By EMMA ANDERSON’20
A man accused of more than a dozen cases of sexual harassment, assault, and rape was sentenced to a fair length of time in prison. The trial was smooth, and everyone who testified was taken seriously. They were not victim-blamed nor were their testimonies belittled.
The man immediately lost all status and was removed from every position of influence. No victim was questioned as to why they hadn’t spoken up earlier. And as victims continued to come forward, they were listened to with sympathy, rather than accused of being attention-seeking or of capitalizing on the situation.
The abuser was not excused.
The victims were not mistreated.
Sexual violence was treated like any other crime and the system worked perfectly, punishing those who deserved punishment.
The female victims were believed because they are human, not because they are “mothers, sisters, and daughters.” People who knew about the instances of sexual violence didn’t cover it up or sweep it under the rug. People who suspected wrongdoing pursued the truth rather than letting it remain hidden. They decided to do better.
Money and power weren’t influential in someone’s ability to harm others. Male dominance played no role in threatening women who were below in status and in their ability to speak up. The industry that perpetuated rape culture and ignored countless cases of sexual assault made changes.
People did the right thing.
Emma Anderson’20 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org