Thanks to social media, the public finally gets a glimpse of what sexual trauma looks like. A survivor of campus sexual assault, who was found unconscious behind a dumpster with her dress pushed up over her shoulder and her underwear and bra removed , while her attacker fled and was pinned by two good summaritans who had caught him in the act has now spoken about her experience in a very moving impact statement. There are so many tragedies in the situation, one being that had it not been for the witnesses this case would likely never have gone to trial, and a brutal rapist would have gone free to harm others. She or he would be blamed for drinking too much. Their sexual behavior would be called into question and just as in her case, it would be reframed as a consensual act. That she was never notified of what was happening in her case or what even happened to her while she was unconscious and had to learn about it online truly breaks my heart. The fact that the man was only given 6 months prison time may seem awful, but most victims will never see justice. The perpetrators often go unpunished, the crimes left univestigated, or unprosecuted, or the sentences are merely probation. The fact that the perpetrators father defends his violence as "20 minutes of action" that should be ameliorated with him giving lectures on the dangers of alcohol and promiscuity ( as if alcohol made people into savage rapers of the unconscious) only adds insult to injury and perfectly encapsulates the blinding of rape culture. This case is no anomally. It just highlighted the true brokenness of our society and its justice system.
Megan Garza, MA, LMFT is a certified Specialist in Treating Trauma at a Supervisory level and is Licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She specializes in work with sexual abuse survivors.