Dear Jane Doe,
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.