In a recent RDR letter to the editor, the writer’s defense of Alabama’s Roy Moore’s innocence of sexual assault fails to convince the reader.
The writer neglects to acknowledge key issues concerning the perpetrator, the victims, and our culture. Nine women, including teenagers, have accused Moore of unwanted sexual attacks. The victims are presumed guilty while Moore’s sexual abuses are ignored. To support Moore without even giving the victims’ accusations any validity is obviously biased. The benefit of doubt is given to Roy Moore but not to the abused.
In the letter, the argument the writer offers is that Moore has lived a “clean life for the blemish of the past to be irrelevant” after 38 years. Accordingly, an illegal, immoral act should be excused after a certain passage of time, absolving a guilty person of criminal sexual predation, ignoring the effect of these assaults on his victims. Women and girls and men will never forget any sexual abuse no matter how many years have passed. Time does not heal all wounds.
Blaming the victim is nothing more than a ruse to focus the crime of sexual assault on an innocent person rather than the predator himself. The letter writer claimed that girls who “dress, make up, and act older and give the impression (that) a relationship with a man is quite normal.” A girl or woman’s appearance is not an open invitation to sexual assault. This absurd excuse allows predators to excuse their shameless behavior in an attempt to paint the victim as the guilty party.
By far, the most heartbreaking aspect of sexual abuse is our own culture’s silence and ignorance. The recent spate of accusations is far from new. Generations of women have been preyed upon by bosses and co-workers, family members, friends, as well as strangers. Most cases go unreported. Until we openly acknowledge these assaults, prosecute the guilty, and recognize that victims are not to blame, we bury our heads in the sand allowing these men to repeat their immoral acts.
I ask the letter writer to consider an ugly incident which occurred to me many years ago. I was “groped” in the public hallways of a hospital at the age of 14 by a doctor I did not know. He smirked at my shock and walked away. I was dressed in a respectable candy-striper uniform. I did not exhibit any behavior to invite this attack and was not paid for my silence. Confused and ashamed, I never told anyone about it until 30 years later.