An Open Letter to the De Anza Rape Victim

by Cara on April 7, 2011

in courts, misogyny, patriarchy, rape and sexual assault, violence against women and girls

Dear Jane Doe,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that they put you through this. Both the ordeal of the rape and the ordeal of having your entire life dragged through the mud, after all of which they refused to provide you with the simple dignity and decency of an acknowledgment of what they did to you. I’m sorry that money and reputation were valued more highly than your human worth — they judged horribly wrong. I’m sorry your community did not stand more strongly behind you. I’m sorry that all of us, as a society, created a world where this was possible. I am so, so sorry.

I believe you.

I believe that they raped you that night. I don’t care how many courts in the world say otherwise. This trial did not diminish my belief in you. For while excuses which suggest that rape victims bring their assaults on themselves may sway some, they do not move me.  They convince me only of their speakers’ lack of ethics, their inability to perceive sexual violence as serious in the first place, their lack of true defense that involves meaningful consent from the accuser. In any judicial system that did not exist inside a rape culture, that did not buy myths which serve to uphold a system in which men can rape with impunity, yours would have been a slam-dunk instead of a disaster. This I know.

In all that I have read about your rape, your trial — and it has been quite a bit — I have seen remarkably few people who have slandered you, called you names, and attacked your personhood argue that you were not violated, that you consented to what happened. I have seen them almost always argue, instead, that you simply deserved it.

They are all wrong. Every last one of them. You did not deserve it. You did not deserve it. You did not deserve what they did to you. Nothing you wore, nothing you said, nothing you did, nothing you drank made you deserve it. You did not deserve it. I hope you know that.

I believe that these men raped you. And you deserved that acknowledgment from a court of law instead of some random blogger. You deserved an award in your favor, not my empty words.

But I support you. There are others here who also support you. We believe you.

And though none of us are you, or have experienced just what you have now, your fellow rape survivors stand in solidarity with you, as people who have been assaulted, disbelieved, devalued, and pushed aside. As people who deserve more from the societies we live in.

You deserved more. I’m sorry. And because it cannot be said enough: I believe you.

In Love,
Cara Kulwicki

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{ 25 comments }

1 Jemima Aslana April 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Co-signed!

2 Kowalski April 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm

^^^Ditto!

Wonderful post, Cara.

3 Cate April 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I would like to add my name to the chorus here!

4 bonnie April 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I’ve been without internet except for at work/on my phone for weeks so I somehow missed that this was happening right now. I can’t even get into how it feels to read about it or I’m going to either start crying or screaming.

but thank you for writing this. and of course, I 100% agree and wish there was some way for our belief + support to do more for her.

5 Sue Ro April 8, 2011 at 9:46 am

Thankfully I have not been a victim of sexual assault – however it is something that can enrage me more than I can begin to describe. And although I had not been following this case, when I listened to news reports about yesterday’s developments and “decisions” it felt all wrong. So this morning I decided to google ‘de anza rape victim’ … this post was the 2nd item in the results. Cara, THANK YOU for writing what you did! I hope the victim in this case somehow reads this, or is “hearing” similar sentiments from others close to her.

6 slignot April 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Co-signed.

7 Jerome April 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Co-sign and thank you for writing this.

8 numol April 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm

{{{co-sign}}}

and i’m still a big fan of yours, Cara Kulwicki.

9 George April 9, 2011 at 12:25 am

Thank you Cara – for expressing what we all should be saying. When I was briefly in the San Jose Area recently, I couldn’t believe the Slander that was being thrown at you (Jane Doe).

Unfortunately things haven’t changed for the better over the decades since I was a teenager.

I’m very sorry, angry and sad!

10 Ginsengbambi April 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Co-signed.

I am so angry at the world for this.

11 katie April 9, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I know Jane Doe. I know many rape survivors. I know that women have forever been blamed for the fall of man — Eve. And, it seems, women are still blamed for men’s atrocious behavior. Jane is a survivor and she will continue to be. I hope those men ( who know they are guilty by what they did or did not do) pay in spades for the rest of their lives.

12 Rene April 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Co-signed.

13 Becca April 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Your words mean a lot. I, we- all wish this had never occured, that justice had been served and that culturally we would have made more progress. The survivor and the soccer girls- Lauren, April and Chief remain committed to No Woman Left Behind the movement started in their honor which they have an active role. All of us at One Student are honored to oversee the program they inspired and hope to someday see our need to teach bystander intervention and to tell this story diminished. Until then, please continue these discussions, tell this story, introduce anyone and everyone to No Woman Left Behind and know that many of us are listening to the conversations and when the days are dark find inspiration in your belief. Much love and solidarity.

14 Alex April 11, 2011 at 12:16 am

*sigh* Co-signed…I just…This case is disgusting. Everyone who denied this woman her justice is disgusting. Nuclear waste and pink lagoons.

15 Andrea April 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Co-signed.

16 None April 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I believe her too, and I am so sorry. I only know about this by reading your blog, but I can’t remember anything that as affected me like this. It’s terrifying. This rape could have happened to any female child. Any woman’s story could be denied like this. It is scary because this decision (and of course the insane criminal decision) tells me what I’m worth in this society. Jane Doe is very brave.

17 rose April 12, 2011 at 4:37 am

This post made me cry. Not because I know what it feels like to be sexually assaulted – luckily I don’t. But because it makes me so very very sad, and so very very angry that such a thing can happen in the first place; and because that brave woman endured a trial that must have been excruciating – only to get such an outcome.

I believe her too.

It is amazing and wonderful that bloggers like you write – to say the important things you say and give support – informal and internet-y as it may be – to the victims.

It just all makes me so very sad.

18 Jess April 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Co-signed.

I believe Jane Doe.

19 Heather April 15, 2011 at 1:58 am

Co-Signed
I was raped when I was a child, no one did anything, I could do nothing. But I believe you, I know that nothing can make the pain go away, that nothing can relate to this. But I believe you. All those listed here love you, and care for you as much as we can.

20 Amanda April 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm

As someone who has even been disavowed by her family, I believe you. Nothing stops the pain of not being believed by those who should protect you but it helps to know that someone does. So, I believe you.

21 SunlessNick April 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Co-signed.

22 nif April 23, 2011 at 12:36 am

co-signed. I believe you. i was raped for three years by my ex-boyfriend. no one believes me, and when i did take it to the law, he got only 6 months probation. for all of that. and they dragged me through hell. I’m so sorry that any one has to go through anything else similar.

23 John April 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

Unusually, I’ll leave this forum to the ladies unless I have some insight to contribute. There is no insight. I feel the way that everyone here does. All I can offer is support. Co-signed.

24 Katrina May 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

Co-signed.
I believe you and I know what it’s like to not be belived and called a liar. I know you will never fully heal, but continue to live your life without regret. You fought for justice and should have received it. Good luck.

25 Jane C Woods June 29, 2011 at 11:35 am

Add my name too. We recently had a government minister here in UK make some ill thought remarks about there being different kinds of rape. he was soundly shut up, but still remains in post – as prisons minister!

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