So, a lovely woman sent me this link last night with a quote following the link in the email,
“I can’t even…”
The article is tells the story we all know too often, a perpetrator (this time a cop) gets off with little to no punishment. Only this time, the judge, Jacqueline Hatch, made sure to put extra blame on the victim.
“”If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Hatch said.”
The entire story is unbelievable. It’s hard to fathom that this still happens today. It certainly made me want to do something about it, and I’m sure you will feel the same way. This is my first post here, although I’ve been a follower of Feministing for many years now. I write this post because I want to share this story with you, and because I believe that enough public feedback helps to stop Judges from making bad decisions in the future.
This case made two other stories stick out in my mind where a judge made a bad call. The first one involved a cheerleader being forced to cheer for her rapist. She was kicked off the team and tried to sue the school. The Supreme Court overturned her case. This is a case which has gotten a large amount of attention due to its awful nature. People rose up and used their voices to spread awareness about the situation. A change.org petition was even made with over 150,000 supporters.
The more recent instance of an absurd ruling was when a rape victim was not allowed to give the names of her rapists to the public. She did anyway, at the risk of facing jail time. It was through the mass of attention and support this brave victim gained that the District Attorney decided not to pursue charges against her.
Finally, the wonderful woman who sent me the link the link asked me awhile back, “Aren’t women just going to bars to hook up anyway? You can’t just change your mind and cry rape the next morning because you regret your decision.” It was not a comment of hate, but a comment of ignorance. While you hear things like this over and over, and they make your blood boil, its important to remember that views on these things can change. All too often, people make assumptions based on what they read in the paper. Even intelligent and well-read people will misunderstand rape culture because of what fills the Internet and television. It is important to remember that most intelligent people will listen to you if you try to give them a different point of view. The woman who sent me the link yesterday is now an even stronger advocate for women’s rights, and I’ve had some incredible discussions with her surrounding these issues.
The point of the stories above is this—our voices have the power to change the world. When you see something wrong, speak up about it. In the instances of a judge making the wrong decision, we have the power to let the world know about it, and to send letters to the court involved with the case. A reader of the Arizona Daily Sun has already submitted a letter to the editor making an open request for Judge Hatch to apologize. We can all similarly spread awareness.
How do you want to use your voice?