The women who stand up and make it known are the bravest of us all. Braver than me. If I stood up I am almost certain others would follow yet I am paralysed by fear. I have seen the condemnation, the scrutiny, the abuse these brave women are met with and I am too frightened to face it myself. His word against mine, and I know how many voices will shout from his side about how abused he is by my speaking out. And I am afraid. Those women who face that, who lead the way, they are the bravest of us all.
When I complained to the school, I was astonished that this position was defended under the guise of "we are just trying to protect the girls, as there are bad people out there". When I pointed out they were giving the message that their short skirts would make them somehow culpable if they did get attacked, they struggled to see the relationship.
This has been a year where misogyny has quite literally trumped empathy. In the United States, the presidential election was won by what Badger simply describes as an "Objectifier in Chief"; leaked audio of Donald Trump casually talking about assaulting women didn't end up hurting his presidential campaign one bit.
I don't know if they removed his profile, or if he removed it voluntarily. They never replied to me. The next thing I knew, I was being charged for membership: despite having written to inform them one of their subscribers had raped me, they wanted to continue to charge me! Eventually, when they did agree to cancel my subscription, their 'sorry you're leaving' email still contained the standard 'but if you'd like to join us again' text. It was the definition of insult to injury.
Dear Mr Morgan - Thank you. Thank you for being the person who verbalises what we think everyone else is thinking, but too polite to say. Thank you for telling me I wasn't raped, that it was, as I sometimes think it might have been, all in my head. The CPS didn't prosecute him, so according to you, it didn't happen. Thank you for absolving me of that memory, which years of treatment for PTSD, whilst helping me with the PTSD, hadn't managed to remove. Oh, and also, thank you for confirming that I didn't have PTSD either, not having been in a war, I could know nothing of what PTSD is - it was all in my head.
I am at a loss. The Evans court case has filled me with such unease. Mostly, I am worried that this will put other women off from reporting their rape cases. Who on earth would want to put their past sex life up to such intense scrutiny? It just feels so wrong, on so many levels that I can't get my head round it all.
Nigel Farage and Donald Trump are not just any man in any private locker room, they are powerful men of influence who may be able to enforce law and who already influence our culture. When words like this are used and not acknowledged as being dangerous, women are put at greater risk. Risk of assault, of rape, of not being asked for consent and not being heard when they say no. If you are saying this is commonplace then why do you not understand why we need change? Why are you not angry and fearful for the 50% of society put at risk by this attitude?
The media needs to stop normalising rape and pushing blame onto the victim. Secret survivors of rape are everywhere. This burden will always be with them. We need to make it easier for survivors of rape to talk about what has happened; we need to make it easier for survivors to come forward. The media needs to stop with its crude reporting of rape.
It is time to move beyond outrage and take real action. Governments need to address the political, social, and economic structures that subordinate women, and implement national plans and make budget commitments to invest in actions by multiple sectors to prevent and respond to abuse. Only then do we have a chance of ending violence against women and creating cultures of equality and respect.
I ask you again to read this woman's statement. We must pay attention to her side of the story, we must appreciate her bravery, we must listen to her voice despite others' attempts to silence it. For every instance of misdirected blame, for every statement carefully constructed to invalidate her story, we must stand up and fight with her. Do not let Brock Turner fill in the gaps in her story; for it is too important and too courageous to be tampered with.