BY SHARON MARTIN
The president of the United States says he doesn’t believe there are women devastated by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Trust us, Mr. President. We’re devastated. And why shouldn’t we be?
According to RAINN [Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network], of 1,000 rapes, only 310 are reported. Of those 310 reports, 57 result in arrests and six rapists are incarcerated. Yes, six prison sentences out of 1,000 rapes!
Why don’t more rape victims report? There are more reasons than there are prison sentences for 1,000 abusers, including fear, no expectation of justice, vilification of victims, and a patriarchy afraid of losing power.
If you were young and you were told it was all your fault, what would you do?
What if your rapist threatened to kill you if you talked?
Maybe your abuser is someone you’ve been taught to trust. Who would believe you?
If the president of the United States, in front of television cameras and a crowd, makes fun of someone who tells her story, would that make you feel safe enough to speak?
If he orders a sham investigation into the accused, who is later sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court, would you be willing to put yourself at risk to speak up?
Maybe silence is the goal.
We must not be silenced.
Yes, one is innocent until proven guilty. But victims who speak up must be taken seriously until they are proven to be lying. That requires real investigations.
It takes courage to speak. Until women who speak get the respect they deserve, it requires the courage of all of us to stand with them, to demand investigations, to demand that rape kits be tested, to demand justice.
Many voices and many activists have more power than a few old men who care more for their own power than they do for the people they serve.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. Her latest book, Not A Prodigal, is available through Barnes and Noble. Her recent children’s book, Froggy Bottom Blues, can be purchased in hardcover or paperback from Doodle and Peck Publishing and in paperback from Amazon.