This is not my typical blog post about farm life, food, family, or fashion. I have seriously contemplated whether or not I should hit the publish button for fear of losing readers, but I am moved to do so. I feel compelled to express my gratitude to the unnamed young woman who was sexually assaulted by a Stanford student over a year ago. The letter she wrote and read aloud to Brock Turner went viral this week, and as I read it, I was moved to tears at how perfectly she found the words to describe the impact that assault had on her life. I felt that she was writing the letter on behalf of every woman who has been through a similar experience. Her words are the words we would like to say to our assailants. If you haven't yet read her letter, it can be found at https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.otkddGWmk#.ipZKKydLb.
I have no way of knowing if my words of thanks will ever be seen by this brave woman, but this is what I want to say:
*for giving every victim feelings, emotions, a soul, and dignity and showing that to your assailant.
*for showing the world that using another human being is not just "20 minutes of action" for the one being assaulted.
*for making it easier to open a dialogue between us mothers and our adolescent daughters as we try to prepare them for life as a woman.
*for helping us mothers show our adolescent sons what sexual assault does to a young woman, physically and emotionally.
*for giving credit/gratitude to the 2 men who stopped their bikes, chased down the attempted rapist, and who became the face for every good, caring, humble, decent, and heroic man that we all want our sons to be.
*for being the voice of all of us women who have ever...
...blindly trusted our "date" to protect us and do the right thing regardless of our condition.
...accepted a drink made by our date or his friend without seeing what went in it.
...gone to a frat party and remember having 1 drink, and then remembering nothing else until the next morning.
...said No or Stop, but our boundaries were not respected.
...been assaulted and felt like we were to blame for taking a drink or going to a party or agreeing to dance with/go out with/get in the car with this guy we trusted.
...felt like this would not have happened to us if we were more beautiful/thin/smart/wealthy/popular.
...wondered what about us is so inferior/loathsome/defective that he felt he had a right to violate us.
...naively thought we could party with the frat boys and have a good time like they do without the fear of being used/violated/assaulted that night.
...been too afraid to tell anyone what happened because we think we'll be blamed and chastised and looked down on.
So I thank you for being courageous enough to bare your soul and write this open, moving letter, and for reading it aloud to Brock Turner in that courtroom. Thank you for being the voice for all women who never had a voice of their own. May we all be moved enough by your words to diligently raise our sons to care for and respect women, and not to see them as things they can use. And may we raise our daughters with a sense of dignity, self-respect, and the same strength you showed in facing your assailant and reading your letter directly to him. Thank you.