An Open Letter to Victims of Sexual Assault, Past and Future
November 10, 2016
Little can be said to soothe the pain of what happened this past Tuesday. We’ve finally turned our ears away from the relentless screeching of the 24-hour news cycle and let the realization that Donald Trump is our 45th President wash over us. The cries of celebration come strongest from a group of people who are cited as the Silent Majority. It appears that millions of men and women who had refrained from joining the national conversation that consumed our country, got up on Tuesday morning and cast their vote for an alleged sexual predator. And, with the same hands that pulled a lever or filled in a bubble, they also dismissed your suffering and gave weight to the notion that you don’t matter. We are angry for you. We spent yesterday in tears with you. Today we woke up with renewed vigor and purpose to fight even harder for you.
Trump’s history of sexual violence is well-documented. No one who voted for him was unaware of his arrogant boasting. We admit that in those desperate hours after his election, we feared that the consequence of the Silent Majority’s action would be silence from you. Instead we saw you embrace each other and voice your objections louder than ever before. Perhaps you were less shocked about the outcome of the election than the rest of the country, the pundits and the pollsters. That’s because you know people are capable of being cruel and malicious and that sometimes the institutions designed to protect you – schools, law enforcers – do anything but.
You know most of all that the process of reporting a rape or sexual assault is a difficult path lined with victim-blaming and suspicion. Unfortunately, Trump’s presidency seems to validate those sentiments and prove that accusations of sexual assault have no bearing on an offender’s life or career. If someone can admit to grabbing and leering at naked women without their consent and still become president, what other assaults can be forgiven or, in Trump’s case, rewarded? This sense of helplessness is what they want you to feel and that’s why we are reaching out to you. If the leader of our country condones disgusting and violent behavior, how many people will see that as a license to do the same? How many more survivors will this mindset produce?
Our firm refers to our clients as warriors because that is what you are. Your strength has always motivated us to fight tirelessly for your right to be heard and believed. Although we’re still heartsore over the message our country has sent to you survivors, we are confident that this uncertain future only deepens our commitment to fighting the crisis of sexual violence that has blighted our college campuses, school hallways and other parts of our communities.
When the results were called on November 9th, the significance of the work we do was underscored. We enter the next four years with heightened sense of determination and energy to combat sexual assault and advocate for your justice. We love our warriors!