Travesty to Survivors
Dismissing the charges against two defendants in the recent sexual
assault case, Municipal Court Judge Martin Heberling stated that
he doesnt think there are too many young men who would
have interpreted [the victims] actions in any other way than
these two young men did. Im shocked that someone representing
the law that is supposed to protect us believes that there are circumstances
where rape is actually okay. In response, I have some advice for
Judge Heberling (and any young men who might agree with
* If youre holding her down, pulling her hair, hitting or
threatening her, shes not willingly having sex with you.
* If shes not willing, its rape. If you dont know
if shes willing, youd better ask - you cannot just assume
she wants to have sex with you.
* Silence is NOT consent, especially if youre threatening
to hurt her. If she doesnt willingly say yes, you do not have
* If a girl is flirting with you, that does not necessarily mean
that she wants to have sex with you. Ditto for if she says youre
attractive, is wearing sexy clothing or that she wants
to hook up with you.
* It is perfectly normal for a girl and two guys to hang out in
a room at night. It is NOT normal for the guys to prevent the girl
from leaving, beat her, threaten her and rape her.
* You are responsible for your behavior. It is not the responsibility
of the girl to assume that you might rape her and act
* No one is EVER asking for it.
I always thought all of this was obvious, but Judge Heberlings
recent decision has made me rethink that belief. His decision has
made me reevaluate many of the things I believed in, actually, and
from these reevaluations come some thoughts for other women to ponder:
Its not the man in the dark corner, its the one in your
class. Its not the man with the knife breaking into your home,
its the one living downstairs in your dorm. That doesnt
mean its all men, because its NOT, but it does mean
that, because of the actions of a few men, we are taking a risk
by trusting any man. A necessary risk, certainly, but at least in
this world, a risk nonetheless. Dont count on the law to protect
you, because its not on your side. You are not safe, and you
never will be until we stop blaming the victim instead of the rapist.
I never thought Id feel this way or say these things. I never
thought Id feel unsafe on my own campus. Im sorry if
you find this offensive; I find it sadly realistic. Im not
a manhater or a militant feminist. Im just a woman whos
suddenly very, very scared of the world in which I live.