Twenty Minutes of Abuse = No Big Deal, or How My Maxim Will Stand For All…

Recently in the news there was a story about a rapist – an ex-Stanford swimmer who raped an unconscious woman in an alley and was sentenced to a six-month jail sentence and three years of probation. The man was twenty years old at the time of the attack and his father feels that the sentence was inappropriate to the crime.

I agree with this.

I don’t agree with the father. I agree that the sentence is inappropriate. I would have hoped for a stronger sentence. Sex offenders are often given too light of a sentence, and this particular case disgusts me – well, they all do, but this one especially.

Here is a link to the story in case you have not heard about it:

The thinks that really upsets me (all of it does) is the quote from his father about him being punished “….a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action….”

20 minutes of action. The father equates the crime to a time period. This man raped an unconscious defenceless person. He committed a crime. The unconscious person could not defend herself. Are we to believe that her inability to fight off her attacker is now seen as consent? Disgusting.

When I was raped as a child I did not consent. However, some would argue that by allowing sexual acts to happen to me as a child was consent and that I should “let it go”.

I am sad that we live in a society that attaches small sentences to horrific crimes. Sexual assault affects the victim for life. What services are truly available to victims of sexual assault? Very few. After several months of therapy and getting up the courage to report the crimes against me to the police, I was turned away as the RCMP where I went to report the crime stated I had to report it to the town where the abuse happened. The officer at the desk then excused herself to remove herself from the awkward situation of having to deal with a 6’4″ crying man attempting to report sex crimes against him. I was with my therapist – a wonderful woman who supported me wholly. She was there for me. When I tried to report the crime to the RCMP in Hopeless, they dismissed it as not necessary to report as it happened “too long ago.” Each of these rejections was another step backwards in getting my strength back. It was hard, and I wish I could go back in time to stand my ground more fervently than I did. I was quiet, shaken and uncomfortable. I felt that there were a thousand spies from the Catholic Church plotting to kill me and prevent me from sharing my story. I became paranoid for a while. Everywhere I went I felt as though people could see a mark on my body that identified me as a victim of sex abuse, and a person therefore unworthy of justice. Of course this is not the case, and it wasn’t then. I find that people are uncomfortable with things they don’t want to hear. We live in a world where we want to be comfortable and not have to deal with uncomfortable topics. People will get angry and stand up for their right to have their daily coffee made to their specific tastes, and have no trouble berating the barista who makes the mistake to not get their “half-caf, 180 degree mocha with two pumps of hazelnut and one pump of vanilla in a grande cup with a dry foam mist and a pinch of non-fat coconut puree.” But try and discuss the imbalance within the justice system that victims of sexual assault have to face, and you are at times met with blank stares and the wonderful retort “get over it.”

I remember things. I remember the injustices that people face. I empathize with other victims of assault. It doesn’t matter if an assault was “only 20 minutes” or if it dragged on for a period of days, months or even years. Any assault, any rape or attack is too much no matter how long it lasted. Do murderers get sentenced based on how long it took them to kill?

I made a pledge to myself that I would continue to speak out for victims of abuse. My maxim, “MAXIMA DEBETEUR PUERO REVERENTIA”, is my truth. We owe the greatest respect to the child. Stories about abuse are not popular with the mainstream press. People don’t like reading about abuse – but until there are no more assaults, until people stop abusing each other, then I will never cease speaking out. I am a JEDI and my path is justice for all victims. However, what I have found over time is often that “Probitas Laudatur et alge.” I hope that this will change, and that we can continue to learn to hear the true impact sex abuse has on victims regardless of the length of time they were abused.

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