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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Letter to the editor

Assault victim deserves respect and kindness

Published October 31st, 2013

Two weeks ago, there was an article written about a woman who was sexually assaulted while walking home. It is incredibly important that we discuss and acknowledge these events because people need to understand that they happen everywhere.

But there was an aspect to the article that I felt was missing.

The article gives helpful advice about avoiding these situations, looking for friends and lighted paths, then it seems to fall into the trap of blaming the victim. She should not have been walking out that late, by herself, after drinking, the whole line of thinking that goes with “she was asking for it.”

I realize that this is something not everyone is aware of, but it is an incredibly prevalent problem when dealing with sexual assault cases.

The problem here is not the woman. She can walk home at 11:30 p.m., down Cascade Avenue if she wants to. It was those men that took action. They would have done it given that opportunity, and it was their choice to do so. The fact that there were many of them there and they all decided to assault her is unusual. Nothing she did brought that on to her. It was the men’s choice.

It hurts me to read articles that say you should use “a variety of prevention efforts” to escape sexual assault. Most of the time, there is nothing you can do. Those people decided to assault her, regardless of where she was.

I appreciate that the article brings this case forward. It should be talked about and discussed, but we need to be careful not to fall into the pattern of victim blaming, and I’m not saying that is what this is, but it is dangerously close, and this woman deserves our respect and kindness, without people second-guessing her behavior. She is not to blame.

Kathryn Van Putten, Student

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