On Monday, July 16, 2018, I was sitting in a waiting room in a therapists office waiting for one of my daughters to finish an appointment. I picked up “The New Yorker” magazine dated February 26, 2018. I was reading one of the Letters to the Editor entitled “The Truth About Assault”. I don’t know why, but I think it has to do with the fact that I myself have been assaulted and seeing that word is a trigger. I don’t fault Roseanne Glannini Quinn of Cupertino, Calif. who submitted the letter. Nor do I fault Jia Tolentino’s article that Ms. Glannini Quinn responded to. I fault all those who strip unsuspecting individuals of their freedom. I have to state that what bothered me most was seeing the reference to “if students drink less and have comfortable seating aside from their beds then their fumbling behaviors will change.” I know that this reference was made in response to a hypothetical situation, but the more I see that reference, the angrier I get. We all know that the reality is, assault happens with or without alcohol, and a comfortable seat doesn’t matter, because that is not what is of interest to an attacker.
I agree 100% that “sexual assault is not primarily about sex but, rather, about the power inherent in gendered violence.” It’s my feeling that the “sex” in “sexual assault” is actually an “empty trophy” a trophy that is received but has no real value to he or she that receives it. While the trophy is “empty”, it is necessary to the one that is receiving it. They are willing to work had for it. Often times they want to be caught because they know they are not at all likely to get punished for the heinous crime they committed because their victim is ashamed. Sometimes the victim feels betrayed as their abuser ends up being someone they both know and trusted, which makes it harder for them to remove themselves from the situation without having to leave the place they called home in order to feel safe. This only alienates them more.
I’m sending my 18-year-old daughter to college at a Catholic co-ed school in the Fall. You would think it makes me feel better knowing that it’s a Catholic school and better than that, it’s only a 10 minute drive from my house. Unfortunately, neither thing comforts me, because we all know that anything can happen and it doesn’t take long for evil to get the job done. Whether it be a college dorm, parking garage, an office or hospital utility closet, sexual assault is still sexual assault.
I owe you an apology Roseanne Glannini Quinn, I feel like I hijacked your letter by default. I certainly hope you will forgive me.
My True Thoughts About Assault©
By Felina Silver Robinson