case. So in a way the judge’s ill intentions has had the opposite effect he wanted, because now that rapist is even more vilified and this woman’s unique and gifted voice is being heard widely. I hope people are not only just sharing this letter out of solidarity to the young woman, but actually take the time to read all of her words. This woman’s letter should be required reading for all–especially freshman in college.
I can’t say enough about how well this letter is written and even how well it’s organized. I know it sounds silly to talk about organization in such a personal statement from a victim of rape, but she does lay everything out in a very clear and thoughtful manner. She ends the statement by showing her empathy and wisdom–essentially trying to help the rapist see the consequences of his actions so that he can hopefully learn from them. Unlike the rapist, who only thought of himself when he says “one night of drinking can ruin a life” she is trying to help him realize that both their lives have been ruined by his actions: “Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
For those who don’t want to take the time to read the lengthy statement, you’re in luck, because a CNN journalist took nearly her entire broadcast to read nearly the entire letter. What this journalist did feels unprecedented–especially in today’s soundbite media culture. Kudos to this journalist for know exactly the right way to report this story. It’s a rare example of the news media doing its job–educating the public on important issues.
Joe Biden wrote an open-letter to this extraordinary young woman and expresses a lot of things I want to say to her:
I do not know your name — but I see your unconquerable spirit.
I see the limitless potential of an incredibly talented young woman — full of possibility.
I see you.
You will never be defined by what the defendant’s father callously termed “20 minutes of action.”
His son will be.