The Rape Victim Letter: A Response to a Doubter

(`) Liberty CriesYesterday,I set out what I considered a profoundly moving statement by a victim of a rape. I received a comment suggesting I had been duped. Here is my response to it.

You suggests her letter is “a careful, well written, overlong, lawyer crafted apologia.” You fail to understand that a lawyer crafted apologia would not be overlong. It would be concise and right to the point. Reading it I found it overlong which said to me it was not professionally written but done by a college educated woman well versed in English writing who was in anguish and who wanted to ensure her points were made. It was a little rambling and repetitious which is not the mark of a good lawyer who would be skilled enough to pen such a letter.

I know the answer to that can be that the lawyer was so skillful that he purposely wrote it that way to hide his participation in it. Perhaps, but most lawyers want to produce a product that they believe will best convince the party it is aimed at which was the judge rather than seeking to hide their participation. You can always find reason to disbelieve something. Maybe you believe a Martian helped her.

The problem with pinning it on a lawyer is she probably did not have one. From her thanks it appears she is very grateful for the help she received from the district attorney’s office. She noted particularly she sent her thanks  ”to Alaleh, my idol, who fought tirelessly and never doubted me.” That is the deputy district attorney who prosecuted her case, Alaleh Kianerci. Also helping her were “my advocates who stood unwaveringly beside me,”who would also work for the DA.

Having been in a prosecutor’s office I can suggest they are too busy to be in the business of writing victim witness statements. If they were the district attorney would not have been moved to say her statement was: “the most eloquent, powerful and compelling piece of victim advocacy that I’ve seen in my 20 years as a prosecutor.”

Speaking of rape victims and victim advocates, you should know that I was there in the beginning. My office, the Norfolk District Attorney’s office under DA Bill Delahunt, was the first office in the nation to start a sexual assault unit and bring in advocates for rape victims. The three women in charge of the program during my more than twenty years there went on to become judges. They had gained wide respect and a fine reputation for prosecuting these often quite difficult and traumatic cases. One of their greatest problems was educating men: judges,legislators, lawyers, police investigators, and others, of the horrors involved in a rape and the sufferings of the victims. They had little time to spend in helping victims write letters preferring they write them from the heart rather than through a stranger.

I suggest you totally err saying the letter was other than the well thought out thoughts of a highly literate rape victim.

You then suggest the victim was allowed anonymity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Her name is well-known but one of the few remaining decencies in our society adhered to by the media is not to print the name of a rape victim perhaps in part because of the type of attitude you display. She appeared in open court before the press, the people, the court personnel, the defendant and his lawyer, the judge and his helpers, and told of her rape. She was subject to intense cross-examination by highly skilled lawyers. A jury heard her and believed her. She is not some anonymous person writing a comment in a newspaper.

You call her a “vengeful harpy.” Do you know what you say? Google describes harpy as “a grasping, unpleasant woman.” My Webster’s Third New International dictionary which I keep in front of me defines it as: “2 a. a predatory person: Leach, Swindler . . . .b. a shrewish or depraved woman.” How could you possibly arrive at that conclusion. She was an intoxicated woman attacked and put on the ground and raped. Is that in your mind a harpy?

You say she is “vengeful.” Did you really read her letter? She only asked her rapist accept his responsibility. He did not. He never has. He lied saying she consented to his attack even though he was caught fleeing the scene. He put her through a trial making her relive in intimate detail her horror where she said:details about my personal life and sexual assault were brutally dissected before the public” which is the way defense lawyers try to beat the charge. She said had he admitted it she would have gone along with a lighter sentence. She did not want him “to rot away in prison” but to do enough time in jail for his crime so he wouldget it, to understand and admit his wrongdoing.” It is clear that his father like you has not yet grasped it calling the rape20 minutes of action.”  

You write:her partner in folly.” A partnership requires knowing consent. She said and the jury found there was no partnership. You say “folly.” The jury called it rape.

You write:Stupidity should not be a crime. She thinks hers is not, while his is.” You are right stupidity should not be a crime. It isn’t. Rape is a crime. She did not rape anyone. She did not consent to be raped. He raped her. Your way of thinking is that every woman who gets intoxicated can be raped because she should not have gotten intoxicated. You call it a “tragedy of innocents.”  Again you are in error. Rape involves only one innocent person.

Make no mistake this was a violent and brutal attack carried out at night in public on a woman whose clothes were stripped away from her as she lay unmoving on the ground. If the assailant here was a black or Hispanic or illegal immigrant he would never see the street again. You call it a stage play when it is a real life drama affecting real people and one suffers horribly injuries.

You end by complaining about the too long epilogue which again should have undermined your thinking that a lawyer had input into the letter.

I could go on but to be truthful I was taken back by your comment. It reminded me of the days back in the early seventies (closing on fifty years) when attitudes like yours were more common than now. I say to myself “where has he been?” You show sad colors when you suggest there are no “sympathetic roles” here. Not to be sympathetic to this woman or any woman who is brutally violated indicates the callousness the brutes I have been dealing with in this blog. People like Steve Flemmi and John Martorano and other murderers..

You suggest you could be called a “a cold-hearted s.o.b.” That would be much too kind. Even calling you “the worst type cynic” would be. You are a man trapped in the past in a world of ignorance fighting for something most decent people have long ago put aside which is the idea a woman raped brought it on herself by her dress or conduct.

This rape victim courageously wrote: “I said I would reward my boyfriend and we all know what I was thinking. I assure you my rewards program is non-transferable, especially to any nameless man that approaches me” I thought by now that was written in stone in the minds of most decent people. You show that some still do not get it.

2 thoughts on “The Rape Victim Letter: A Response to a Doubter

  1. Matt- The comment from the individual is disturbing on an entirely different level. Ken Starr post was excellent also.

    1. Doubting:

      I agree that the comment was way out line. Thanks about Ken Starr. It is amazing how people like that rise to the top.

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